Sure Signs of Crazy — Karen Harrington

Hachette Digital, Inc., Out August 20, 2013

SSOC final cover (441x640)Sarah Nelson just turned 12 and is just finishing the sixth grade. She is different from other students in her grade. Not only does she write letters to Atticus Finch instead of Harry Potter, but her mother is crazy and not in the ‘she drives me crazy’ way but in the ‘she tried to kill Sarah when she was two’ way. Sarah’s summer starts with her best friend going away to sleep away camp without her. As Sarah has her best summer ever, the reader gets to know her real best friend who is a plant and her new friends Charlotte, Finn, and Mrs. Dupree.

Review: This is one of the best middle grade readers I have ever read. I loved it! Sarah is beautifully done character. She is real and quirky. She reminds me of Opal from Because of Winn Dixie, except a bit edgier. At the beginning of the novel Sarah is very aware of “trouble words” that she cannot say around her alcoholic father or it will upset him. As the book progresses, Sarah is still aware of these “trouble words” but doesn’t let that get in the way of the information she needs to know. Sarah is constantly worried about if she will turn out crazy like her mother. Her best friend is a plant and she knows that it’s not completely normal. However, as she goes on her quest to find out if she is crazy, she is able to find herself and come to accept her mother for who she is. This journey is peppered with Sarah’s wit, unusual sense of humor and kindness as she meets people in her neighborhood who become her family and help her discover sense of self.

Even though there are some dense and dark subjects addressed in this book, Harrington keeps it lighter by keeping Sarah a normal 12 year old girl. In addition to being worried that she is crazy, she is also plotting to get her ears pierced, and has a crush on her 19 year old neighbor. Intertwining Sarah’s uniqueness and her ‘normal’ 12 year old desires creates an unforgettable character and novel that everyone should read.

**I read an advanced reader’s copy of this book. Thank you to Little Brown Books for giving me a copy.

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