Read Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Online


Coretta Scott King Award winner * ALA Notable Book * School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year * ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice * Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year * Washington Post Best Books of the Year * The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book * Three starred reviews * CCBC Choice * New York Public LibCoretta Scott King Award winner * ALA Notable Book * School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year * ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice * Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year * Washington Post Best Books of the Year * The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book * Three starred reviews * CCBC Choice * New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing * Amazon Best Book of the YearThe Coretta Scott King Award–winning Gone Crazy in Alabama by Newbery Honor and New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother Big Ma and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven will be enjoyed by fans of the first two books, as well as by readers meeting these memorable sisters for the first time....

Title : Gone Crazy in Alabama
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062215901
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gone Crazy in Alabama Reviews

  • Betsy
    2019-03-14 03:37

    I’m a conceited enough children’s librarian that I like it when a book wins me over. I don’t want them to make it easy for me. When I sit down to read something I want to know that the author on the other side of the manuscript is scrabbling to get the reader’s attention. Granted that reader is supposed to be a 10-year-old kid and not a 37-year-old woman, but to a certain extent audience is audience. Now I’ll say right off the bat that under normal circumstances I don’t tend to read sequels and I CERTAINLY don’t review them. There are too many books published in a current year to keep circling back to the same authors over and over again. There are, however, always exceptions to the rule. And who amongst us can say that Rita Williams-Garcia is anything but exceptional? The Gaither Sisters chronicles (you could also call them the One Crazy Summer Books and I think you’d be in the clear) have fast become modern day literary classics for kids. Funny, painful, chock full of a veritable cornucopia of historical incidents, and best of all they stick in your brain like honey to biscuits. Read one of these books and you can recall them for years at a time. Now the bitter sweetness of “Gone Crazy in Alabama” gives us more of what we want (Vonetta! Uncle Darnell! Big Ma!) in a final, epic, bow.Going to visit relatives can be a chore. Going to visit warring relatives? Now THAT is fun! Sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern have been to Oakland and Brooklyn but now they’ve turned South to Alabama to visit their grandmother Big Ma, their great-grandmother Ma Charles, and Ma Charles’s half sister Miss Trotter. Delphine, as usual, places herself in charge of her younger, rebellious, sisters, not that they ever appreciate it. As she learns more about her family’s history (and the reason the two half sisters loathe one another) she ignores her own immediate family’s needs until the moment when it almost becomes too late.I’m an oldest sister. I have two younger siblings. Unlike Delphine I didn’t have the responsibility of watching over my siblings for any extended amount of time. As a result, I didn’t pay all that much attention to them growing up. But like Delphine, I would occasionally find myself trying, to my mind anyway, to keep them in line. Where Rita Williams-Garcia excels above all her peers, and I do mean all of them, is in the exchanges between these three girls. If I had an infinite revenue stream I would solicit someone to adapt their conversations into a very short play for kids to perform somewhere (actually, I’d just like to see ALL these books as plays for children, but that’s neither here nor there). The dialogue sucks you in and you find yourself getting emotionally involved. Because Delphine is our narrator you’re getting everything from her perspective and in this the author really makes you feel like she’s on the right side of every argument. It would be an excellent writing exercise to charge a class of sixth graders with the task of rewriting one of these sections from Vonetta or Fern’s point of view instead. As I might have mentioned before, I wasn’t actually sold initially on this book. Truth be told, I liked the sequel to One Crazy Summer (calledP.S. Be Eleven) but found the ending rushed and a tad unsatisfying. That’s just me, and my hopes with Gone Crazy were not initially helped by this book’s beginning. I liked the set-up of going South and all that, but once they arrived in Alabama I was almost immediately confused. We met Ma Charles and then very soon thereafter we met another woman very much like her who lived on the other side of a creek. No explanation was forthcoming about these two, save some cryptic descriptions of wedding photos, and I felt very much out to sea. My instinct is to say that a child reader would feel the same way, but kids have a way of taking confusing material at face value, so I suspect the confusion was of the adult variety more than anything else. Clearly Ms. Williams-Garcia was setting all this up for the big reveal of the half-sister’s relationship, and I appreciated that, but at the same time I thought it could have been introduced in a different way. Things were tepid for me for a while, but then the story really started picking up. By the time we got to the storm, I was sold.And it was at this point in the book that I realized that I’d been coming at the book all wrong. Williams-Garcia was feeding me red herrings and I’m gulping them down like there’s no tomorrow. This book isn’t laser focusing its attention on great big epic themes of historical consequence. All this book is, all it ever has been, all the entire SERIES is about in its heart of hearts, is family. And that’s it. The central tension can be boiled down to something as simple and effective as whether or not Delphine and Vonetta can be friends. Folks are always talking about bullying and bully books. They tend to involve schoolmates, not siblings, but as Gone Crazy in Alabama shows, sometimes bullying is a lot closer to home than anyone (including the bully) is willing to acknowledge.There’s been a lot of talk lately about needing more diverse books for kids, and it’s absolutely a valid concern. I have always been of the opinion, however, that we also need a lot more funny diverse books. When most reading lists' sole hat tip to the African-American experience is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (no offense to Mildred D. Taylor, but you see what I’m getting at here) while the white kids star in books like Harriet the Spy and Frindle, something’s gotta change. We Need Diverse Books? We Need FUNNNY Diverse Books too. Something someone’s going to enjoy reading and want to pick up again. That’s whyChristopher Paul Curtis has been such a genius the last few years (because, seriously, who else would explore the ramifications of vomiting on Frederick Douglass?) and why the name Rita Williams-Garcia will be remembered long after you and I are tasty toasty worm food. Because this book IS funny while also balancing out pain and hurt and hope. An interviewer once asked Ms. Williams-Garcia if she ever had younger sisters like the ones in this book or if she’d ever spent a lot of time in rural Alabama, like they do here. She replied good-naturedly that nope. It reminded me of that story they tell about Dustin Hoffman playing Richard III. He put stones in his shoes to get the limp right. Laurence Olivier caught wind of this and his response was along the lines of, “My dear boy, why don’t you try acting?” That’s Ms. Williams-Garcia for you. She does honest-to-goodness writing. Writing that can conjure up estranged siblings and acts of nature. Writing that will make you laugh and think and think again after that. Beautifully done, every last page. A trilogy winds down on just the right note.For ages 9-12.

