Sara and the Search for Normal
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
ISBN 10: 1534421130
ISBN 13: 978-1534421134
“It’s the vivid, insightful depiction of Sara’s internal struggles that readers will remember.” —Booklist
In this prequel to the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, fan-favorite Sara quests for “normal” and finds something even better along the way.
Sara’s Rules to be Normal
1. Stop taking your pills
19. Make a friend
137. Don’t put mayonnaise on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Sara wants one thing: to be normal. What she has instead are multiple diagnoses from Dr. Ring. Sara’s constant battle with False Alarm—what she calls panic attacks—and other episodes cause her to isolate herself. She rarely speaks, especially not at school, and so she doesn’t have any friends. But when she starts group therapy she meets someone new. Talkative and outgoing Erin doesn’t believe in “normal,” and Sara finds herself in unfamiliar territory: at the movies, at a birthday party, and with someone to tell about her crush—in short, with a friend. But there’s more to Erin than her cheerful exterior, and Sara begins to wonder if helping Erin will mean sacrificing their friendship.
Diagnosed at age six with bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, mild schizophrenia, and depression, Sara attends public school and does well academically. Now in seventh grade, unable to attend regular classes because of frequent, disruptive panic attacks, she’s known to other students as Psycho Sara, and she yearns to be “normal.” At group sessions led by her psychiatrist, she meets outgoing Erin, who befriends her and urges her to adopt a more positive outlook, to see herself as a “Star Child,” and to celebrate the differences that make her special. Becoming an agent of positive change for others, Sara faces painful losses, but she makes impressive gains as well. In this prequel to King’s OCDaniel (2016), readers will meet Sara in the period before her story intertwines with Daniel’s. The first-person narrative reveals her concerns and shifts in confidence as this vulnerable, truthful character meets challenges and becomes increasingly determined and brave. Adults and young people alike are portrayed as flawed here, but it’s the vivid, insightful depiction of Sara’s internal struggles that readers will remember. -- Booklist, February 15, 2020
About the Author
Wesley King is the author of the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, which Booklist praised as “complex and satisfying” in a starred review. It was also named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year and received Canada’s Silver Birch Award. King’s first middle grade novel, The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!, was called “a well-drafted coming-of-age story” by Publishers Weekly. King is also the author of The Vindico and its sequel, The Feros, which were both Junior Library Guild selections, and Kobe Bryant’s New York Times bestselling Wizenard series. He lives in Nova Scotia.