Twelve-year-old Mysti Murphy wishes she were a character in a book. If her life were fictional, she'd magically know how to deal with the fact that her best friend, Anibal Gomez, has abandoned her in favor of being a "hipster." She'd be able to take care of everyone when her dad has to spend time in the hospital. And she'd certainly be able to change her family's secret.
Seventh grade is not turning out the way Mysti had planned. With the help of a hot-hair balloon, her new friend Rama Khan--and maybe even the heroes of the Texas Revolution--can she find the courage to change?
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Karen Harrington was born in Texas, where she still lives with her husband and children. She is the author of Sure Signs of Crazy and Courage for Beginners.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* 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 has learned fears—for instance, it takes Mysti more than 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. Grades 5-8. --Kathleen Isaacs
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