  • TheBookSmugglers
    2019-03-04 23:15

    History, self-awareness, negotiated boundaries and family secrets are at the heart of Gone Crazy in Alabama, the third – and final – book in Rita Williams Garcia’s excellent Gaither Sisters series.Sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel from Brooklyn to Alabama to spend their summer visiting their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. In Alabama, the cultural shock they face is only the beginning of their problems: there is also the matter of meeting Uncle Darnell for the first time since he betrayed their trust, the discovery that their family has feuds and long kept secrets and dealing with the evolving dynamics within their own group.Ma Charles lives across the way from her half-sister Miss Trotter but they don’t talk to each other apart from hurling insults back and forth through a third party. Middle sister Vonetta takes over that role with aplomb not only because of her propensity for theatrics but also because this allows her to have a degree of power within their family. This is the core of the ever-present conflict between the three sisters since Delphine is always in charge – it’s a role she has taken for herself but one that seems expected of her by the older members of their family. It’s a lot of pressure for a girl of thirteen and this is deftly explored in this novel in a way that nearly broke me.This is also a book that delves deep into storytelling and history. The youngest sister Fern is developing her poetry skills, following in her mother’s footsteps. In here, Fern is more Afua than Fern (and God, that moment when we learn where the name Fern comes from. MY HEART). Vonetta is all Vonetta though and as she carries back and forth the stories that Ma Charles and Miss Trotter tell, she becomes increasingly confident – those stories when they leave the older ladies’ mouths are rooted in southern tradition. When Vonetta retells them, she is all modern and theatrical. More than that, those stories concern their past, the half-truths about their bigamist father and the terrible consequences of his actions. But they are also entrenched in America’s racial history and the kids come to learn their African-American family is entwined with Native Americans and whites in truly hurtful ways.This leads to the most impacting scene for me in Gone Crazy in Alabama with Delphine’s realisation of what being oppressed truly means. One of the greatest things about this series is the balance between the deeply personal and the wider historical context of American society in the late 60s. The series takes place against the backdrop of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements and they are there at the forefront in books one and two. In here, the younger kids become the voice of modernity having spent some time with the Black Panthers and living in Brooklyn. But their modernity and awareness is often in contrast with their more traditional grandmother, Big Ma. Big Ma’s internalised racism is quite probably one of the saddest things about this series. Delphine and Big Ma are constantly butting heads throughout the novel: Delphine calling out the ways that Big Ma “oppresses” her by telling her to iron sheets or take care of house duties. Delphine is finding her voice and is insistent on experimenting with the boundaries of her freedom, which his awesome and even funny.But then one day, the family – subserviently and convivially – welcome into their homes a White cousin, the town’s sheriff and a known member of the Klu Klux Klan. They do so because they have no choice, they do so at the expense of their pride, they do so because it would be dangerous otherwise and Delphine is completely horrified and finally understands.There is a lot to digest here and once again, Rita Williams Garcia awes me with the complexity of her writing. There is layer upon layer to discover in this series. It’s hard to say goodbye to these beloved characters but it’s even harder to say goodbye to the way Rita Williams Garcia infuses their story with depth and heart.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-03-15 01:31

    Gone Crazy in Alabama is an incredibly gripping story for what it is, with wonderful descriptions of Alabama itself and creative characters.

  • Sarah Weathersby
    2019-03-19 00:17

    I have fallen in love with Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, the Gaither Sisters. I was late discovering this series for "Middle Grades" with great historical lessons.It started with "One Crazy Summer," with the sisters visiting their wayward mother in Oakland, CA. Then the aftermath and return home to Brooklyn in "P.S. Be Eleven."The latest installment is "Gone Crazy in Alabama" when Pa sends the girls "Down South" to meet the relatives on the farm. I so much enjoyed the voices of the girls as they complete each others' explanations in an almost poetic harmony. They remind me so much of my middle sister, my niece, and me.I was so charmed that everytime I opened the book at the next chapter, I couldn't hold back the smile on my face. Their adventures, learning the family history, helping gather the fresh eggs, and help milk the cow reminded me of days in Forsythe, Georgia, so long ago.I was happy just reminiscing until something went terribly wrong, when I found myself in the middle of the night, with an unexpected page-turner. No spoilers here. You have to read it for yourself.Rita Williams-Garcia is a winner.

