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Absolutely Normal Chaos

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  6,153 ratings  ·  454 reviews
Mary Lou Finney is less than excited about her assignment to keep a journal over the summer. Boring! Then cousin Carl Ray comes to stay with her family, and what starts out as the dull dog days of summer quickly turns into the wildest roller coaster ride of all time.

How was Mary Lou suppose to know what would happen with Carl Ray and the ring? Or with her boy-crazy best fr
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published October 30th 1990)
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Oh, Alpha Omega! Oh, King of Kings! I enjoyed reading this book :D!
It's written as a journal of a 13 years old girl. The journal was supposed to be an assignment for her summer vacation, turn out that the girl--Mary Lou Finney--was really into writing in her journal. She filled up six little blue books. She wrote about her family, her weird cousin--Carl Ray--, her best friend, her first boy friend, and about Homer's Odyssey--the book she picked out from her summer reading list--.
Girls, you shou
I was in a book store and the only books I was seeing were historical fiction books; and personally, I hate historical fiction. Then I saw this book on the shelf and Absolutely fell in love!
Jul 20, 2010 Kimberly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants a heartfelt story
Recommended to Kimberly by:
Mary Lou Finney's story about her cousin, her love, her book, and her life keeps you turning pages when a new neighbor dies, her cousin gets hurt, and her love life takes a surprising turn. It starts out with Mary Lou doing the project just for school, not for joy, but when she finds out juicy, gossipy, revealing, embarassing, over-the-top, insane things, she has to write them down. But then one question rings in her head: How can she show it to her next English teacher, no matter how cool he or ...more
Book Review Team
I am reading a book called Absolutely Normal Chaos. This book is about a girl named Mary Lou Finney. She tells us about her summer (she is telling her journal this) sometimes she is also living the events she talks about. She has a friend named Beth Ann who is using her Mary Lou's cousin (Carl Ray) to make Beth Ann's boyfriend jealous and to make him get back together with her. Mary Lou is also dating one of the cutest guys in her class, Alex. Mary Lou's brothers and older sister are very annoyi ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a pretty believable story of a thirteen-year-old girl named Mary Lou who is growing up in a small suburb. She lives in a family of five, and is constantly busy. Her English teacher assigns the kids a journal to write in over the summer, and to her surprise not only does she fill it up, but she buys six more, and fills them all the way up too. Mary Lou starts out as being pretty easy to understand, but quickly her life begins to turn itself upside down as her cousin comes looking for a j ...more
This companion book to "Walk Two Moons" follows one of the minor characters from that book, Mary Lou Finney, as she navigates the pitfalls of family, friends, and boyfriends during the summer between seventh and eighth grade. Mary Lou's cousin, Carl Ray, comes to live with her family, adding one more person to feed and clean up after. Her best friend, Beth Ann, starts dating an older boy, becoming distant and secretive. And a popular boy from the more affluent side of town, Alex Cheevy, starts t ...more
The title pretty much says it all.

Mary Lou Finney, a character seen in "Walk Two Moons," narrates this book completely through her summer journal, and ends up having more fun with the project than she ever expected. And a crazier summer than she ever expected.

Between a bunch of rambunctious siblings, having to read "The Odyssey" (which Mary Lou questions throughout in hilarious fashion) over summer, a blossoming crush on her neighbor Alex, and her very odd cousin Carl Ray staying with them, Mary
A totally cute book written as a diary of a teenager in a crazy family. Now I need to read Walk Two Moons.
I will admit, my rating of this one is heavily influenced by nostalgia googles, since this was my favourite book when I was younger. Recently, I was inspired to pick up my poor, falling apart copy and re-read it. And while I don't love it as much as I did then, it's still a pretty awesome book.

