Summary: Rescued from a neglectful mother by a couple named Megan and Caleb when he was just two years old, Sid has grown up in stable, loving environment. Sid’s new parents foster others as well, and over the years he has been a big brother and a little brother to many other children and teens. While his turmoil over his past comes out in his drawings, Sid seems to give little thought to his birth mother, until a man named Phil shows up one day to tell him she has disappeared. Turns out Sid has a half brother named Gawain who ran away shortly after their mother’s disappearance, and Phil is hoping Sid can help find him. Sid’s world is turned upside-down as he is asked to accommodate family members he never knew existed, and Sid is left to decide who he wants his true family to be.
Number of Pages: 218
Age Range: 13-15
Review: Up to the third Sarah N. Harvey book I’ve ever read, and every time she tugs on my heartstrings with her memorable characters and profound understanding of family.
I love the parts about Sid’s artwork and Sid and Farizi working together to make a comic book that tells about Farizi’s adventures. Their connection is simply lovely to read about, because Sid instinctually knows how her trust needs to be gained slowly. Farizi is given the time she needs to work out her personal trauma and finds her voice again.
And just when it appears Wien is unredeemable, Harvey shows us his heart. Struggling with his own bad memories, he too connects with Farizi and feels so bad for her he wants to help. I loved the ritual they all performed, writing down the terrible moments in their lives and burning them in a fire, mostly because it wasn’t about gawking at the specific tragedies, it was about each of them owning up to themselves and moving on.
Sid is a character I connected with for a couple of reasons. He needs his alone time to recharge, and he is able lose himself in his drawing so completely. Everyone needs something to ground them, that they excel at, and for Sid, it’s art.
But while there were several beautiful moments that I just enjoyed, what I loved most was Harvey’s theme – the notion that sometimes we do choose our family. Sid’s is eclectic, and by having so many people involved in his family, Sid has many people to turn to when he needs them most. Plus, it wouldn’t be a Harvey book if there wasn’t a incredibly cool and lively older person involved. Three Little Words has two.
It’s a book for early to mid teens, slower paced but altogether wonderful.
“‘What’s that about?’ Sid says to no one in particular. He’s used to Chloe’s emotional storms – they’ve been friends forever – but lately she often seems on edge or angry or upset. He wants to ask why, but he know better than to ask a question when he’s afraid of the answer. He has learned the hard way that nothing stays the same, no matter how much he wants it to.” – Sid from Three Little Words by Sarah N. Harvey, page 11
“‘You are so bossy,’ Sid says.
‘That’s what you love about me,’ Chloe replies. ‘Now get going.’
It’s true, he thinks as he gets her bike from the garage, I do love that about her. That and a lot of other things. She always knows what to do and say: Let’s make a fort, Sid. Let’s go to the lake. Don’t step in the dog shit. Keep your fingers out of the cookie dough. Do my nails. Get me my bike. He wonders if it’s a bad thing that he like being ordered around.” – Sid reflecting on his friendship with Chloe from Three Little Words by Sarah N. Harvey, page 191
“She nudges Sid, who continues to stare silently at Devi. She’s so small, he thinks. So helpless. So – he searches for the right word – fragile. Like a robin’s egg that has dropped from a nest. There is nothing about that screams Mother or monster. Nothing at all.” – Sid from Three Little Words by Sarah N. Harvey, page 213