  • C-shaw
    2019-03-18 04:19

    Thanks to my Goodreads friend Orinoco Womble for recommending this.* * * * *This is No. 3 in the Gaither Sisters series, but the first I've read. I started with this one because it was on sale for $1.99 in Kindle version. This is a great story about three close young (8, 10, & 12) sisters who travel alone from Brooklyn to Alabama to visit relatives for the summer. Adventures ensue and the Alabama characters are hilarious. This is a great, easy read with an underlying thread of familial love. Some favorite lines:". . .our voices either followed or lay on top of one another's for as long as I could remember.""Our grandmother used to fuss with us so much that all we heard was the fussing and not the words.""It wasn't fair to have waited for so long to read a book that was less than what I'd imagined.""I wanted us to all be together. As many of us under one roof as could fit. I needed to know we weren't all falling apart."". . . his dog song, which was neither a true howl nor a bark.""I took it all in: the firm but biscuit-doughy feel of Big Ma's arms; her gardenia talcum powder and Dixie Peach hair grease dabbed under her wig around her temples. It was good to be circled by hands that smelled of pine cleaner and to be blotted by her coffee-breath kisses.""'Big Ma! Come quick!' Big Ma didn't post herself up in the door frame immediately. . .""All them starving children in Africa going to bed hungry. You get in your bed and have a taste of hungry along with them." [What child hasn't heard the first part, but the second sentence was new to me and tickled me so.]"Big Ma used to tell me: 'Scrub like a gal in a one-cow town.'" [Huh? Doesn't make sense, but still is funny, like my friend's granny's saying, 'Makes my butt want to dip snuff.']"'That's right, dear one,' Miss Trotter said. And Vonetta rolled around in that 'dear one' name like it was a pink rabbit-fur jacket." [Ah ha ha!]I highly recommend this book! The rest of the series is on my to-read list as well.

  • Samantha
    2019-03-09 03:26

    Absolutely excellent. The Gaither sisters head down south to spend some time with their relatives in Alabama (Big Ma and her mother Ma Charles). While there the girls learn a lot about their ancestry and the feud going on between Ma Charles and her half-sister Miss Trotter. The elderly sisters are storytellers, which really appeals to Vonetta who ends up carrying bickering messages between the two front porches for nearly the entirety of her time down south. When an act of nature sets the whole clan to worrying, family ties from all across the nation end up at Big Ma's.Though there are bound to be questions as to whether this book can truly stand on its own considering the 2 previous books featuring this unforgettable trio of sisters, this book takes a sharp right turn by focusing on the family history. The author gives readers adequate information about characters appearing in previous novels and previous altercations (i.e. Uncle Darnell's theft of the girls' hard-earned money). This is handled so expertly that I would argue the entire effect for a reader just meeting the Gaither sisters for the first time would come away with the feeling that if they wanted to know more about the backstory in depth, they could consult the previous books as opposed to it being necessary to have read these books to understand this book.The author excels at her craft here. Every opportunity to invoke the senses is taken. The characterization is so fully realized that readers know who is talking without the aid of an identifier at the end of a line of dialogue just based on the way something is phrased or the details chosen to present. The setting is so well described and richly imagined that I feel as though I could draw a fairly accurate map of the woods, possibly even the state of Alabama!Highly recommended historical fiction read for grades 5-8.

  • Josiah
    2019-02-27 03:40

    1960s Oakland, California and its tumultuous social justice scene provided a scintillating backdrop for One Crazy Summer. We were then spirited across the United States to Brooklyn, New York for P.S. Be Eleven, where people had a different attitude from the Black Panthers of California. Another extreme culture shift takes place in Gone Crazy in Alabama as sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel by themselves for an extended stay with Big Ma (their paternal grandmother) and her mother, Ma Charles, in small-town Alabama. If Brooklyn was hesitant to embrace the Black Panther philosophy of racial outspokenness, Alabama is miles behind Brooklyn, and Delphine's father makes sure his three girls know this prior to their trip. Social rhetoric that would be praised in Oakland and accepted without comment in Brooklyn could be downright dangerous in the Deep South, and Papa doesn't want his daughters shipped back to New York in coffins because they couldn't control their smart mouths. It's Delphine's responsibility to keep them out of trouble, and she takes it seriously. This summer is certain to be an illuminating adventure."You don't know something bothers you until you no longer have to do it. Suddenly you're both angry and glad. Angry you did it for all those years and glad you'll never do it again." —Gone Crazy in Alabama, P. 33 On the family farm in Alabama, Ma Charles is as authoritative a figure as Big Ma was in Brooklyn. A spry, almost sassy eighty-two years of age, she welcomes her great-granddaughters affectionately, but lets them know how things are going to be soon after they arrive. Miss Trotter, Ma Charles's sister, is one of only two neighbors within shouting distance, and she and Ma Charles have quarreled for years. As Delphine and her younger sisters get to know their great-aunt, Miss Trotter and Ma Charles take turns telling them stories and tossing in barbs at each other for the girls to deliver, an insult war that is entertaining for Vonetta and Fern if nothing else. Delphine wants the elderly sisters to reconcile, but they seem content taking jabs at each other about their confusing family history. The other close neighbor, Mr. Lucas, is sweet on the widowed Big Ma, but she wants nothing to do with him, pointedly ignoring his overtures despite Ma Charles's exasperated protests. The big city is its own brand of insane, but Delphine has never seen crazy like social life down South.Maybe sibling rivalry is contagious. Delphine and Vonetta sure rub each other wrong as their stay in Alabama continues. Vonetta picks on Fern and Delphine feels compelled to stand up for her youngest sister, which triggers Vonetta's anger. The sisters' uncanny ability to always be on the same page is floundering, but that could just be because they're getting older and forming individualized lives. Delphine doesn't want her relationship with Vonetta to someday mirror Ma Charles's with Miss Trotter, but it's hard to get along with Vonetta when she acts thorny as a porcupine. The vacation veers into scary territory the afternoon of the worst storm in local memory, when everything Delphine thought was hers forever is jeopardized in a nightmare parade of bad choices. Is a family so fragile it can be obliterated in a few tragic seconds, with no do-over? If a second chance emerges from out of mourning, will we learn from the past and snatch it before the offer is rescinded? Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern have much to learn about family, love, prejudice, and justice on their march toward adolescence, and no member of their inner circle is close to being a perfect example. But it starts with a family who will do and sacrifice anything for one another, and they no doubt have that."(I)f you prayed for the miracle you'd sell your most treasured possession for, you don't care about anything else but waiting on that miracle." —Gone Crazy in Alabama, P. 251 The story isn't as cohesive as P.S. Be Eleven, nor is the wisdom as winsome, but Gone Crazy in Alabama has its sparkling moments. The Gaither sisters have deep wounds inside they need to heal, such as their mother (Cecile) and others walking out on them. We see the hurt in Delphine's recurring dream: "I've been dreaming...running to the door to keep it from closing keep footsteps from walking out...walking away...away...But as long as my legs are, I never get to the front door fast enough. As strong as my arms are, I can't keep Cecile from leaving. Uncle Darnell from leaving. Big Ma from leaving. Or Mrs., when she's mad...I can't stop the dreams. I can't stop seeing the opened door and the footsteps." How can you feel secure when the ones you love might leave and never return because you aggravate them, or you're not enough to make them want to stay? Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern know the pain of goodbye when it truly means gone. And slavery in the U.S. may have been abolished a hundred years earlier, but there's danger for young blacks who lack caution. The Ku Klux Klan is past its heyday even in Alabama, but men in white sheets still ride, and some foes are less easily recognizable. "There's Klan everywhere," a close family member warns Delphine. "You just have to see them." When you're vulnerable to injustice because of who you are, enemies don't always announce their presence, but they're watching. Avoid giving them an excuse to persecute you, and you'll survive to make your case for equality. Something tells me Delphine and her sisters could do a lot to enlighten the world through their childhood experiences. Gone Crazy in Alabama has more in common with One Crazy Summer than with P.S. Be Eleven. To me the middle novel is by far the best, and the other two are roughly equal. The Gaither/Charles/Trotter family tree is convoluted and challenging to follow, but the people we meet from it are warm, real, and all have their place in the story. I'm not as big a Rita Williams-Garcia fan as some, but I respect her writing and plan on reading more. I might give Gone Crazy in Alabama two and a half stars, and I recommend it to those who loved One Crazy Summer. I wish the Gaither sisters my best, and the same for the author who brought them to life. These books have helped open eyes and minds, and for that they deserve to be honored.

