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Absolutely Normal Chaos (Walk Two Moons) Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In what by now must be a subgenre in YA fiction-the novel cast as a journal written for an English assignment-Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) spins an affable if formulaic tale about one pivotal summer. Narrator Mary Lou, 13, the second of the five Finney children, is quite put out when she has to play maid for her uncommunicative cousin Carl Ray, 17, who comes to stay while he looks for a job. He gets one, to Mary Lou's surprise, at the hardware store owned by their new neighbor Mr. Furtz, who shortly afterward dies of a heart attack. Not only does Carl Ray remain in his new job, but an anonymous benefactor leaves him money-just like in Great Expectations, as Mary Lou points out. There the resemblance to Dickens ends: the astute reader will early on figure out the mystery behind Carl Ray's inheritance. Mary Lou is also slow to pick up clues about why her cute classmate Alex is always hanging around. Despite the occasionally creaky plot, Mary Lou's bouncy entries are still a lot of fun. Readers will enjoy her wry commentary on The Odyssey (on the school reading list), and girls especially will identify with Mary Lou's disgust at the giddy behavior of boy-crazy best friend Beth Ann and her own giggly rhapsodies on her first romance ("I am sooooo happeeeeee I can hardly stand it!"). Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9?Creech's newest story is told as a summer journal begrudgingly started as an English assignment. Mary Lou, 13, wonders if kisses with boys really taste like chicken; if her best friend will ever shut up about her new boyfriend; and how her visiting cousin, Carl Ray, can be such a silent clod, especially when someone has anonymously given him $5000. Later, when he is in a coma following a car accident, she rereads her journal and wonders how she could have been so unseeing. Mary Lou is a typical teen whose acquaintance with the sadder parts of life is cushioned by a warm and energetic family. Her entertaining musings on Homer, Shakespeare, and Robert Frost are drawn in nifty parallels to what is happening in her own life. When forbidden by her mother to say "God," "stupid," and "stuff," she makes a trek to the thesaurus to create some innovative interjections. Creech's dialogue is right on target. Her characterization is nicely done also. By comparison, this book is differently voiced than Walk Two Moons (HarperCollins, 1994), lacks that book's masterful imagery, and is more superficial in theme; but appropriately so. Creech has remained true to Mary Lou, who is a different narrator, and one who will win many fans of her own. Those in search of a light, humorous read will find it; those in search of something a little deeper will also be rewarded.?Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: Walk Two Moons (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064406326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064406321
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor Book The Wanderer. Her other work includes the novels Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who's That Baby? Ms. Creech and her husband live in upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book Absolutely Normal Chaos was written by Sharon Creech and is realistic fiction. It is about Mary Lou Finney whose English teacher asks her to write in a journal over the summer. The thirteen year old tells about her ups and downs with family and friends, and her first boyfriend, Alex. Her cousin, Carl Ray, comes to live with them and slowly they become good friends and share many secrets.

I liked the book because it was about a girl that was my age and I could relate to the things that she writes about in her journal. I didn't like that her best friend, Beth Ann, left her out and started to ignore her when she got her first boyfriend and when some girls at school started a new club and wanted her to join but they never did include Mary Lou. They made her feel jealous and left out when they would get together for their "secret" sleepovers. Mary Lou Finney was my favorite character in this book because she is a typical thirteen year old who treats everyone nicely, even her odd cousin, Carl Ray.

My favorite scene is when Carl Ray tells Mary Lou who his real father was and why his parents sent him to live with the Finneys. This is my favorite scene because my parents are very important to me and Carl Ray finally realized who his real father was. I would encourage any middle school age girl to read this book because it is written in diary form, it is easy to read, and it includes many funny incidents that happen in a girl's life. How would I feel it I was adopted, finally met my father and he dies shortly thereafter, is one question that I ased myself after reading this book. My strongest reason for recommending this book is that you never know what is going to happen next!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I remember when I got this book in my Easter basket two years ago. I picked it up, and didn't stop reading until I was finished. Since then I've read it about 65 times, and I still read it almost every day. "Absolutely Normal Chaos" led me to read "The Odyssey," which is another one of my favourites, and I've also taken up Mary Lou's expressions such as Omnipotent, cabbageheaded and all that other sum and substance. It is also my inspiration for journaling. I recommend "Absolutely Normal" to absolutely everyone I meet. And they all tell me I'm exactly like Mary Lou... har har har. Anyway, I guess I should go ahead and review the book.
Absolutely Normal Chaos is about a 13-year-old girl named Mary Lou Finney who is assigned by her English teacher, Mrs. Zollar, to keep a journal over the summer. Mary Lou has no idea what a journal really is, so she decides to just write away and hope she's doing it right. Over the summer, Mary Lou's cousin, Carl Ray, comes to stay with her family. She also becomes involved with Alex Cheevey, a boy from school. What happens next is an odyssey in itself, and I don't want to give away the ending to this wonderful book.
For my final sentence, two words: READ IT!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jen1 on December 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love this book. Sharon did a great job of writing this book. This is a book of a thirteen-year-old girl, Mary Lou who keeps a journal over her summer vacation. She has a large family that she lives with. Her cousin comes to live with them for a while and the story is very intense. Any young girl would love reading this book because it deals with all aspects that teenage girls deal with. It deals with family ,friends, and of course boys. I think the book is a good realistic novel. I felt like I was Mary Lou. The way she acts about her friend Beth Ann, I could understand everything she was saying. I really connected with her and I think many young girls could too. This also reminds me of Beverly Clearly's Ramona books. Both books have similar events and have common themes. One theme is over coming life's hardships. It is a fun book and I think it would be a good book for a teacher to read with a class. While reading this book with or to my class I would have them keep a journal like Mary Lou. This would start after the first few days of reading the book. I would correct the errors in their journals then five of them would be put in to a booklet. The booklet cover would be designed by them with the title MY JOURNAL. The writing activity would be a great exercise for the students tp practice there writing techniques and also help to express their feelings . I think what makes this book so great is that I know it was based on Sharon's growing up. It was a great book and I would love to have it in my classroom. It is a great book because it can hold a readers attention, expands awareness, tells the truth, and shows originality. I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in life drama's of a teenage girl.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "kraider168" on March 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found the book Absolutley Normal Chaos to be a great read for a preteen girl. It is a journal of Mary Lou Finney's supposedly normal summer. The summer starts out absolutely normally, with Mary Lou just hanging out with her friend Beth Ann Bartel. Then things take a crazy turn when Mary Lou's seventeen-year-old cousin, Carl Ray, comes to stay with the already large family (five kids). Though he says he came for a job, Mary Lou later finds out the real reason why he came. Mary Lou also meets the "permanatley pink" Alex Cheevey. This book chronicles the wildest summer of Mary Lou's life! I would reccommend this book and all of Sharon Creech's other books to anyone, but especially preteen girls. They are funny, inspiring, and just plain GOOD!
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