This book's strength really is the narrative voice, because Mary Lou just sounds so much like a 13 year old girl. And it really pulls off the diary thing well, becoming a benchmark for me when it comes to
“Absolutely Normal Chaos” is another delightful book for young teens, especially girls. Written in the form of a journal, 14 yr. old Mary Lou Finney tracks her summer adventures day by day, including her summer reading assignment of reading “The Odyssey”. We readers get to know Mary Lou’s inner feelings and secrets that begin blossoming in what can be a dramatic stage of life. Cousin Carl Ray invades the Finney household and ‘normal chaos’ begins...

The challenges all there - and all brand new fo
Ava Black
In estate voglio leggere libri leggeri e spensierati in riva al mare cosi', anche se questo romanzo e' stato pensato per le adolescenti e non per le ragazze della mia eta', ho deciso di leggerlo perche' in fondo mi piacciono queste storie al femminile tipiche dei romanzi di un po' di anni fa (se non sbaglio questo e' degli anni '90). Dunque, la protagonista del romanzo e' la tredicenne Mary Lou, che abita in una famiglia numerosa in cui regna, appunto, il solito normalissimo caos che viene messo ...more
Bree Ervin
I read this book out loud to my kids. We all enjoyed it - it touched on some important topics like self-identity, peer pressure, and most importantly, empathy!! That long lost skill that allows us to see and understand people who are not just like us.
The reason for the "low" star rating is simply because this was not my most favorite Sharon Creech book, and because I personally have a hard time withe the diary style books. (My kids love them and probably would have given this book 4 stars.)

Confession time: I've barely read any children's books. I know, that sounds strange, considering the number of books featured here including children's books, but by the time I was in fourth grade, I was reading John Grisham's The Client. I often crack the joke that I'm doing my penance for going that route, reading children's books as an adult because I just haaaaad to read adult books as a kid. But we all know that's a lie - a good book is a good book, no matter what age group it's written to ...more
Haili H.
I kind of liked this book. It got a little boring but at other times it was good. Mary Lou Finney is the main character and has to write a journal over the summer for ELA class. She has 4 siblings and her mom and dad. Their cousin Carl Ray came to stay at the Finney's house until he found a job. Carl Ray mainly just sat around all day and didn't try to look for a job. Mary Lou is sick of picking up after Carl Ray and wants him to do it himself. Mary Lou's best friend broke up with her boyfriend ...more
Jill Marks
Absolutely Normal Chaos was the first book that Creech wrote for young adults. Absolutely Normal Chaos tells the story of Mary Lou Finney and her crazy family, including her mom and dad, her older sister, and her three younger brothers. Then her cousin Carl Ray comes to stay with them. Mary Lou documents their whole summer in her journal she is meant to turn in when school starts back in the fall. The book opens up with a note to her teacher asking him not to read it. Mary Lou writes all about h ...more
SWBST (Carl Ray's POV)

