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 Khanand maybe even the heroes of the Texas Revolutioncan she find the courage to change?
|Publisher:||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.75(d)|
|Age Range:||10 - 13 Years|
About the Author
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. You can visit her karenharringtonbooks.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just HAVE to start off with saying I love this book so much. I am currently reading the oregon battle of the books list for next year(2017) and I agree with the creators of the list that Courage For Beginners definitely deserves a place at the very top of it.
Mysti Murphy's mother is an agoraphobic who never leaves the house. Mysti's dad takes care of everything that involves leaving the house...until he is hospitalized in a coma. And on top of all of this, Mysti's friend Anibal Gomez won't talk to her as a social experiemnt. Great story about independence, gaining friends, popularity, and talking about your fears.
Here is a girl who has created a real-feeling, sympathetic, perfectly imperfect girl you can relate to. I’m not talking about Mysti Murphy, the red-headed star of COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS, but author Karen Harrington who seems, like in her previous novel SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, to have a knack for painting a world full of multicolored characters and sky-high problems. Mysti has no dystopian villains to fight; she deals with family disaster and dysfunction with only dreams of Paris, a sense of humor, and budding courage to aid her. All while trying to stay afloat at school and pass seventh grade Texas History by building a replica of the Alamo. Digging deep for patience she doesn’t have, wisdom she doesn’t have, and courage she doesn’t have, Mysti takes a stand against a false friend and dire family circumstances with a Texas toughness that would make Jim Bowie proud.
SPOILER ALERT! Let me preface this rating/comment by admitting that I do not normally read YA fiction. But, after hearing from a voracious reader-friend that COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS deals with a mother's agoraphobia, I was intrigued, since my mother suffered from the same condition. After reading a few pages, I was hooked. Mysti Murphy is entering middle school. Scary enough. But adding to that stress, her father is suddenly absent, her younger sister and her mother are looking to Mysti for answers, and her heretofore best friend, Anibal, is leaving Mysti behind to join a hipper crowd. Harrington nearly plops us into the middle of this drama and guides us among the nefarious, sometimes hilarious, middle school hallways, full of memorable characters. I cheered as Mysti overcomes her mother's fearful voice playing in her head and realizes her own, undistorted reality. Not for the faint of heart: Mysti's trek is a genuine hero's journey, one of fears, faith, and growth. Satisfying and thought-provoking. Highly recommended for all ages.