Sarah Nelson's best friend is a plant, she keeps two diaries and she writes letters to Atticus Finch. This would make her quirky in the eyes of many, except for Sarah it's a daily struggle to try and remain sane while dealing with the typical troubles of a tween (first kiss attempts and crushes) and an emotionally absent father who turns to bourbon to cope. What is it that Sarah Nelson and her father have to cope with? Sarah's mother went crazy one day and attempted to drown Sarah and her twin brother when they were two years old while their father was at work. Once her brother was buried and her mother sent away to an institution, her father was tried for failing to protect the children. Now, ten years later, Sarah and her father have moved 4 times and fear a time someone recognizes them from those awful events yet again, but overall try an lead an normal life. Newly 12 years old, Sarah has problems both her own and unexpected to deal over the summer with while keeping watch for signs of going crazy like her mother.
This is such a charming book! Sarah has a pretty mature and sarcastic voice, which is believable since is mixed in with some thoughts that are very much naive and belong to a 12 year old. What really is nice to see is that Sarah holds a sense of humor about things, especially when she talks to her plant. Overall, I think this would be a great book who kids and teens who have an absent parent or don't have a strong bond with either parent or feel bad traits or behavior of a parent is eventually to be inherited. What I love about this book in particular, is that Sarah is dealing with typical problems for a girl her age yet at the same time learning how to deal with some of the more heavy issues from her past and relationship with her father, and that to me is much more realistic of life. One doesn't get the privilege of dealing with just one major problem at a time in life, like some novels setup for their main character. Sarah's story is a message about having more courage and learning to lean on your own self and that's always a good lesson to read.