What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sure Signs of Crazy is written from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl whose mentally ill mother killed her twin brother and tried to kill her when they were toddlers. Sarah's father is an alcoholic who means well but can only be counted on to let her down. Sarah snoops, lies, and steals, but not maliciously. She develops a crush on her 19-year-old neighbor and discovers romance novels. She gets her period and is coached by a college student on getting supplies and managing the discomfort.
What's the story?
The summer she turns 12, Sarah Nelson is still defined by her tragic past: Her mother, Jane, is prison for drowning her twin brother and trying to kill Sarah when the siblings were 2. Her alcoholic father relocates Sarah whenever the locals discover who they are. Lonely and secretive, Sarah has two diaries -- one real, one fake -- and writes letters to Atticus Finch, the lawyer dad in To Kill a Mockingbird. Her best friend is a plant, and she's worried she'll end up crazy like her mom. Sarah wants this summer to be different: She wants to fall in love, understand what the big deal is about kissing, be acknowledged as her own person, and have friends. To do that, she decides, requires confronting the person who changed everything: her mom.
Is it any good?
Much like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Sarah is a precocious, charming misfit trying to understand an often disappointing world. In SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, Karen Harrington tips her hat to Harper Lee's classic while creating her own memorable heroine. It's a heartrending story that manages to avoid sentimentality. In many ways Sarah's a typical preteen: She's obsessed with piercing her ears and wants to be cool and sophisticated, and to fall in love, whatever that really means. Though she's clever and wise beyond her years, she's just as awkward and insecure as the next 12-year-old. It's a winning combination of empathy, tragedy, heroism, and humor -- an unforgettable read.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about Sarah's letters to Atticus Finch. What fictional character would you want to write to? Try writing a few letters to the character you've chosen.
- The author wrote a book for adults about the same family, focusing on Sarah's mother's crime. Parents might want to read that book and talk with their children about how they view the story from that perspective.
How would this story play out told from yet another perspective -- maybe Finn's, or Grandma's?
|Genre:||Coming of Age|
|Topics:||Friendship, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs|
|Publisher:||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Publication date:||August 20, 2013|
|Number of pages:||288|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||9 - 12|
|Read aloud:||9 - 12|
|Read alone:||9 - 12|
|Available on:||Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|