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A Certain Strain of Peculiar

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  24 reviews
This is the last time Mary Harold will have a panic attack at school when kids call her "the grossest girl." If Mom won’t move back to Alabama, her thirteen-year-old daughter will just have to drive herself 691 miles to Grandma Ayma’s farmhouse — and a whole new life. With Ayma’s loving support, Mary Harold is soon strong enough to help Bud, the Cherokee farm manager, wran ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Candlewick (first published April 14th 2009)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Karen Ball
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-challenge
Arrived from Candlewick today, picked it up and got sucked in right off the bat. I had at least a dozen things I *should* have been doing at my desk, but that's what's great about being a media specialist. If I'm reading at my desk, I'm also doing part of my job! Review coming shortly...

Mary Harold has absolutely had it. Living in Virginia with her mother, she has panic attacks at school and gets bullied frequently. Mary decides she will never, ever be called "the grossest girl" ever again, and
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Mary Harold is peculiar: she's thirteen, is not quite sure who she is or who she wants to ne, she's frightened of her world to the extent that she gets panic attacks, she has no friends, and she comes from a family of women who have all done things there own way no matter who objects. There was so much in this story I liked. Dixie, the girl who is a horse, was fantastic. Mary's mother didn't impress me much, but she did seem to have her own problems to deal with. The representation of Mary's fam ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Steph for

Mary Harold Woods is peculiar. Because she is so peculiar, she is often picked on by her classmates, and she doesn't feel like she belongs in Virginia. However, there is one place that Mary Harold has always felt like she belongs: Wren, Alabama.

Wren is where her beloved Grandma, Ayma, lives. However, Mary Harold's mother, Tabitha (Bye), won't go back. So it's up to Mary Harold to somehow get to Wren so she can figure out who she is and where she belongs in t
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, novel, arc, southern
Ever since a misunderstanding in fourth grade, Mary Harold, now finishing sixth grade, has been teased to the point of being a total outcast in her school and causing her frequent panic attacks. She hides behind her long hair and a bulky sweater. She's decided that the solution is for her and her mom to move back to Wren, Alabama, the one place she thinks she can breath. When her mother refuses, 13-year-old Mary Harold steals her mom's truck and drives to Alabama anyway.

The events that follow ar
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Cricket is a 13 year old who thinks nothing of stealing her Mom's credit card and truck and driving almost 700 miles to her grandmother's home. She has been verbally abused by her classmates and feels that she cannot continue living in Virginia and would prefer to give up living with her Mom, a single parent, and live in Alabama with her grandmother in a very small town where everyone knows everything about you.

Cricket suffers from anxiety attacks and at times of high stress cannot breathe, howe
Erin Forson
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
A Certain Strain of Peculiar
by Gigi Amateau
Mary Harold Woods hopes that moving away from her small Virginia town and living with her Grandmother Ayma will give her a fresh start on life—a life that has labeled her as “the grossest girl” in her school and hometown. When her mother forbids it, Mary runs away to her grandmother in Wren, Alabama where she meets new challenges even harder than those she faced back in Virginia. Yet with the support of her community and her family, Mary Harold develops
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
A book about being who you want to be and getting a chance to start over. Mary Harold runs away to her grandmother's house where her mother allows her to stay thus giving Mary Harold her chance to start over. Which she does, first off she cuts her hair super short, so the cover is ruined for me. She also refuses to be bullied and she stands up for herself and her new best friend Dixie. I lost all of my sympathy for Mary Harold after the bus incident but Amateau does a decent job in the punishme ...more
Aug 18, 2009 added it
Shelves: read2009
Mary Harold has had enough of her school in Virginia. When her mother doesn't respond the way Mary wants, she drives to Wren, Alabama, to start over with her grandmother, Ayma. As she meets new friends and neighbors in town, and has her mother visit, she discovers her mom might still have a home in Wren, after all.[return][return]Mary learns about cattle, who she is, who she wants to be, all while adjusting to life in a new town. This is a great story of coming of age, learning who you are, and ...more
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this YA because of the setting - Lawrence County, AL is close to where I grew up and where I lived when I married. The places and attiudes were spot on in that regard - folks there were often a "certain strain of peculiar". Amateau has created a heroine that the reader can really get behind with Cricket - you're rooting for her from the first pages, and you really feel for her, Dixie, and the rest of the characters. A really quick, enjoyable read- I'm definitely going to read more ...more
First person narrative. Cricket is bullied and utterly silent. She wants to leave Tennessee and go to Wren Alabama to live with her grandmother in a safe place where she can find herself. Her mom does not understand Cricket's suffering and demurs so Cricket, gets into her mother's truck with a credit card and some cash and drives to Wren herself. Over the course of the next few months Cricket finds, her way, her place and her voice in Wren.

Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I would never have picked this up ordinarily, but I was stuck with nothing to read and this was the only thing within reach.
Anyway, it was actually very sweet and had lots of awesome things like a cow raising a baby deer, and a girl who thinks she's a horse, and another teenage girl who loves her body (I know! crazy!) and the best knitting circle of all time.
Infinite Reader
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I'm not usually the type of girl that enjoys horse stories or farm type books I decided to give this one a try and it was by far worth it.
It was beautifully written and perfectly described every detail of the story. I reccomend this book for everyone who is looking for a fabulous summer read.
Stephanie A.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I was desperately annoyed by the part where's she's mesmerized by her own breasts, and the girl obsessed with pretending to be a horse was a bit weird even by kid standards, but generally it was a sweet story.
An interesting coming-of-age tale about Mary Harold Woods who has recurring panic attacks at school and runs away to her grandmother's farm to try to find out just where she can fit in. Once there she changes her appearance, gets a little buff and finds a place to belong.

Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
A lovely freebie from the publisher. This book has been popping up alot on books that discuss bullying. A fairly simple read with obvious twists, this would be a great reading suggestion for a pre-teen.
Alesia Johnston
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book addressed problems about children in schools getting bullied for differences. i thought this book was good.
Jun 03, 2015 added it
This book with a blue cover was written by a Virginia author.

Find it at JMRL:
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
A solid coming-of-age, finding your way story about a girl who just wants be accepted for herself.
Ms. Yockey
Jun 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Just didn't like it.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! My friend and I read it in math class instead of doing work and you have to know it was good because my friend never reads but this she just flew right through.
Apr 08, 2009 added it
This turned out to be a really good book, even though it had a few minor flaws!! I was able to relate to the characters, most of the time
Jan 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. The story was slow and I didn't like or feel anything for the main character. Very disappointing.
Richmond Children's
rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2011
Mikayla Tewksbury
rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2012
Nicole Dreibelbeis
rated it liked it
Nov 30, 2009
Erin Eastin
rated it it was ok
Jun 15, 2009
Shannon Rochester
rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2012
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Gigi Amateau was born in northeastern Mississippi and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia, just outside of Richmond. Her first young adult novel, Claiming Georgia Tate (Candlewick Press, 2005), described as “a moving first offering” by School Library Journal, was selected as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, Voice of Youth Advocates Review Editor’s Choice, and a Book Sense Summer Pic ...more

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