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Love Is the Higher Law

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  7,199 ratings  ·  811 reviews
First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teensClaire, Jasper, and Peterare altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents frantic calls from Korea, wondering if hes okay. Peter, a classmate of Claires,
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  7,199 ratings  ·  811 reviews

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Maggie Stiefvater
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I dont normally post a 9/11 related blog post on my blog, just because theres nothing I can say that hasnt already been said. And even if I could say it differently, theres nothing I can say that would change the events of that day.

But I read a book this year that changed my mind. Its called LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW, by David Levithan. In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I both know and like David -- hes editor Mixtape and we work together on SHIVER. I should also mention,
Aug 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is my first Levithan novel.... I know is probably a surprise to some of you. (sorry Khy... are you proud of me.. I read one!) But I have to say I'll definitely be picking up his novels... and even plan to do so in the near future, with Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Any way back to the novel at hand. This novel really stuck a cord with me. I honestly cried while reading most of it... ok, i cried through the entire thing actually. Thank god it wasn't all that long. I guess I just remember that
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
September 11, 2001. Its impossible to forget that day. We all have our memories of where we were, who we were with, who we suddenly needed to be with and wondering whether our world had been changed forever.

Following the tragedy of September 11, author David Levithan took all of these elements and wrote the moving novel LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW. Here is Davids heartfelt letter which was included in the ARC copy.
Dear Reader,

Ive never really used shorthand to describe one of my books before. But
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm kind of obsessed with 9/11 and it's obviously a touchy subject as well as a tear-jerker, so I has great expectations for this book.
It was OK. Just OK (for me).
At first, I either hated or didn't like the characters. This changed a little as I read more and more. I was, again, OK with them. So, as you can guess, the story didn't grab me. I had no intense feelings, and I wanted to, so bad :(
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
It is a very sensitive issue that the author tackles in this book. There was no other event in the American history quite as shocking and horrifying as what happened during 9/11. After finishing it I realised that this topic is for many Americans what the topic of WWII is for Russians and this, in turn, made me understand a bit better why people feel so strongly about it and even become emotional myself.

The events of 9/11 left the world shaken and this novel provides a view on the events of this
Frannie Pan
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2016, books-of-life

I can't even right now.
Full review to come soon, I swear. As soon as I stop thinking and crying about it.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Huge thanks to the girl who sat next to me on the bus to Chicago from ALA. She had this ARC in her hands when she boarded the bus for our 3 1/2 hour trip home, and she finished it by the time the trip was over. When I asked how she liked it, she nodded, I believe, then swallowed a lump in her throat, and offered me the book. Once again, thank you!

Do you remember where you were on 9/11? The characters in LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW were
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Keertana by: Mike
When it comes to Love Is the Higher Law, I hardly know where to begin. Or, perhaps, when. September 11, 2001 is a date ingrained in the memory of every person, regardless of whether or not they are American. And yet, for us Americans, this date is so much more. Within the pages of this novel, David Levithan not only captures the horror, the fear, the utter astonishment that an event like 9/11 could have on a nation, but he also manages to convey the hope, the beauty, and the love that emerged ...more
It's been a couple years since I enjoyed a David Levithan novel, so it was nice to go back to this book (which I first read when I was thirteen) and remember why I used to like him so much. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but in general with Levithan's books, the more restrained he is, the better. His weaker books tend to be the ones where he just lets loose with all his Levithan-isms - the wide-eyed idealism, the political filibusters, the camp doofiness. Those things aren't always bad, and ...more
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a difficult book to rate with stars. I liked so many things about it; how one of the most traumatic events of this generation was explored, and yet the book was not dramatic itself, how through three teens' perspectives the profound effects of 9/11 were pondered and reflected upon, and the relationships that formed between the characters themselves.

The only change I would have made was making the book more about the characters - their voices were authentic, and filled with wisdom people
Brandon Will
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
Most of the time I want to avoid holocaust stories and AIDS memoirs like...well, like a plague. The events of 9/11 fit well into this category: things I know I should read about but are just too depressing to the core to read about sometimes when you're trying to live life, which can be depressing enough.

But we need to read these books sometimes. Levithan makes it easy for us, in this case. Because he loves, and he cares, and he wants people to remember - and if they don't remember, then to
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
I think I need to accept the fact that the David Levithan work I'll enjoy most already happened in the days he ghostwrote for The Babysitters Club.

I like the idea of this book a lot, and I cannot deny Levithan packs in some beautiful sentences about 9/11. In the future there is much here that may help explain what was felt that day, what rippled through the country.

But also: this is a novel. And Levithan's multi-POV narrative reads more like a project in multi-POV narrative than, you know, just
Suad Shamma
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2012
To be honest, I was not entirely impressed with this book. I wanted to like it, but I couldn't. I love David Levithan, and I love his style of writing and storylines, but this one was weak and under developed.

Love is the Higher Law focuses on the events of 9/11 and the aftermath of the city of New York and how people (namely three teenagers) reacted and moved on. The chapters alternate between each of the three characters, which I always love, but unfortunately in this book it just didn't work
Stephanie Forster
This was such a beautifully written book. I really enjoy Levithan's writing and this book definitely didn't disappoint. 9/11 is always going to be a sensitive subject and here, I thought it was handled exceptionally well. I loved how the three likeable and realistic main characters lives all came together and the relationships between all three of them was both touching and tasteful considering the background subject. The whole novel was extremely poignant without feeling too heavy. As it was ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Love Is the Higher Law is a brilliant and optimistic novel on 9/11, though not without its unlikely outlook from each of the three main characters on the events which unfolded that day. Take three average kids and throw them together amidst a very harsh reality that even the most mature of adults can't even begin to comprehend, and this is the way that they find themselves trying to maneuver through the aftermath.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

I was 1 year old during the events of 9/11 so I don't have any recollection of it but over the years, I have learned about it. I think this book is very important and it made me wanting to learn more and do more research on this terrifying event in history. A very short and to the point book that packs a punch. I would highly recommend!
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read, favorites
"May the higher law be with you wherever you go."

