My editor just sent me this news and review! I'm over the moon. It's ironic because, for a book about courage, I had a lot of fears and trepidation writing this story. In many ways, this is a very personal tale as my own mother struggled with agoraphobia.
Today, I'm grateful for these kind words. Thank you, Booklist!
By Karen Harrington
August/ Ages 8 – 12/ $17.00
For Mysti Murphy, being in seventh grade takes enormous courage. Her agoraphobic mother never leaves the house; her father falls from a tree and is hospitalized in a comatose state; and her best and only friend is conducting a social experiment,” ignoring and even making fun of her at school. In this moving follow up to Sure Signs of Crazy (2013), Harrington returns to similar themes and introduces another appealing protagonist, the red-haired, joke-telling Mysti. From her father, Mysti has learned to deflect difficulties with humor, but from her mother, she’s learned fears—for instance, it takes Mysti over a month to think of solving the family’s food problem by walking to a nearby store. Mysti often sees herself as a character in a book, and such thoughts are italicized to create a scene-setting narration: “Here is a girl who may have more hidden genius than she realized.” The heat of the Texas setting and the inevitable bullying and jockeying for social position in her middle school add to the oppressive atmosphere. Scarf-wearing Rama Khan, a neighbor and new friend, provides welcome support, as does her teacher of Texas history. A wrenching and rewarding read. Booklist issue, June 1, 2014.