cover image Mad Love

Mad Love

Suzanne Selfors, Walker, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8450-6

Alice's mother is the "Queen of Romance," the famous Belinda Amorous, author of countless romance novels like On Holiday with a Swarthy Scoundrel and Hunger of the Heart. But her mother has bipolar disorder and is hospitalized, leaving 16-year-old Alice to fend for herself, keep her mother's illness secret from a prying world, and somehow meet her mother's looming book deadline, too. Enter Errol, "the original, one and only Cupid," who wants Alice to write his life story. Alice puts aside her disbelief and gets to work, hoping she can get Errol off her back and make her mother's deadline at the same time. While still squarely planted on the frothier side of paranormally inflected romance (much like Selfors's 2009 novel, Coffeehouse Angel), this story adeptly touches on mental illness and its effect on a family. Selfors's proclivity for giving characters quirky names (Reverend Ruttles, Mrs. Bobot, Archibald Wattles, and Alice Amorous, of course) adds to an overall feeling of whimsy, and things are further enlivened by a dash of real-life romantic interest and well-meaning neighbors for the lonely, stressed-out Alice. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)