cover image Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy

Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy

Susan Vaught, illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2276-5

Nine days after a neighbor is shot on his farm and the man’s two grandchildren disappear, 11-year-old Fontana “Footer” Davis, her best friend Peavine, and his younger sister set out to find out what happened. Their investigation takes them to the farm, which burned down that same night, and their interviews with townsfolk appear throughout, along with Footer’s amusing school assignments (Reinhardt provides doodles on Footer’s behalf). Complicating the investigation are Footer’s visions of the fire. Is it possible that she was there that night and has repressed the memory? Or is Footer following in the footsteps of her mother, who just been taken to a psychiatric ward? Vaught (Insanity) deftly portrays the pain of having a mentally ill parent, capturing Footer’s simultaneous love for and resentment of her mother, as well as her fears for her own sanity. The unusual and entertaining residents of Footer’s small Mississippi town bring moments of humor to a well-plotted mystery that effectively explores some serious themes. Ages 10–14. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Mar.)