“I understood unhappiness when it came attached to something…But Dora’s unhappiness—or whatever it was—seemed to exist independently on its own. I pictured stunted, faceless creatures manufacturing it in a cave somewhere, like a toxic gas.” (Black box, p.59) Elena’s big sister Dora is depressed. As her condition worsens, Dora eventually attempts suicide and ends up being hospitalized. As the “steady Eddie” of the family, Elena shoulders the burden of helping her sister and trying to support her very distracted parents as well. While her parents have had the wisdom to set Elena up with a therapist, she receives immediate help from a neighbor boy, Jimmy, whom she knows only slightly. Elena slowly builds her trust of the therapist, but comes to rely more and more on her friendship with Jimmy as the family situation and Dora’s condition spiral out of her control. Schumacher has captured the jerky, quirky writing style of many young adolescents in her moving account of a teenager’s descent into mental illness and its toll on her family. Chapters are rarely longer than three or four pages, but have a strong, forward narrative line that makes Black box not only emotionally affecting, but also compelling. Grades 7-12.