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As if her parents' divorce and sister's departure for college weren't bad enough, fourteen-year-old Ricky Bloom has just been diagnosed with a life-changing chronic illness. Her days consist of cursing everyone out, skipping school--which has become a nightmare--daydreaming about her crush, Julio, and trying to keep her parents from realizing just how bad things are. But she can't keep her ruse up forever. Ricky's afraid, angry, alone, and one suspension away from repeating ninth grade when she realizes: she can't be held back. She'll do whatever it takes to move forward--even if it means changing the person she's become. Lured out of her funk by a quirky classmate, Oliver, who's been there too, Ricky's porcupine exterior begins to shed some spines. Maybe asking for help isn't the worst thing in the world. Maybe accepting circumstances doesn't mean giving up.
After moving to Colorado, deaf seventeen-year-old Maya is forced to attend a hearing school, where she must navigate a new life and prove that her lack of hearing will not stop her from pursuing her dreams.
Moss Jeffries is many things--considerate student, devoted son, loyal friend and affectionate boyfriend, enthusiastic nerd. But sometimes Moss still wishes he could be someone else--someone without panic attacks, someone whose father was still alive, someone who hadn't become a rallying point for a community because of one horrible night. And most of all, he wishes he didn't feel so stuck. Moss can't even escape at school--he and his friends are subject to the lack of funds and crumbling infrastructure at West Oakland High, as well as constant intimidation by the resource officer stationed in their halls. That was even before the new regulations--it seems sometimes that the students are treated more like criminals. Something will have to change--but who will listen to a group of teens? When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes again, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.
What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when a label like that gets attached to your everyday experiences? To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there's no single definition of crazy, there's no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things--wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?--to different people. In (Don't) Call Me Crazy, thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore a wide range of topics: their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and don't talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person's brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy. If you've ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages . . . and let's get talking.
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