Crazy by Han Nolan

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  348

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2013-2014

Jason tries to blend in at school and not draw anyone’s notice because he doesn’t want anyone to know how bad his home life is.  His father has always had some mental issues, but when his mother suddenly dies he finds it is up to him to take care of his father and everything else.  When he tries to rebel against some of the rules in class, however, he ends up having to meet with other troubled teens in a counseling session every week.  Soon, he comes to find that others have difficult issues to deal with as well and begins to open up a bit.  Will his new friends help him keep his secret even after they see his deplorable living conditions and the fact that he is solely responsible for his father’s survival?

This is a powerful story about a group of young kids who deal with more than most students can probably imagine in a single day.  Loss of parents, illness, infidelity, divorce, mental illness, and substance abuse are all discussed as these high school students try to help each other cope.  The counseling sessions do help Jason come to terms with the fact that he is not alone and he can reach out to people.  Reading this book could help high school students to be more understanding of each other and hopefully not as superficial.

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