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The Law of Loving Others

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Terrified by the realization that she could lose her mother to schizophrenia, Emma spirals out of control over the course of one winter break.

The car glows with that careless feeling before the freedom of winter break as Emma drives home from boarding school with her boyfriend, Daniel. But when Emma calls to tell her mom she’ll be home before dinner, something is wrong. Ju
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published January 8th 2015 by Razorbill
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Sab H.  (YA Bliss)
NOTE: Somewhat more mature than the regular YA, it includes routine use of drugs, casual sex and constant f-words.

Very well written, this novel is a portrayal of mental-illness and how it affects those around the mentally ill person. Emma's fresh and honest voice was very powerful. Her realization and feelings about her mother's illness was insightful and thought-provoking. There are very few YA books dealing with schizophrenia and its effects, and this was a very powerful exploration from an ou
Christopher Stewart
Do you know what I hate about teenagers, besides their ability to eat everything in sight and not lose sight of their abs? The way they all act like they're the only ones who are running the emotional gauntlet they're on. It would have been a God send to have a book like this when I was in high school, coming to the realization that a pivotal adult in my life was mentally ill. What an awful time in my life and what a great, visceral story that lets someone in that situation know: you're not alon ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
4.25 STARS

After Emma returns from boarding school for winter holidays, her mother is hospitalized. Unbeknownst to Emma, her mom has been on meds for schizophrenia for decades. Emma's confusion and anger threaten her relationship with her boyfriend Daniel as she meets a new boy, Phil who also has family in the psych hospital.

THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS has so many positive attributes. Kate Axelrod's writing voice and dialogue are raw and authentic. Axelrod gave Emma a sex positive persona.
Sarah (YA Love)
Eh, this was okay. I didn't have any strong feelings for the main character or her conflict. I had a hard time believing her reactions to her mother's illness, especially the self-mutilation. It felt forced and over the top to come on so soon. Maybe if I knew more about Emma before this happened and there had been some kind of back story to rationalize this behavior, but there isn't. It seems more like Emma was waiting for a reason to behave badly and went with it more than her actions being the ...more
”The law of loving others could not be considered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”- Anna Karenina

Setting:Westchester, New York and New York City, New York; 2015

Coverly Love?:No; it doesn’t draw my attention and isn’t particularly interesting.

Plot:Emma and her boyfriend Daniel have just finished finals and are on their winter break from boarding school. Eager to see her friends and family, Emma is looking forward to not only making up for lost time with her parents, but to deepen her
I received an advance copy of THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS to read for an interview I was preparing with Kate Axelrod. I wasn't asked to review this book, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and decided I'd like to.

Just recently, we learned that an immediate family member suffers from a severe mental illness. It caused a big upset in our lives and I've now seen someone I love deal with a swift, jarring, and disturbing change not unlike Emma's mother does. As expected, a lot of the issues Emma deals with in
Emma is all set for a great winter break from school. She has all these plans of getting together with her boyfriend, her friends, and spending time with her parents. But when she gets home, she finds her mom is acting strangely and soon finds out that her mother is having a schizophrenic break. She struggles to accept this new information and to reconcile this woman who hears voices in her head with the same woman who sent her care packages during camp that were the envy of everyone. At the car ...more
Longer review to come of this one, but it's not particularly memorable nor outstanding. Emma as a main character has so many outs in almost every tough situation that she never has to hit the brick wall. There's always a parachute of some kind waiting for her. She didn't really make me feel anything for her, good nor bad, as she's sort of a sanitized -- maybe even romanticized -- version of what a teen is.

This is a YA novel for adults, rather than a YA novel authentic to the teen voice and teen
Ellen Allen
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashlyn Curry
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is about a girl named Emma who went home from boarding school for Christmas break and found out that her mother had schizophrenia. Her mom was going through a very bad out break and was admitted into the Psych ward of a hospital. Emma, her dad, her mom, and her boyfriend Daniel are trying to figure it out day by day. At first when I started reading, the book was slow. It picked up a little bit then went back down. As of right now, I am bored with the book. I dread picking it up and am ...more
Shakthi Mohan
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was a bit slow throughout and I feel like Emma was a very irritating character because she might be facing many troubles, ok i get it, but still she just sobs to everyone and never tries to think outside her very narrow mind. cliche ending where everything gets better after she opens up to her parents. meh was ok
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
This may be the first teen read I've ever read (and I've read A LOT) in which the adult characters are more interesting + empathetic than the figures. Kind of a shame (premise has potential) given the target audience.
Alexa McTernan
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it
The story itself was good but it wasn't one of my favorites. The main character, Emma, really got on my nerves at times. I feel like some of her reactions to her situation didn't seem realistic. It was an okay read for the most part.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5/5 stars. im so glad i randomly decided to start this book last night. review to come
Melantha Majors
Apr 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Warning: This review contains several spoilers, continue at your own discretion.

I was first introduced to this book when my mother bought it for me as a present at Dollar Tree, because she thought that I'd enjoy the book and she urged me to read it. It did sit on my nightstand for a few weeks without being touched, until I noticed it lying around again and I decided to pick it up and start reading it. I didn't expect it to be my cup of tea, as I'm not really on board with the whole young adult f
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I bought this book at the dollar tree. I didn't quite expect this book to interest me the way that it did. It wasn't a page turner but it wasn't a book I could quite put down. True to life story, it was a simple read and you were able to really see wear the main character Emma, mind was at.
Suzan Jackson
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teen/YA Review: The Law of Loving Others I recently listened to the audio book The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod and enjoyed this emotionally charged, realistic novel about a teen girl dealing with her mother’s diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Emma is in her junior year at a boarding school in Pennsylvania, heading home to the metro NY area for winter break with her boyfriend, Daniel. Emma doesn’t have a lot of close friends at school, but she and Daniel connected at the end of September and h
Aug 22, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
First off , the writing is phenomenal.