Läs hela min recension på Book Obsession.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Love makes me think about how we digest media about recent events. They give books, movies, music, etc. this boost of poignance, but is that because we've lived through the event in question? Will that spark be there in 50 years? I'm thinking specifically of World War II novels and movies. There's a lot. It seems obvious that the answer would be no. That our temporal proximity to the event increases how we view the work. The passages about 9/11 made my heart thump a little faster and made me ...more
Steph Su
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Its about time that someone wrote a YA novel about possibly the most important event of our generation, and who better to write it than the multitalented David Levithan? LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW is beautiful without being cloying, and wrings at the heart without resorting to theatrics. The subtle power of it is something that only a master writer can accomplish.

What struck me most about the book is its language. Each character has a distinct voice and different ways of approaching the same event
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When this book showed up under my Christmas tree (thanks Santa Bill), I suddenly remembered that I had wanted to read it. (And I hate that there's so much I want to read that I actually forget what's on my list.) This book was - in a word - AMAZING. There are many, many reasons why, so I will narrow it to three.

1) LGBT - Levithan is probably best known for Boy Meets Boy. In Love is the Higher Law, as in other books by Levithan, he has gay characters. What I love about this novel is that the
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book.
I bought it just because it was written by David Levithan. I knew absolutely nothing about it going in or even when I bought it. The edition I have didn't have a synopsis so I picked it up because of the cover and because of the author. If I had really paid attention to the cover I would've been able to put it together that this was a 9/11 book, but I didn't. I had NO CLUE. And I'm really happy that I went into it not knowing because I'm not sure I would've picked it up if
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh man...I had heard people say that this book made them cry and I was kinda expecting a few tears from myself (I can and do cry over anything)... But when I read this, it wasn't wasn't like a really sad scene in the book that made me cry... It was just David Levithan's beautiful words and how those words were used to describe places, spaces, emptiness and the way people were feeling. I am not going to talk about 9/11 because we all know what happened and I didn't find this book to ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
During the 9/11 attack, my mind or the whole of me was still innocent of the real world. All I really want is to play w/ my friends. I'm pretty sure I don't even know there such a place called NewYork.

By the first time I've learned/heard of the attack, which was during my high school days, several years have gone already. And 9/11 seems to be just a terrible part of the past like the world wars. I didn't really give much thought or showed much concern about it for 3 reasons: 1.) I don't live in
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Written because Levithans 15 year old primary audience was 6 years old when the Towers fell, he has three teens tell about their experiences on that day and immediately after. Claire is a senior in HS and goes across the street to help in her second grade brothers class. Peter, a friend of Claires, skipped school that morning to pick up Bob Dylans new album. Jasper, whose college didnt start for two weeks, slept through it.

The terrorists those nineteen people, did the worst thing you can
I'm not American but I still remember waking up and seeing what happened. I think most people remember where they were when they first heard what happened on 9/11. I was in my first year at high school and I'd never seen anything like it. I couldn't imagine what the people in NYC were going through.

I've never read a book on 9/11 before and I honestly never thought I would. I've started reading David's books and I saw this one at the library. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it but I thought
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: realistic-fiction, q
One of my first vivid memories was watching a playback of the second tower crumble into nothingness as New Yorkers ran with binders and folders over their heads, completely covered in gray filth as if death had devoured them and spit them back out into the world. There was tension between my parents for some reason, and I could tell that they wee trying to controll themselves in front of me and my brother. I didn't think about what was happening much untill I saw 9/11 in a history textbook. It ...more
Sean Kennedy
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Following three teenagers during the events of 9/11 and its aftermath, "Love is the Higher Law" is Levithan at his best. I have sometimes found his more fantastical world-building in his other novels too distracting from the story - but this book succeeds on all levels. It seems a bit trite to say it comes from the heart, but the detail of the day and the feelings involved are passionate and real. Sometimes the teenagers may seem a little older than they actually are, but they know themselves ...more
Chris Gordon
Dec 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
What a cheap way to incorporate the September 11th attacks into an uninteresting and needless story. It's a disgrace how such a bad book tries to get people to read it by placing the 9/11 tragedies in the forefront of the story in such a blatant and shameless manner. If a fiction novel about the real life events of September 11th absolutely needed to be written, it should have at the very LEAST included some heart and soul. This was like reading the most generic "love conquers all" kind of story ...more
Loved this book. A reflection on the year following 9/11, as lived and felt by three young people in NYC. It brought back many memories for me, and also made me think of my Brooklynite husband with every page. It made me want him to read it, so we can talk more about how he felt, and who he connected with, how life changed. It made me want to hand it to my almost 14-year-old, and ask her to read it. I was a few months pregnant with her on that day when I stood in the break room at McDonald's, ...more
"And here we are, so different from who we were on September 10th. And also different from who we were on the 11th. And the 12th. And yesterday."

It's been five years since I read this book and, for some reason, I couldn't fathom NOT reading it again tonight. I'm not sure what made the need to read it so strong, but I decided to go with it. It's never an easy read, but it's one I love nonetheless.
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David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

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