Carl Ray made a long 8 hour drive from West Virginia to Ohio to find a job and answers about his real dad, but things are tough because there's tension between him and his other father, Carl Joe. In Easton, he stays with his aunt, uncle, and cousins: Maggie Mary Lou, Dennis, Dougie, and Tommy. So he eventually finds a job but is devastated when he finds out that Charlie Furtz, his employer, dies. Then Carl Ray finds crucial information that told him about his father and who
Wonderful middle school book. Creech has a genius for kids stories. My 13 year old daughter read this book out loud to me and I enjoyed so much hearing it in her voice.
This book, while having some funny parts, teaches 2 major lessons, don't judge a book by it's cover, and, you never realize what you have until it's gone.
I cried at how touching this book came to my life history. The author writes about a girl who is keeping this journal for class over her summer. She writes about her friends, love, family, and events that come to pass. What really got to my emotions was when a boy found out that he was adopted and finally meets his real father that his father dies after two days of meeting him. Then I thought of what I would do if I lost my father after not being able to see him much. Then I just cried for twent ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I just reread this recently. The cover is barely attached to the rest of the book. Theres a chocolate stain on page 33. I cant even read page 104 anymore because theres tea all over it. Anyway, this really tells me how much i love this book. Ive read it countless of times over the past decade and i've never grown tired of hearing mary lou finneys voice in my head. I still get the same excitement she does. I still get angry with her as well. I dont know what it is about this book that I just cant ...more
Natalie Stanton
I thought that this book was a winsome novel that has the main character, Mary Lou experiencing the stages of life as an adult. It was profoundly comprehensive within a radiant summer. The writing was immensely powerful, because it made you think about your life and how it crosses paths with what you're experiencing right now as a teenage girl. Plus, it was written alluringly,and made you feel the emotions in the book, as if you were standing with the main character. Some weaknesses that the boo ...more
I absolutely love this book. As the 5th out of 6 children, I often felt like Mary Lou understood me, and it helped a lot. The chaos is so real in her house, and it makes you feel like you were there with her. I love how everything unravels itself slowly. It's definitely a book I couldn't put down once I got into it. Read this book! It's so good, and the journal format it's written in adds effect. Sharon Creech is an author I'd recommend in a heart beat, so go check out some of her other books to ...more
A cute whimsical look at a preteens adventurous summer. I rated it a three because some things were a little on the border of my moral standards, such as a 13-yr-old going out with a boy and kissing him like 10 times, and some taking the Lord's name in vain, nothing too descriptive or shocking but I still didn't like it. Once the kissing started happening, I didn't find the silly teen romance intriguing or exciting, it was really rather boring and unneccesary to the plot. Other than that, I like ...more
I have been wanting to read this book for awhile. I mean, just look at the title, it is like a mirror for the many chapters of my life. Definitely my thoughts as I would enter my classroom door each morning, look around and then prepare for my day, and pretty much my thoughts as I wake up and when I return home after a day of grad school life and the balancing act that it is. So, it is summer, so I read it and really enjoyed it. Granted I tend to enjoy all books that are written in a journal sty ...more
Lana Jackson
This story is 13-year-old Mary Lou Finney's summer journal. The setting is during the time-period before remote-controlled television. The journal details her relationships with her family, her cousin, Carl Ray, and her friends.

I liked the summary of Homer's Odyssey that Mary Lou included as she read through it over the summer.

I also liked the tone of the story, the family interactions, and Mary Lou's visit with Carl Ray's family in West Virginia. During this visit, she experiences life without
Steve Clark
Another winner from Sharon Creech. A follow up to "Walk Two Moons", we hear the story of thirteen-year old Mary Lou Finney's summer through the journal she must complete as an English assignment. At the opening, she says "I don't know what I am. I am waiting to find out."
At the end (and I don't think this is too much of a spoiler here) she reflects "How could a person like me go along and go along, feeling just the same from day to day, and then all of a sudden look back and see that I didn't
This book was good. Mary Lou learned a lot over the summer bnecause of her cousin visiting. Carl Ray made her realize that you shouldn't judge a person by what they look like or some things they do. Carl Ray actually turned out to be a nice person but because he seemed different to her she decided he was wierd. All through her journal she writes about how horribole Carl Ray is. She learns her lesson by almost literally putting herself in Carl Ray's shoes. When she went with him to visit her aunt ...more
Mary Lou Finney is less than thrilled when she finds out her assignment over the summer is to keep a journal, nothing interesting ever happens anyway. For her, it turns out to be a summer of chaos with her best friend trying to steal her boyfriend Alex, who happens to be the cutest guy in class, and her friend decides to use Mary Lou's cousin Carl Ray to try to make Alex jealous. Mary Lou isn't so happy about that because he wasn't supposed to stay with them over the summer. She also finds plent ...more
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book seris 10 19 Oct 21, 2011 05:38PM  
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I was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and grew up there with my noisy and rowdy family: my parents (Ann and Arvel), my sister (Sandy), and my three brothers (Dennis, Doug and Tom).
For a fictional view of what it was like growing up in my family, see Absolutely Normal Chaos. (In that book, the brothers even have the same names as my own brothers.) Our house was not only full of
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“Then I thought, boy, isn't that just typical? You wait and wait and wait for something, and then when it happens, you feel sad.” 454 likes
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