Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

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 friends obsess over Harry Potter, she spends her time writing letters to Atticus Finch. She collects trouble words in her diary. Her best friend is a plant. And she’s never known her mother, who left when Sarah was two.
Since then, Sarah and her dad have moved from one small Texas town to another, and not one has felt like home.
Everything changes when Sarah launches an investigation into her family’s Big Secret. She makes unexpected new friends and has her first real crush, and instead of a “typical boring Sarah Nelson summer,” this one might just turn out to be extraordinary.

Description taken from Goodreads. 

I can honestly say I’ve never really read a book quite like this one, where a twelve year old is trying to figure out if she’s insane or not–all the while keeping up with her wide array of obscure hobbies such as talking to her best friend who is a plant (and also called Plant), writing letters to Atticus Finch and keeping two diaries at the same time.

But that’s not such a bad thing.

A small part of the time I was reading this book, I was busy getting annoyed at some of the things Sarah would do, but when I wasn’t, I was busy loving her obsessive personality. There are so many unique parts to this book and I appreciated many of them. The premise is very interesting and a lot of fun to see unfold. Most of all, it was fun because I was seeing it through Sarah’s eyes. She’s a very fun heroine who finds joy in the smallest things and appreciates the big things, and for that she was the perfect person to narrate this story.

For how quirky it all is, SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY has a special brand of maturity that I don’t usually see in middle-grade books these days. There are awesome themes in this book about the process of growing up and what exactly it means to do so, all in a way that’s perfectly done. I also really appreciated the TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD parts to this story. Even though it is one of my favorite classics, I didn’t think that Karen Harrington messed it up in any way and I loved Sarah’s passion for the book and characters.

Overall, this was a great book that I think definitely deserves a lot more attention. Quite a few of the issues it calls upon aren’t usually seen in children’s literature, and certainly not in such a good way. I would say it’s not for everyone, and probably for 12+, but for those who are willing to give it a try, they’re in for a strong, sensitive story that teaches lots of good lessons. 4 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 288


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