Sure Signs of Crazy, by Karen Harrington, is the first book I've completed in the new year. If this is an indication of how my reading all year will go, then I am one very lucky reader! What a fabulous book! I read the whole thing in the space of a morning and, towards the end, my sobs reached the ears of my sons and I had to try to explain (with what little I wanted to share with them) why tears were streaming down my face. It touched me deeply and I cared intensely about the main character and her struggles.
I couldn't agree more with the accolades on the back cover: From Gary D. Schmidt (author of the last book I finished) - "Sarah Nelson faces her life squarely, with a heroism that makes us cheer for humanity's courage, wit, and guts. Hers is a compelling journey that takes us into that most fragile place: hope. You will be glad you journeyed there with her." From Pat Conroy - "Sure Signs of Crazy is knowing, hilarious, and tender. Karen Harrington's character portrait of Sarah Nelson is one for the ages."
Sarah Nelson is just turning twelve years old, but life has already handed her more challenges than the average tween will ever experience. With a mother in a hospital for mental instability, and a father struggling with alcoholism, and a past that would make anyone wonder whether they, too, might turn out crazy, Sarah Nelson takes refuge in writing letters to Atticus Finch and nurturing and talking to her plant.
This book has everything to love: an inspiring teacher who spurs the main character on to courage and growth, words to cherish, a bit of romance to create a touch of an ache, and a courageous protagonist who will make you remember her forever. It also has the bits that make a reader cry: sucking us into the emotions of a tween girl as she encounters her first crush, the truth about her life, the difficult things she must face, and the triumphant hope she comes away with.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a winner! As the inside cover declares: "Karen Harrington effortlessly blends heartbreak and hilarity in this pitch-perfect story about the adventure of growing up." Given the fact that this is Harrington's first book for young readers, all I can say is she hit it out of the ballpark!