  • Ashley
    2019-02-20 22:22

    The story was fun and enjoyable, like the previous books in the series. However, this book really brought to the front something that bothered me about the other books. It has bothered me since One Crazy Summer how Delphine is expected to be a mother to her sisters. Everyone expects it, and she is punished for not doing it. If her sisters misbehave, Delphine is often the one who is held responsible for their behavior; for not keeping them in line. It comes to a head here when Vonetta, understandably, rebels against her control. Delphine is 12, she hasn't had the time, maturing, or modelling necessary to be a good mother. Why does it surprise anyone when she isn't a good mother. She is 12, for Pete's sake! At the end of the book she talks about people showing her mercy when she didn't deserve it. That just got to me. It's the adults who should be ashamed for not being the adults to these children. Delphine, in my opinion, is the most wronged of all the girls, and no one ever acknowledges or validates her as a child. Cecile tries to, a bit, in P.S. Be 11, but being Cecile, she doesn't do in a clear way that Delphine can understand. I want to give Delphine a big hug and tell her that none of it is her fault, she should never have been put in the situation in the first place.

  • Kris Springer
    2019-03-21 00:42

    It started out pretty slowly and I was feeling a bit aimless. But then it heated up and a tornado shook everything up and illuminated Williams-Garcia's main theme--family, love, what's most important. Great characters, great humor and amazing conflict and resolution. With the 3rd book, these are real people to me, not just characters. I've felt that in each book but this one really ended the series well (I think the author says this is the last one.) If you like family stories, humor, people encountering cultural change (takes place in 1969 when Apollo 11 lands on the moon) and just plain old good writing, this one's for you. Recommended for ages 11 and older.

  • Kris Patrick
    2019-03-07 06:33

    Look at me! I read an entire series. That has happened like never.

  • Colby Sharp
    2019-02-28 05:24


  • Deborah
    2019-03-18 02:37

    My only criticism is that I wish this wasn't the last book in the series. Thank you Rita Williams-Garcia for creating these characters. I wish I could read about them forever.

