Sure Signs of Crazy

Karen Harrington. Little, Brown, $17 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-21058-4
In her middle-grade debut, Harrington revisits the family from her adult novel, Janeology, as she goes behind the scenes of a tabloid-headline story. Ten years ago, Sarah Nelson’s mother, Jane, attempted to drown Sarah and her twin brother, Simon, who didn’t survive. Now 12, Sarah has moved from town to town with her sad, alcoholic father, trying to escape media attention while her mother resides in a mental institution. Desperate to know more about her mother, but fearing insanity is genetic, Sarah monitors herself for “signs of crazy,” wondering if writing letters to Atticus Finch, confiding in her plant, and taking refuge on a tree stump in her yard qualify. She is also obsessed with word definitions; many appear in the book, accompanied by her pithy reflections. Over one watershed summer, Sarah tries to learn about being a woman from her 20-year-old neighbor, Charlotte; develops her first crush—on Charlotte’s 19-year-old brother, who shares her love of words; and struggles to figure out how to live as her mother’s daughter. Harrington skillfully portrays watchful, contemplative Sarah’s coming of age. Ages 9–up. Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 08/20/2013
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FORMATS
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-21049-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-21057-7
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