By Karen Harrington
Little, Brown, and Company, 2013. 280 pages. Fiction.
Sarah Nelson is not your average 12-year-old girl. Living in Texas with her father in the shadow of the "big family secret" makes life challenging, to say the least. However, with the help of a wise English teacher and a summer writing assignment, Sarah finds a mentor and a friend in the fictional Atticus Finch. The story's premise is heavy, with Sarah's mother having been committed to a mental institution and her father battling alcoholism. However, humor abounds as Sarah embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of Atticus, her babysitter Charlotte, her elderly neighbor Mrs. Dupree, and her best friend--a plant. Throw in her quirky obsession with words, her first real crush, and a new found courage, and Sarah has all the elements for a memorable summer. In Sure Signs of Crazy, Harrington has skillfully created an enjoyable, wacky, and heartwarming coming-of-age story. Recommended for older children.