  • Brandy Painter
    2019-03-12 03:40

    Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia is the final book in the trilogy about the Gaither Sisters of Brooklyn, NY.Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern and are spending the summer in Alabama with Big Ma. Cows, chickens, and encounters with the KKK are far cry from the streets of the city they're used to. It's also a far cry from their last summer experience in Oakland, CA. It's not entirely bad though as the girls learn more of their family's history. But things in the family are far from perfect. There are many divisions, rivalries, and long-standing resentments that need to be faced and dealt with. It will take a tragic turn of events to bring everyone together again.Delphine is still trying to adjust to the changes in her life the past year has wrought. Things are changing more than ever now as their dad's wife is pregnant, and she will be entering junior high. The conflicts between her and Vonetta are becoming more frequent too. Despite the lessons learned in the previous book, Delphine is having a hard time letting go of being in charge of her sisters, and Vonetta is fighting hard against it. Delphine is constantly mad at her for the way she treats Fern, oblivious to how she treats Vonetta the same way. This conflict is the center of the story and is mirrored in the sibling rivalry between their great grandmother and her sister.The family history the girls learn is an interesting one, and the way it is injected so organically into the story keeps things interesting and funny. The humor in the rivalry between the elderly sisters is a humorous balance to the more fraught parts of the story. Uncle Darnell is getting back on his feet after his issues in P.S. Be Eleven, but Vonetta is determined to never forgive him. Big Ma is as sour as ever towards life in general and, often, the girls in particular. She seems to see them as the evidence of everything that is going wrong with the world. All of these are dealt with beautifully and realistically. And we get to see Cecile again too. There is a few chapters where everything is just awful, but even in these chapters Garcia adds enough humor to take the edge of it without detracting from the horror of the situation.P.S. Be Eleven is still my favorite of the trilogy, but I like the way Gone Crazy in Alabama resolves a lot of the issues that hadn't yet been dealt with and looks toward a bright and hopeful future.

  • Amy Rae
    2019-02-24 04:34

    At ALA Midwinter this last weekend, one of the very kind workers at the Harper Collins booth told me she thought Gone Crazy in Alabama was the best Gaither girls book yet. I was a little skeptical, because it is really hard to imagine loving the last in a series best...but I still made it the first book I read from my considerable stack of ARCs from the conference.And you know what? I really think she was right. As much as I love One Crazy Summer (I like P.S. Be Eleven, too, but the first was definitely my favourite), I might love Gone Crazy in Alabama just a tiny bit more.It's incredible. Best book I've read so far this year, hands down. Rita Williams-Garcia has a light touch and a great sense for combining humor and tragedy. The story has a lot of heart, and by the end of it, I absolutely wanted to drive down to Alabama and meet everyone in the Charles Gaither Trotter Johnson family! Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are as great as ever, and their often-combative relationship is timeless. I loved seeing Delphine struggle with not letting her sisters get a rise out of her--I know that feeling, Del, I swear. Since it's not coming out 'til April, I'm trying to go light on the details here; I don't want to spoil it for anyone! But it's a fantastic book, and you absolutely must read it. Even if you haven't read the previous books in the series, consider picking it up--I think it stands alone just fine.(And somebody please convince Ms. Williams-Garcia to write just one more book about this crazy, wonderful family. I absolutely must know what (view spoiler)[Marva and Pa name the baby! (hide spoiler)])

  • CatherineMustread
    2019-03-17 03:24

    Final book of trilogy about the young Gaither sisters in the 1960s – great historical children's fiction set in the civil rights era of the 1960s. My favorite is the first in the series, One Crazy Summer, in which the girls, whose home is in Brooklyn, visit their long absent mother, a poet living in Oakland, and get involved in the Black Power movement. The second book, P.S. Be Eleven follows them through a school year, 6th grade for oldest sister, Delphine, in Brooklyn. This, the third book, finds them traveling by bus to Alabama to visit their grandma, great-grandma, and various other relatives. They are amazed at how different life is in Alabama, and by the long-standing feud between their great-grandmother and her half sister. The importance of family becomes especially important after disaster strikes.Highly recommended series for middle graders but need to be read in order to be most appreciated.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-25 02:16

    This was, admittedly, my least favorite of the three Gaither sisters books. I felt it got off to a slow start, and I quickly tired of the back and forth between Ma Charles and Miss Trotter. However, the book did start picking up, and the central theme of family being there for each other no matter what was strong. After having read the entire series, I can honestly say that I feel these books are very important for children. Williams-Garcia brings to light many otherwise heavy topics and historical events, and makes them understandable to children. Issues such as the emergence of the Black Panthers, Vietnam, and the Ku Klux Klan, segregation, and discrimination are all explored in a way that shows how these groups and events affected the lives of everyone during that time, whether directly or indirectly. Williams-Garcia explored three very distinct settings in each book, and each time I felt like I was there, experiencing everything along with the sisters. Her easy inclusion of small details to set up the time period was extremely effective and served to root the reader completely in the time and place. She is a wonderful storyteller and these books need to be shared.

  • Mary
    2019-02-25 03:32

    This is the third part of the family story about the Gaither sisters. It is the summer of 1969 and the three girls are sent to Alabama for the summer to visit relatives. Their complicated ethnic heritage and family stories are intermingled with Ku Klux Klan sightings and a close encounter with a tornado. Williams-Garcia captures the spirit and the tone of the 60s assuming the reader's knowledge of the time period but this could be confusing for readers who aren't acquainted with the issues of the time. I appreciated the family tree and the author's note at the end. The family relationships are complicated and at times I needed a score card. Also I was surprised (and distressed) by the family story about the treatment of former slaves by Native American nations and appreciated the author's references.Overall this is a powerfully written family story -- rich in detail, authentic in tone, and totally honest in depth and feeling; a genuine American saga.

  • Monica Edinger
    2019-03-05 04:40

    I owe this one a proper review. Been mulling it over for months. So, meantime, here's a place-holder comment (from the Heavy Medal blog):This has been on my list of books to blog about, but I admit it feels daunting to both honor the arc of the trilogy and the specifics of this one title. The relationship between the older generation sisters, the interrelatedness among those in that small rural community, the young girls’ growing awareness of how not-so-simple hard things in life are….all of it wowed me. Images have stayed with me months after reading it — sheet ironing (probably because my mother did it too), the revelations about family, the older sisters steady ornery behavior toward each other, the vividly evoked Alabama setting, the reality of complicated people being both good and bad (a theme through all three books), and so forth. I knew, come closer to Newbery season, I’d want to reread and write about this one.

