In the Company of Crazies

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9780060596071: In the Company of Crazies

Thirteen-year-old Mia Singer thought that she had it all under control. Sure, her grades were slipping a little bit (well, really, more than a little), and she couldn't explain her occasional compulsion to shoplift. The sudden death of a classmate affects Mia in a way she can't quite define, but then she goes one step too far. Her parents place her in an "alternative" boarding school. Away from her parents and surrounded by trees, space, and students whose problems she can't completely comprehend, Mia has no choice but to learn about herself.

With insight and sympathy, Nora Raleigh Baskin focuses on the universal feeling of being a misfit, showing that sometimes the path home is as unexpected as it is challenging.

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About the Author:

Nora Raleigh Baskin is the author of What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, Almost Home, and Basketball (or Something Like It). She grew up in Brooklyn and New Paltz, New York, and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8–The sudden death of a classmate affects 13-year-old Mia Singer in ways even she doesn't understand. She was an excellent student, but now her grades have dropped, she skips school and stops seeing friends, and she is caught shoplifting. When she calls the attendance secretary and explains that Mia Singer is absent because she is dead, her parents send her to Mountain Laurel, an alternative boarding school housed in an old country farmhouse. Here she is the only girl amid a half dozen boys with issues ranging from ADHD to depression, oppositional defiant disorder, and autism. Her teacher asks her to keep a journal; the novel consists of Mia's written and drawn observations. At first she feels that she, too, belongs there, but when she sneaks into the school's office to check her files and finds no diagnosis, she decides to take charge of her own life, defy craziness, and be happy. Baskin nicely portrays Mia's complicated relationship with her mother, who lives vicariously through her daughter. Going home for Thanksgiving, Mia decides not to return to Mountain Laurel and her mother agrees to let her make her own mistakes. The changes that come about seem somewhat abrupt, and the ending is too neatly tied together. However, Mia is a candid, sensitive, and keenly observant narrator. A mildly engaging story of a girl's growing independence as she transitions from childhood to adolescence.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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