Thursday, August 22, 2013

ARC Review: Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Sure Signs of Crazy
Author: Karen Harrington
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 20, 2013)

Description: Not every person responds to words the same way. Some words are trouble words. A trouble word will change the face of the person you say it to. Love can be a trouble word for some people. Crazy is also a trouble word.

I should know.

You've never met anyone exactly like twelve-year-old Sarah Nelson. While most of her classmates geek out over Harry Potter, she writes letters to Atticus Finch. Her best friend is a plant. And she's never known her mother, who has lived in a mental institution since Sarah was two.

Sarah and her dad have spent the past decade moving from one Texas town to another, and she's never felt truly at home....until now. This is the story of one extraordinary summer in which Sarah gets her first real crush, new friends, and the answers about her family she's always been looking for.

My Thoughts: SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY is the story of a momentous summer in the life of Sarah Nelson. She has just finished sixth grade and turned twelve. Her best friend Lisa has gone away to camp and Sarah has finally convinced her father that she is old enough not to be sent to her grandparents' house for the summer vacation. Sarah and her father have lived many places in Texas and are currently in Garland. Each time they are spotted, they have moved. 

Sarah's mother is infamous because she tried to kill Sarah and successfully killed Sarah's twin brother Simon when they were two year old. Since then, she has been in a mental asylum and Sarah has only seen her twice. Sarah's father also went to trial regarding the incident but was acquitted. Whenever reporters find and harass them, they move on. 

Sarah spends the summer taking care of Plant and writing letters to Atticus Finch in her journal. Her favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird and she has adopted Atticus as the mentor and father she wishes she had. Her own father is an alcoholic and Sarah spends a lot of time in the role of caregiver. 

Sarah has an articulate voice and a fascination with words while still have the world view of a twelve-year-old. She is a faithful observer of those around her but her observations are colored by lack of context because of her lack of maturity. She grows up a lot this summer. She has her first crush (on a very nice young man), confronts her father, and helps an elderly neighbor deal with the loss of her husband. 

Pair this one with To Kill a Mockingbird. It would also be a great book to use for a classroom literature study. 

Favorite Quote:
Dad should be my chief informant. But an informant talks, and he does not like to talk about anything but what he needs to pick up at the store.

This is an example of a conversation with my dad: "Are we out of milk? Cereal? How about I make pancakes on Saturday?"

In his conversations, your input is not really required. I have to pry real information out of him. He is hard, frozen ice cream and I am a weak spoon. What I've learned is this: You don't get much ice cream for all the work you put in, and the spoon ends up bent.
I got this ARC at ALA. You can buy your copy here.

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