  • Paula Gallagher
    2019-03-18 22:26

    It was a pleasure to spend more time with these girls, and now I'm feeling sad that this is the end. Garcia-Williams is a terrific storyteller who manages to weave history into an engaging narrative. Funny and compelling with a terrific cast of characters, this is a book that can be enjoyed as a cross-generational read.

  • Jenn
    2019-02-22 00:24

    The final book in the series does not live up to the previous titles. The book is too bogged down in the family's genealogy. The only action in the story comes 2/3 of the way through the book. I struggled to stay interested. There was not enough humor, and there is only so much I can take of sisters bickering.

  • Jaime
    2019-03-21 05:28

    This one was a disappointment. I loved the first one, the second one was pretty good, but this last one just seemed to have lost its way. Stick with One Crazy Summer, and don't worry about the others.

  • Abby Johnson
    2019-03-17 06:32

    Oh, Gaither sisters, I love you so.

  • Taylor Litke
    2019-02-28 02:22

    Taylor LitkeAlternative Reading Assessment #5Book: “Gone Crazy in Alabama” written by Rita Williams-Garcia I chose this assessment because I have never done something like this before. I thought it was such a great idea to keep the reader engaged, and to help the reader think outside of the box. I thought this one was unique, and I wanted to see how easy or difficult it was to complete. This is absolutely something I will use in my future classroom. I chose the main character Delphine. She is the oldest sister of 3, her sisters are Vonetta and Fern, and is the main character in the book. She also is the one who told the story. I chose Delphine for many reasons besides her being the main character. I feel as though I could relate to her in many ways. Delphine was always looking out for her sisters, and was always the responsible one. She had to make sure her sisters were safe and taken care of. Also, she is brave, funny, smart, and very social. For each present I chose, I have a quote to go along with it from the book, and the reason I chose each present that she may have asked for. I chose my gifts based on the present time, and not when the book had taken place. Present #1- CandyPage number -1Quote- “We planned to fill our hands with different flavored Jolly Rancher sucking candy, wax lips, and Pixy Stix, plus Bazooka bubble gum to last us the whole trip starting from Brooklyn, New York, then to New Jersey, all the way down to Georgia and lastly to Alabama.”Why she would ask- Delphine would ask for candy because they ate the candy all the way down to Alabama, and she had to share with her two other sisters. This way if she received candy for her birthday, she wouldn’t have to share. Also, if they ran out of what they bought together, she could eat hers from her birthday. Present #2- JournalPage number-6Quote- “I can’t stop the dreams. I can’t stop seeing the opened door and the footsteps.”Why she would ask- She would ask for a journal because then she could write down her dreams and reflect on them. This could help her from tossing and turning at night thinking about them. She could also use this journal to write about her time in Alabama and all of her emotions she had while being there. This could help her get through her sad times in the book, and let her emotions out with hurting anyone else.Present #3- KindlePage number-page 15Quote- “I could of kicked myself for being trapped with mean, murdering Okonkwo with “The Soul Brothers” and “Sister Lou” and “The Outsiders” rattled around unread in the underbelly of the Greyhound.”Why she would ask- She would ask because she was stuck with a book that she had started reading, but did not like. She had other books, but they were underneath the bus in her luggage, and the driver refused to let her get them out to read. If she had a Kindle, she could just download the books that she wanted to read before the trip, and if she did not like them, go to a different book. This would keep her busy on the bus, and give her something to do at her grandmas.Present #4-Cell phonePage number-17Quote- “There were only two working telephone booths. I was overdue for the call home to let Pa and Mrs. Know that we were safely on our journey… “She’d picked up the phone when she was supposed to let it ring. Now we’d lose our coins.Why she would ask- She would ask because then she would not have to worry about her coins for the telephone booth, or even finding a telephone booth that worked. Also, she could call or text her Pa and Mrs. whenever she needed to. It would have been helpful for her to have one when she was at her grandmothers in Alabama, because Vonetta could have taken it to the store with her when she went and bought milk, and the family would have known where she was.Present #5- Concert ticketsPage number-23Quote- “She only card that Uncle Darnell had stolen our concert money last year and ruined our chance to see Jackson Five at the Madison Square Garden.”Why she would ask- She would ask for concert tickets because she wasn’t able to go to the concert she was saving up for. This way, she could go the concert of her choosing with her sisters, and not have to worry about anyone taking her money to buy them. Obviously she couldn’t go to Jackson Five, but she could go see another band that she liked.Present #6- Bicycle and a carrier on back for FernPage number- 66Quote- “We didn’t have a bike to pedal the nearly three miles to the nearest store, and even if we did, only Vonetta and I could ride a bicycle well enough.”Why she would ask- She would ask so that she could ride to the store, or just be able to ride around for something to do. Also, she would ask so that she could ride it over to Mrs. Trotters house instead of having to walk all that way. She might ask for a detachable carrier for the bike so that she could take Fern with her, and all three sisters could ride around on their bikes.Present #7 Deck of cards Page number-133Quote- “There was nothing to do at Big Ma’s than watch the chickens fight over a cricket.”Why she would ask- She would ask for a deck of cards because they would be easy to pack, and there isn’t a lot for her and her sisters to do. There are many games that someone can play with a deck of cards either alone, or by themselves. This would help to keep her entertained while being there.Present #8-IronPage number-254Quote- “Ma Charles’s irons didn’t have electric cords. I sat each iron on the stove and turned on the flames.”Why she would ask- Delphine would ask for an electric iron because the ones she had to use to iron sheets at her grandmas were very old, and had to be sat on the stove to warm up. If she had an electric one, she could just plug the iron in, and start. This way it wasn’t as dangerous for her to do her chores. Also, it would be a lot faster than waiting for them to heat up.Present #9 – Sister picture framePage number-260Quote-” Vonetta. I’m so glad that you’re here. I missed you”. I said. “And I’m so sorry.”Why she would ask- She would ask for a picture frame that said “Sisters” on it because of everything they have been through together. Even though they argue, they love each other very much. Delphine realized after Vonnetta’s incident, how much she loved and cared for her sisters. The experience in Alabama has brought them all closer. I think she would like to have a picture frame with a picture of three of them so that she can always remember being in Alabama at her grandmas, and her love for her sisters.Present #10- PecansPage number-282Quote- “We missed our chickens, and cows, our dog, and endless pecans.”Why she would ask- She would ask for pecans because they ate a lot of them in Alabama. Also, she was always climbing the pecan tree at her grandma’s house. She may also ask for them because they bring back memories of being in Alabama with her grandma, aunts, and cousins. She also might just like them!My reflection of the assignment!I loved this assignment. I thought it was such a neat idea to have students do instead of just summarizing the story. This allows them to think about what the character would like, and makes the character more real to the reader. By doing this, the student will be engaged in there book because they have to keep looking for different items that the character might like as a birthday present. If I used this, I think I would maybe shorten the number of presents the character would ask for to 5-7. I would also add in the directions that the reader has to add a quote from the book that helps back up the choice of why he or she said the character would choose that item for that present.

