Do you remember where you were on 9/11? The characters in LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW were all in New York City. So was David Levithan, and that experience was inspiration for this book. As Levithan points out in the Author's Note, many young people today may be too young to have first hand memories of that world-changing day. By reading the experiences of Jasper, Peter, and Claire, perhaps the emotions of that day and its aftermath can be experienced by readers in the years to come.
As the book begins, each character shares where they were and what it was like at the moment. Peter and Claire were affected immediately, while Jasper finds it difficult to admit that he slept through the actual attack and learned about it as he listened to Peter Jennings on the news.
The personal experiences of the three become intertwined as the story continues. All three are surprised at how directly they feel the emotions of the event. The life they once took for granted, the city they've always known as home, and the atmosphere surrounding them have them asking questions that have no real answers.
David Levithan captures the unique yet universal feelings inspired by the event that touched us all. Amidst the unanswered questions are feelings of greater appreciation for family and friends, the sympathy that goes out to those who lost and suffered most, and the human condition that connects the entire world. Unlike the teen who read the book in one sitting on the bus, I found the need to set it aside at times to sort through my own memories of that day and what has unfolded since. The world is truly a different place, and I've concluded I'm not sure if it is for the better or worse. Time will tell.