Even though I think Valentine’s Day is a stupid non-holiday (yes, I’m single), I found myself reading a book with a big ol’ heart on it yesterday. Purely coincidence, I assure you. When I first started reading Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors, I was expecting standard chick-lit fare. I was pleasantly surprised, though, by the depth of the main character, Alice, and how she approached issues that no teenager should have to deal with. It also didn’t hurt that Mad Love threw in some mythology and supernatural goings-on. That’s always fun.
Alice Amorous is the daughter of world-famous romance novelist Belinda Amorous. People probably think that being the Queen of Romance’s daughter is glamorous and full of flowers, hearts, and candy…but they couldn’t be more wrong. Alice is doing her best to hide the horrible truth from everyone. Her mother is battling a mental illness in a private psychiatric hospital, and she hasn’t written a word in three years.
It’s up to Alice to make sure the bills get paid, books get autographed (or forged, as the case may be), and eager fans and publishers are kept at bay. But it’s getting harder and harder to cope…especially when her mom’s publisher wants a completed manuscript or a return of the $100,000 advance for the next book, and the hospital needs payment for Belinda’s care and treatment. Alice doesn’t have the money needed, and she doesn’t know how she’ll get it…until she gets the bright idea to write a romance novel herself…in her mother’s name, of course. There are a few problems though: 1. She’s not a writer. 2. She’s never even been in love (and how can you write about romance if you’ve never experienced it?). 3. The publisher needs the novel by the end of the summer, so she’s got about a month to come up with something. What’s a girl to do? Well, someone comes along who may just have the answer to all of Alice’s problems…
When Alice first meets Errol, she thinks he’s crazy. Also, he reeks of clam juice. After talking to him for a bit, she still thinks he’s crazy, but she’s willing to hear him out if it will ultimately help her mother. See, Errol thinks he’s Eros, better known as Cupid, and he wants Alice to write the real story of Cupid and Psyche, the story that the gods wanted hushed up. Alice has quite enough crazy in her life, but she agrees to help Errol–even though he’s wrecking her relationship with Tony, the new guy in town. As Alice works on the book that she’s sure will fix everything, she learns a little about what a love story truly is and the power of love in all its forms.
Will Alice be able to tell Errol’s story before it’s too late? Will it be enough to keep her mother’s illness a secret? Is this guy really Cupid? Will her mother ever get better? And will Alice finally get her own love story with Tony? Answer these questions and many more when you read Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors.
Mad Love is a quick, easy read that will definitely appeal to tween and teen girls. (It will be a hard sell for most male readers.) Despite the cover, this is an emotional read that highlights what children of depressed parents go through. It also gives a new look at a story you might have encountered before. Many mythology enthusiasts–like myself–know the story of Cupid and Psyche, but Mad Love presents it in a whole new way…without the “happy ending” that we’ve grown accustomed to. Author Suzanne Selfors does a great job of showing readers how truly powerful love can be, whether it’s the love between parents and children, friends, romantic interests, or even total strangers. Mad Love is a wonderful, heart-wrenching book that will leave you examining the love in your own life. I know it did for me.
For more information about Suzanne Selfors and her books, visit http://www.suzanneselfors.com/index_flash.php. (I’ve only read one of her other books, Saving Juliet, but it, too, was great, so I’ll probably check out a few more!)