  • Anna Ryckman
    2019-03-06 02:24

    This is the third and last book in Rita Williams-Garcia’s Gaither SIsters series where Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel from their home in Brooklyn to their grandmother and great grandmother’s place in Alabama. I like how even though this is a series, any person can read any of the books and still understand and be engaged on what is going on. The main themes that popped out at me was the importance of family and love. The sisterly bond was portrayed beautifully through the characters The girls become immersed in a very different lifestyle than what they’re used to in the city. Along with facing new farm life experiences like milking cows, gathering eggs, and killing their own dinner, the girls learn about their family history and the long-running feud between Ma Charles and her half sister Miss Trotter. One aspect of this book I was drawn to was Delphine’s relationship with her sisters. Being an older sister myself, I could see myself in Delphine and felt a connection with her. She always wanted her sisters to make the right choices, but has to learn that they have to make their own mistakes. Overall, I highly recommend this book to upper elementary readers, but adults can easily become invested in this series due to the incredible storyline and descriptions the author creates.

  • Kelly Clingman
    2019-03-20 05:18

    I adored this book. The relationships felt real and so did the dialogue. Rita Williams-Garcia does an excellent job capturing the way sisters behave and talk towards each other. This book is funny, emotional, and tackles some ugly truths of American history, with grace and yet with no apologies. The girls in this book, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, are smart and strong. The way Rita Williams-Garcia weaves them into a world with different generations and social differences is masterful. They are learning their family's history, and growing up under dynamic and tough circumstances. I think anyone who has siblings, grew up in a one parent family, regardless of race, can identify with the Gaither/Charles/Trotter families. The writing is good, with vivid imagery and poetic lines. I think this story, written by Mrs. Williams-Garcia, would translate to the stage or screen easily.

  • ErikOlson
    2019-03-16 22:25

    Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams won the Coretta Scott King Book Award in 2016. I found this book at Not having read the first or second Gaither Sisters books, I still enjoyed listening to this one. The story itself is that of three African American sisters who are sent to spend the summer learning about their ancestry. Their adventure leads them to confront different cultural norms, family traditions as well as danger in the form of the KKK and tornadoes. Conflict is everywhere. Between the sisters, the family and the nations history, the young girls learn the nature of oppression and, to an extent, how to overcome it. I recommend LISTENING to it more than anything. Due to the nature of the book, human beings resolving personal conflicts, it is highly meaningful to hear real people reading it. As a teacher, I think would be cool to have students sit in a circle and respond to the audio book by asking questions and responding to each other out loud. It lends itself quite easily to reflection activities, and group conversations. In terms of CCSS, the word choice and imagery are woven together with tone to create good opportunities for literary analysis as well.

  • Melinda
    2019-03-05 00:29

    I'm not sure when I've been sadder to see a series end. The experience of reading these three books with Sofie has been so special.

