An Entirely Compelling Read

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes takes place over the course of six days in September 1973. It is the story of high school senior Karl “Psycho” Shoemaker, who just wants to have a “normal” year.

Karl’s father died of cancer a few years ago, and since then his mother has gone off the deep end. She drinks far too much, she owns about 40 cats, and she steals Karl’s money. The best thing in Karl’s life is his friends, all members of a compulsory therapy group at school which the kids have dubbed The Madman Underground. Now Karl has the chance to get out of going to therapy, just for one year, one normal year. The trouble is, he may lose his only friends in the process.
This clever, moving story was a Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009. It’s a story for mature, thoughtful readers; it’s a story you won’t soon forget. I recommend this book for readers of John Green and fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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