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Book Review: Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

This is my second Young Hoosier Book Award nominee review. I have picked a  few from the Intermediate and Middle Grade lists to read. This book is about twelve year old Sarah, who among other things she is doing in this novel is also writing letters to her literary hero, Atticus Finch. I find this to be especially interesting to read AFTER I just finished Go Set A Watchman. Although I'm sure Karen Harrington had no idea that GSAW existed or was going to be published during her work on this book I would love to know her thoughts on Lee's "new" novel and how it relates to her character Sarah in Sure Signs of Crazy. Like Sarah, and many of us I'm sure Ms. Harrington was probably also a big fan of Atticus in To Kill a MockingBird. 


Moving on...

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Sarah Nelson has just turned 12 and like most girls her age she is struggling with identity issues. Sadly, Sarah has a harder struggle than her peers. She is famous, actually her mother is, for being crazy. When she and her twin brother were two, their mother tried to drown them. Sarah survived the incident, her brother did not. Because of this tragic event Sarah and her father have had to move every time they are recognized as "that family."


During summer break Sarah has decided to launch an investigation into her family's "big secret." She records her thoughts in her diaries and through letters to her literary hero, Atticus Finch. She makes new friends, has her first real crush and becomes bolder and more courageous in terms of standing up to her alcoholic father. 


This book has a lot of heart and deals with some non-typical big issues, but underneath those layers it is really just a story of growing up. I love the progression Sarah makes as a character from the start of the novel to end where anyone would be daft not to admire Sarah's gusto.


Because this book does deal with some sensitive issues I would recommend this book to middle grade readers, grades 6th-8th.

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