Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 4, 2011
The Story: (from Bloomsbury Kids) Writing her own love story could drive a girl insane!
When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother-and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth-that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.
My Review: I wasn't sure what to expect when I first picked up Mad Love. I'm not a big fan of reading the cover synopsis of books because I like the element of surprise too much to get a lot of details before I start. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with this one.
The story kicks off with Alice doing an awful lot of lying to protect her mother and immediately my interest was piqued. We soon find out that although Alice is only sixteen, she's been running her household for months because her mother is suffering from bipolar disorder. As if that isn't bad enough, Alice gets hit with more and more bad news until finally she decides she's going to have to take matters into own hands - literally. The publishing company that her mother works for is threatening to sue if a book isn't produced in a month's time. Knowing that there is no money, Alice settles on writing the book for her mother. It's romance, anyone can write a romance novel, right? So, this plot line in and of itself, could make for a great book but that's not all this book has to offer.Let's add in a little paranormal and mythological stuff too while we're at it.
See, there's this guy. You've probably heard of him - Cupid. Yeah, you know, that cute little baby that's all chubby and shoots people with arrows to make them fall in love? Well, what if he wasn't a cute little baby but instead a gorgeous, smoldering sixteen year old who has been suffering for centuries upon centuries without his true love, Psyche? What if that sexy Cupid, who is otherwise known as Errol, found Alice and decided she was the one to tell his story? His true love story? Okay, so now that sounds great too, right?
Now, let's add in Tony. The sweet, handsome, intelligent new guy in town. He's nice and charming and considerate and did I mention handsome? I was so excited when he was described as wearing glasses. There is definitely a shortage of hot fictional guys with glasses. I cannot be alone in thinking this, right? Glasses can be so attractive on a guy. Oh, and he falls for the emotionally unavailable Alice. Keeps getting better, doesn't it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having personal experience with individuals that have bipolar disorder, I was supremely impressed with Selfors' accuracy in the ways the disease can present itself. I have seen the affect this disorder can have on someone first hand and I was very pleased with the way the author wrote this into the story line. It all rang true to me and again, I will just say I was impressed.
I will be the first to admit that I'm not much a historian nor do I know much about mythology in general but I loved this take on Cupid. Picturing him as a smoldering love interest as compared to a chubby infant, well, there really is no comparison, is there? And Tony, he was a rock for Alice, even when didn't realize she really needed a rock. The secondary characters in Mad Love were very well written as well. I absolutely loved Mrs. Bobot, Reverend Ruttles and Archibald. Archibald I especially had a soft spot for. There were also plenty of scenes that offered comedic relief from Alice's not-so-great life. :-)
So, I guess what I'm saying is I loved this book and I loved that I was surprised by it. I am very excited to have found a new author I can look forward to reading.
Thanks to the wonderful people at Bloomsbury we are offering one individual a chance to win two of Suzanne's books: Mad Love and Coffeehouse Angel!
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You can learn more about Suzanne and her books by checking out her website: HERE.