It's this totally understated , yet elegant way of describing grief and life . I adore it completely and I can't believe how emotive it is.

I constantly found myself thinking , " Yeah , I have felt EXACTLY like that before."

This is a great portrayal of the emotional upheaval that takes place when the parent you rely on is going through an illness and you are suddenly unmoored and alone.

I wish wish wish I could recommend this book , because the author knows
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 starts. Although it was very good it was definitely not the very best book I have ever read. At times it becomes boring but the characters are relatable and at times you feel like you are right there in the scene experiencing everything.

The book is uneventful at times and it kind of takes away from the need to read more. However, it does make the book seem so much more real. Sometimes Emma will be making dinner or hanging out at home and it disrupts the momentum of the book.
Joe Chacon
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kate's a colleague and friend so my review is most heavily biased. I kid. I'm going to be brutally honest:

Right after my copy arrived, my mother prematurely passed away. A few weeks later when some of the fog had lifted and reading a book seemed an appropriate distraction, I finally delved into it and I admit, I did so very slowly, perhaps caustiously.

And I did so because if you don't know, this story revolves around the loss of a mother, someone you've known (or at least someone you think you'v
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Emma feels left in the dark about her mother’s illness. Her mother has been diagnosed with schizophrenia for years and it’s just now, when Emma is home for break from boarding school that 17 year-old Emma is hearing these words for the first time. Was it fair to keep this information from Emma if her mother’s illness was properly medicated? I had to applaud the husband for loving his wife and seeing her for who she was and not seeing just an illness or a burden. Emma’s reaction to the news is de ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked that the novel told the story of a family with real-world problems. Mental illness, especially involving a child, is rarely spoken of in novels, especially in YAL. I like that the genre is speaking more about this topic. As a child of a parent with a mental illness, I could have used a book like this when I was a teenager. I felt for Emma while she is left alone during her break away from school, during the time that her mother is hospitalized for schizophrenia, or rather a schizophrenic ...more
Joséphine (Word Revel)
Audiobook rating: 4 stars
Book rating: 3.5 stars

Initial thoughts: Emma spiralled so much out of control that it became an excuse for her to treat people she loved extremely unfairly. In fact, in some cases, she was so out of line, her actions were inexcusable. She knew what she was doing was wrong and yet she continued. At the same time, she was seizing every opportunity she could to self-destruct — physically, mentally and emotionally. Given her anxiety and worries about her mother as well as he
America Grelinger
May 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Love is an ever evolving emotion which can never be defined, explained or rationalized as Emma quickly discovers as she learns in the law of loving others. The complexities of being a teenager while dealing with adult decisions is the heart of this debut novel by Kate Axelrod.
This is not for the middle school audience and, at points found me blushing, with the details of Emma's emotional love roller coaster defined by the sexual intimacies of a current boyfriend and a boy she briefly meets at a
Ryan Juno
Jun 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Khairun  Atika
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Sometimes, it is our fear that drives us towards something we avoid. In this case, Emma grows paranoid and terrified that she would end up like her schizophrenic mother when the latter spirals out of control and ends up in a mental institution. Emma started to have doubts as to her parents' past and relationship, and wonders how they could have hidden her mother's slow breakdown all these years. And soon she fears - what if she loses her mother....what if she loses herself? This book beautifully ...more
Lisa Mcbroom
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2015
On the way home from boarding school, Emma discovers her mother has had a psychotic break. That being said the book deals with Emma's reaction to her mother's illness. She is scared that she is predestined to this illness. Her father handles it with being cheery and keeping busy and has no closure. Her boyfriend Daniel thinks only of himself. Only Phil whose twin suffers from mental illness seems to understand. Emma begins to read her mother's favorite book Anna Karenia in hopes of finding solac ...more
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
The Law of Loving Others follows the current trend of books exploring issues with mental illness. The topic of choice here is schizophrenia, which (to the best of my knowledge) is portrayed accurately. The author is sure to point how that someone with schizophrenia will always have issues, but can lead a relatively normal life. Most interestingly, the book follows the life of the woman's daughter as she deals with this news. Sex and drugs seem to be her escape route, and while part of me wants t ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was okay. It turned out different then I had expected. It was a story that was good at the start but as I read more it stared to fade. Emma was a common girl that was living life the best she could. She had a boyfriend, the type of guy that is common and not like the ones in most books that you read about. After she finds out that her mother suffer from schizophrenia she is scared that it will passed down to her. With everything that is going she seems to lose connection with her boyfr ...more
Sydney Marlow
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
After Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes her mother's suffering from a schizophrenic break, and suddenly Emma's she doesn't know what to do or who she can get help from. this causes her to turn to her boyfriend Daniel for answers, but Emma realizes maybe it's Phil whom Emma meets while visiting her mom at the hospital she is staying at who really understands her and what she is going through Read to find out.

I liked this book, but it wasn't the best. it was sad and I couldn't
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Kate Axelrod was born and raised in New York City. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She has written for, Salon and various other publications. She lives in Brooklyn and works as an advocate in the criminal justice system. This is her first novel.

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“It will take so long for you to understand this, but you can’t punish yourself for someone else’s pain. You have to learn to separate, to draw boundaries. It’s the hardest thing, loving your mother. It’s the most profound and heartbreaking, the most important, love of my life. But I also couldn’t let it define me. I had another daughter. I had grandchildren. I had my own sense of self. And now I have Saul too.” 3 likes
“And this was something I would always wonder about—how the lines were drawn to define mental illness. When did a little depression become pathological? When did anxiety turn into something bigger, something greater and more cautionary about your own stability?” 2 likes
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