PW10 Orca US Logo

Please log in to your Orca Book Publishers account.
Once logged in, your shopping cart will be saved if you need to leave the site before completing checkout. Your shipping addresses and discount codes will also be saved for future visits.

Search Orca Book Publishers
  • An African Alphabet
  • Wolf Island

Three Little Words
By author: Sarah N. Harvey
Selling Points: family, mental illness, coming of age
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Oct/01/2012
Pages: 224
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $14.95
Bookmark and Share

Sixteen-year-old Sid barely remembers his birth mother and has no idea who his father was. Raised on an idyllic island by loving foster parents, Sid would be content to stay there forever, drawing, riding his bike, hanging out with his friend Chloe and helping out with Fariza, a newly arrived foster child. But when a stranger named Phil arrives on the island with disturbing news about his birth family—including a troubled younger brother—Sid leaves all that is familiar to help find the sibling he didn't know existed.

What he discovers is a family fractured by mental illness, but also united by strong bonds of love and compassion. As Sid searches for his brother, gets to know his grandmother, and worries about meeting his biological mother, he realizes that there will never be a simple answer to the question, Am I my brother's keeper?
Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON) - December 17, 2013
"Realistic, moving, and paints a wonderful picture of nontraditional families."
Library Media Connection - May 1, 2013
"A moving story about the bonds of family...This is a highly engaging, high interest novel that addresses tough family issues. The reader easily empathizes with Sid as he grapples with tough decisions."
Sal's Fiction Addiction blog - February 17, 2013
"The characters are wonderful and well-drawn...Chloe's exuberance is a perfect foil to Sid's need for peace and quiet daily. She provides a bit of needed humor along the way. Each has a unique voice and plays an important role in the unfolding drama...The setting itself seems like a character that soothes with a peaceful calm that envelops those living there. Families come in all shapes, and this book is testament to that."
TriState YA Book Review Committee - January 1, 2013
"An absolute gem of a book about what makes a family a family as well as friendship, love, tolerance and so much more...As a coming-of-age book, this is a winner...Highly recomended."
Resource Links - December 1, 2012
"Harvey does a good job crafting her characters. Sid is believable as a loner artist with a soft-spot for the downtrodden."
Booklist - December 1, 2012
"Harvey does a beautiful job balancing the story's many plot threads, while creating realistic, compelling characters. Identity, mental illness, social security (and insecurity), racial concerns, and recovery from trauma are all themes that surface throughout the novel without ever overwhelming the strong, skillfully told story."
VOYA - December 1, 2012
"Harvey's expert pacing of Sid's story is slowly hypnotic. Her characterization is top notch. She patiently reveals their personalities. Chloe, in particular, is a delightful supporting character who adds power to the novel. These characters are well constructed, uniquely defined by their actions and speech, and eminently engaging. Harvey does not shy away from the reality of difficult situations and faithfully depicts Devi's mental illness, Wain's troubled existence, and Fariza’s thaw from the chilling events that brought her to Sid’s life. An excellent read, put this book in the hands of fans of Louis Sacher's Holes."
Publishers Weekly - September 24, 2012
"A quiet but moving story about the different forms family can take...16-year-old Sid has grown up happily with foster parents on an island of Canada's west coast, an evocative setting that Harvey (Death Benefits) paints with care."
Kirkus Reviews - September 15, 2012
"Appealing, original characters—especially Sid, eccentric but high-functioning—are a strong suit...Harvey portrays parental mental illness and the long-term effects of childhood trauma with compassionate insight."
YALSA YA Galley Teen Review - August 21, 2012
"Because of its great characters this story is multidimensional, realistic, and human, yet also relatable, optimistic, and bright."


CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2013
TriState YA Review Group Book of Note, commended  US  2013
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, commended  US  2013
Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize nominee, short-listed  CA  2013
Stellar Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2014

Ebooks available from the following retailers:


You might also be interested in:

Death Benefits
SKU:  2262
Format: Paperback

Add Death Benefits to Cart

The Lit Report
SKU:  9051
Format: Paperback

Add The Lit Report to Cart

Spirit Level
SKU:  8164x
Format: Paperback

Add Spirit Level to Cart

Your Cart


YA Fiction

Compelling teen fiction
for at-level readers

Key Features:
Award-winning stories
Compelling characters

Teaching Resources:
Accelerated Reader
Lexile levels
Curriculum Connections


Discounts Available for:

See the full list of YA Fiction.