by Susan Vaught
Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster
Available March 3, 2015
Delightful, quirky, poignant, honest, and heart-breaking, Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy captures the heart of a small Southern town with its cast of forlorn and headstrong characters. While considered a book for middle grades and up, much of the content deals with very real "adult" problems: mental illness, child abuse, drug abuse, murder, and arson.
Fontana (Footer) Davis and her besties Peavine and Angel live in Bugtussle, Mississippi. That's part of the joke. The other part is that their town is named after a real bug. Footer knows this because she does on English paper on the name of her town. Days before this the Abrams farm burns to the ground. Mr. Abrams' body is found but the bodies of Cissy and Doc are not recovered. The police think the fire killed Mr. Abrams and that the kids may have been kidnapped by a serial killer. This doesn't make sense to Footer and her friends. They decide to solve the mystery on their own.
As Footer begins to snoop around, she feels like someone may be watching them and she's right. Someone wants to know just what the kids are finding out about the fire and the missing kids. Footer's mom may know something, too. Even though she suffers from bi-polar disorder, Footer's mom clearly knows something. Now Footer is afraid what secrets she might uncover. Will her meddling cause a rift in her family?
The truth turns out to be even more horrible than Footer could dream up. How will the town and this family recover from its secrets?
I loved the setting and the "Southern-ness" of this book. Having Southern roots, I could relate to the pace, the heat, and the downright syrup. When someone says, "Bless her heart," in the South, it's not meant to be a compliment or a prayer to God. It means that the person is their own kind of crazy. Luckily, in the South, crazy is celebrated! (Think "Steel Magnolias")
Recommended grade 6-up.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)