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Linda Vigen Phillips
Ages 13 and up
PAPERBACK; Published: 10/6/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5437-7
Price: $ 10.00
320 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.25
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A compelling novel in verse about mental illness

Laura is a typical fifteen-year-old growing up in the 1960s, navigating her way through classes, friendships, and even a new romance. But she's carrying around a secret: her mother is suffering from a mental illness. No one in Laura's family will talk about her mother's past hospitalizations or increasingly erratic behavior, and Laura is confused and frightened. Laura finds some refuge in art, but when her mother suffers a breakdown after taking painting back up again herself, even art ceases to provide much comfort.

Eloquent and compelling, this powerful novel-in-verse tackles complex themes in a way that will have readers rooting for Laura to find the courage to get the answers she needs.

Discussion Guide

New York Public Library Best Books for Teens 2014
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Will resonate widely with contemporary readers as they seek avenues of support through their own struggles to remain sensitive to mothers who sometimes disappear, and almost always to some degree disappoint."
Karen Harrington
— Author of Sure Signs of Crazy and Courage for Beginners
"Crazy is an absorbing, tender and often heartbreaking look at the toll mental illness takes on one family in the 1960s. The best books will leave you better and more compassionate for reading them and this is one of them. I loved it!"
Louise Galveston
— Author of By the Grace of Todd
"[T]he gorgeous and powerful language and verse structure moved me. Such a rich reading experience!"
Patti Gauch
— Former VP and Editor at Large of Philomel Books
"Combining poetic form with a compelling narrative, CRAZY is a story of truth and authenticity and, often, beauty."
School Library Journal
"Beautifully written and emotionally impactful."
Kirkus Reviews
"This is worth a read for the text's vivid link between emotions and fine art."
"Phillips' accessibly written chronicle will resonate with teens who understand the desire to protect themselves from their families' inner truths."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Phillips' free-verse poetry has a meaty narrative solidity that, while keeping readers focused on Laura's emotional state, nevertheless captures the period with material detail like clothing and historical referents such as the assassination of JFK. . . . Laura's story is one that will resonate widely with contemporary readers as they seek avenues of support through their own struggles."
Foreword Reviews
"Eloquent and compelling, this powerful novel-in-verse will have readers rooting for Laura to find her courage and face her worst fears."
Congregational Libraries Today
"The author's sensitivity to language is evident in the artful poetry that will engulf readers in Laura's emotions and struggles. The role of faith is brought into play, and questions regarding belief in God will inspire discussion. Crazy is highly recommended for teenagers and young adults."
Catholic Library World
"Phillips's unique format for telling this coming-of-age story adds to the digestible nature intended for young readers. Her poetic novel in verse lends itself to a swift read, but by no means does the simplistic style reflect simplistic writing. . . . Phillips does a wonderful job depicting the influence mental disorders can have on a family and manages to broach a sensitive subject in an approachable way for young adults. Crazy couples the reality of an unpredictable disease with the story of a young girl finding herself, finding an outlet and a new passion, coming to terms with the truth about her mother's illness and the restoration of her faith."
The Midwest Book Review
"Crazy could only get its rich authenticity from an author who's been there, and Phillips acknowledges that bipolar disorder runs in her real-life family. Well-placed pop-culture and historical references also authentically place the story in the early 1960s. Yet, modern teens will easily relate to Laura's timeless personal journey. Crazy opens the floodgate one more notch on a topic that, while better understood than in the 1960s, remains hindered by misconception, judgement, and stereotypes. It is raw and beautiful, unapologetically real, and forever relevant."