  • Alex Baugh
    2019-02-24 04:39

    Fictionally speaking, a little more than a year has passed since we last visited with the Gaither sisters, Delphine, 12, Vonetta, 10, and Fern, 8. The girls are still living in the house on Herkimer Street in Brooklyn, NY. Their dad has remarried, but their stepmother has been pretty sick lately, especially in the morning. So now, the girls are off for the summer to visit Big Ma, Uncle Darnell, Ma Charles, their great grandmother and Caleb, the hound dog in Alabama - by Greyhound (remember, it's 1969, people did that then). Everyone is glad to see the girls down there, but Vonetta is still angry at Uncle D for what he did with the money they had saved for Jackson Five tickets. But that's not the only grudge in town. There's not much going on at Ma Charles's house - no working TV, no radio - and after Delphine puts her foot down about washing, starching and ironing her great grandmother's cotton sheets, each day the girls cross the creek to hang out with their Cousin JimmyTrotter, 15, and his great grandmother, Miss Trotter, Ma Charles's sister Ruth. Ma Charles and Miss Trotter have a long standing rivalry going on and quickly discover that Vonetta is the perfect person to carry their mean-spirited insults and messages back and forth across the creek each day. But as the barbs keep flying, unknown family history is revealed to the girls, going back to the days of slavery, to hard times under Jim Crow and segregation and their Native Indian connection, along with some other real surprises in the family tree, including a white cousin in the KKK.Indeed, it feels like Delphine's family is fractured no matter where she looks. Rita Williams-Garcia has written about family in each of the novels about the Gaither sisters. Each book exposes a new layer of family relationships and the way she has captured the different familial problems and relationships has been really spot on. In fact, when the reader begins to see the similarity of the great-grandmother's long-standing squabbling with each other reflected in the same kind of bickering that takes place between Delphine and Vonetta, it's easy to wonder if this will be their destiny, too. But when Uncle D keeps forgetting to bring home milk for Vonetta's cereal, she decides to go get it herself. Riding Cousin JimmyTrotter's bike to town, she is unaware of the tornado heading her way and Delphine is frantic to find her. Will the destruction that the tornado causes be the healing catalyst that pulls this family back together again?Once more, Williams-Garcia has written a book that is a delight to read and it does work as a stand alone novel, though I think that reading all three novels is the better way to go. And, like the previous two books, One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven, Gone Crazy in Alabama is also narrated in the first person by Delphine. This is definitely Delphine's coming of age story, She has always been an astute observer, and the arbiter of reality for her younger sisters when necessary, even if they do gang up and pay no attention to her, but there is a new budding maturity now. One of the thing that Williams-Garcia is genius at doing is creating full-bodied, totally distinctive characters, and I don't mean just Delphine, Vonetta and Fern. Ma Charles, Big Ma, Cousin JimmyTrotter, Uncle D, even Caleb singing his dog song have so much depth to them, regardless of the size of the part they play in this story.Even time and place are as much characters in the Gaither sisters trilogy as girls and their relatives are. The late 1960s was an eventual period - civil rights, Black Panthers, Women's Liberation, the Apollo moon walk and Williams-Garcia has managed to seamlessly get it all into her books without sounding the least bit forced. The only down side of Gone Crazy in Alabama is that it is the last time we will meet the Gaither sisters, otherwise this is a wonderful trilogy and Gone Crazy in Alabama is not to be missed.This book is recommended for readers age 9+This book was an EARC received from Edelweiss/Above the TreelineThis review was originally posted on Randomly Reading

  • Jessica
    2019-03-03 04:18

    Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third and final book in the One Crazy Summer series by Rita Williams-Garcia, about the Gaither sisters and their fun, sometimes wacky, tumultuous, and ultimately loving family. Each book seems to have a different setting--the first, One Crazy Summer, takes place in Oakland, the second, P.S. Be Eleven, in Brooklyn, and this book, Gone Crazy in Alabama, takes place in, you guessed it, Alabama. As I said in my reviews of the first two books, I really love this series because it's funny, captivating, and doesn't shy away from sad or painful things, like drug abuse, parental neglect, and racism. This is realistic historical fiction at its finest. It makes you laugh and cry and think, and I love it for that. This one may be the most intense yet, as it pretty much starts right off with the Klan. Delphine (oldest daughter and narrator), Vonetta, and Fern, have been sent off to Alabama for the summer, since Pa and Mrs. (their stepmother) are preoccupied with the impending birth of their child. They join Big Ma and Uncle Darnell, who have gone to live in Alabama, as well as Ma Charles, their great-grandmother. There, they learn about their family history, which includes a mix of white and American Indian, and polygamy as well. They also learn about country life, like where that milk and bacon comes from.As far as middle-grade series go, this is one of the best because all three of the books are equally strong. In fact, this one may be one of my favorites. Of course, it would be helpful to read all of them in order, but I really do feel like they can stand alone. Ages 9-11Recommended for kids looking for complex realistic and historical fiction

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    2019-02-26 04:18

    I kept holding myself ready to be disappointed, as so few contemporary authors seem to be able to hold onto the quality of their writing...which, given the proliferation of novel series (or series novels), is odd--but there it is. Thankfully, Williams-Garcia's narrative skill never flagged.The sisters are sent down to Alabama to stay with their grandma and great-grandma, perhaps as an antidote for all that radical stuff they picked up in Oakland. They spent time there as little kids and loved it, but now Delphine isn't so sure. For one thing, Uncle Darnell is down there, and Vonetta still hasn't forgiven him and doesn't intend to. For another, Delphine gets stuck on that long bus ride with the wrong book! Oh boy do I hear you. I've done it, and it's agony. That's one of the good things about an ebook reader; if I picked wrong, I have literally a thousand other titles to choose from at my fingertips.The only clunky bit of foreshadowing is the title of that book, Things Fall Apart. They surely do. And there's poor old 12 year old Delphine, trying to mother on her sisters and keep it all together--not just for them, but for everyone around her. Oh, Delphine, I hear you. Keep the peace, keep everything nice, keep quiet. No wonder she feels excluded when her sisters act their ages; she can't afford it. I wasn't even the eldest, but I soon learned the need for peace at any price. I later learned that if I had stood up for myself I might have suffered physically, but perhaps I'd have saved myself some PTSD. But when you're under the harrow, you don't think about standing up for yourself, especially when your only 12, or 11, or 8, and everyone around you is blaming you for something they should be protecting you from.Yes, Delphine, things do fall apart. But often we have to break old structures to make new ones. And sometimes broken people can heal in new, effective ways. Five stars for a satisfying end to the trilogy.