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The Resource Sure signs of crazy, Karen Harrington

Sure signs of crazy, Karen Harrington

Label
Sure signs of crazy
Title
Sure signs of crazy
Statement of responsibility
Karen Harrington
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Twelve-year-old Sarah writes letters to her hero, To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch, for help understanding her mentally ill mother, her first real crush, and life in her small Texas town, all in the course of one momentous summer
Storyline
Tone
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Grades 5-8 For the opening of her middle-grade debut, Harrington cuts right to the heart of her narrator’s grim situation: “You’ve never met anyone like me. Unless, of course, you’ve met someone who survived her mother trying to drown her and now lives with an alcoholic father.” Sarah Nelson was 2 when that happened; now she is turning 12 in a small Texas town and “looking for any signs of going crazy.” Don’t think this will be a hard sell to readers, though, for Harrington has created a protagonist who is, in her own way, as clear-eyed, tough-minded, and inspiring as any dystopian hero. Sarah faces down threats from all sides: “The more information I gather, the better I can defend myself against the world, against the brain inside me that may or may not be like hers.” And even as her father repeatedly fails her (as when he drank and slept through her birthday), Sarah finds allies and role models, from an English teacher to a home-from-college neighbor to Atticus Finch, who shows Sarah how to be a caring human being. Harrington doesn’t leave out humor—she has fun with Sarah’s romantic illusions—but makes it clear that it’s Sarah’s courage and urge to communicate that will push her beyond her traumatic childhood. -- Nolan, Abby (Reviewed 08-01-2013) (Booklist, vol 109, number 22, p74)
  • /* Starred Review */ Gr 6 – 9 — Sarah Nelson is dreading the seventh-grade family tree project and hoping her alcoholic father, a college professor, will move them from Garland, Texas, by summer's end. That has been their pattern whenever local acquaintances discover, usually through a resurfacing news story about two notorious court trials, that Sarah is the sole survivor of her mother's attempt to drown her two-year-old twins 10 years earlier. With a plant as her only confidante, she conducts imaginary conversations with her dead brother and looks for signs of insanity in herself as she puzzles over the twice-yearly cryptic greeting cards from her mother, a patient in a home for the insane in Wichita. An end-of-sixth-grade letter-writing assignment has Sarah sharing her loneliness and confusion with an idealized father, Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird . But at least her own father has agreed to spare her a boring summer with her grandparents in Houston, deciding instead to leave her in the charge of a college student. Charlotte's romantic preoccupations, benign neglect, and attractive brother who shares Sarah's love of words start her on a road to self-discovery and give her the courage to challenge her father's well-intended but misguided attempts to shield her from her past. Sarah is an introspective protagonist whose narrative, interspersed with letters and word definitions, keeps readers absorbed. The horrific premise is not belabored, and the focus remains on the plight of a girl juggling the normal challenges of adolescence with a complex family situation. Secondary characters add interest and texture to this compelling novel.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY --Marie Orlando (Reviewed August 1, 2013) (School Library Journal, vol 59, issue 8, p100)
  • 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.) --Staff (Reviewed May 27, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 21, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Worried that she will grow up to be crazy like her mother or alcoholic like her father, rising seventh-grader Sarah Nelson takes courage from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, writing letters to Atticus Finch and discovering her own strengths. Sarah is a survivor. She survived her mother's attempt to drown her when she was 2 and the notoriety that has followed her and her father from one Texas town to another in the 10 years since. In a first-person, present-tense narration interspersed with definitions, diary entries and letters, she describes the events of the summer she turns 12, gets her period, develops a crush on a neighbor and fellow word lover, and comes to terms with her parents' failings. In her first middle-grade novel, Harrington revisits the characters of her adult thriller, Janeology (2008), to imagine what it might be like to be the child of a filicidal mother. Sarah's 12-year-old voice is believable and her anxieties realistic. Intellectually precocious and responsible beyond her years, she is also a needy child who finds helpful support when she reaches out to a grieving elderly neighbor. Although her situation is difficult, Sarah is resilient and hopeful. Readers intrigued by the premise of this moving story will sympathize with the plucky protagonist and rejoice in the way her summer works out. (Fiction. 9-13)(Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2013)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10217375
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1967-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Harrington, Karen
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
750
Intended audience source
Lexile
LC call number
PZ7.H23816
LC item number
Su 2013
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 6
  • 9
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Coming of age
  • Mental illness
  • Family problems
  • Texas
  • Bildungsromans
  • Mental illness
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Texas
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Sure signs of crazy, Karen Harrington
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
20 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
280 pages
Isbn
9780316210584
Lccn
2012030683
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)811337373
Label
Sure signs of crazy, Karen Harrington
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
20 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
280 pages
Isbn
9780316210584
Lccn
2012030683
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)811337373

Library Locations

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