True (...sort of)
by Katherine Hannigan
Greenwillow Books, Publisher (2011)
Review copy from McArthur Public Library
(description from publisher) True: Delly Pattison likes surpresents (presents that are a surprise). The day the Boyds come to town, Delly's sure a special surpresent is on its way. But lately, everything that she thinks will be good and fun turns into trouble. She's never needed a surpresent more than now.
True: Brud Kinney wants to play basketball like nothing anybody's ever seen. When the Boyds arrive, though, Brud meets someone who plays like nothing he's ever seen.
True: Ferris Boyd isn't like anyone Delly or Brud have ever met. Ferris is a real mysturiosity (an extremely curious mystery).
True: Katherine Hannigan's first novel since her acclaimed Ida B is a compelling look at the ways friendships and truths are discovered.
It's all true ( . . . sort of).
The truth about this delightful book is that you are going to fall in love with Delly! On the surface she seems to be just another fast talking mischief maker. But after you read a few pages of this delightful book you'll discover that Delly really has a good heart. It just that sometimes her really good heart leads her down the wrong path. By 11, she has pretty much given up on ever meeting her family's expectations and if things don't turn around, it's pretty certain that she'll be heading to a specialized school for troubled children. It's the arrival of an unwanted "surpresent" (in the form of Ferris Boyd) that really starts to turn Delly around. Delly is quirky, funny, and sensitive all at the same time. I loved her made up words (a dictionary is included) and her quest for adventure...I mean "dellyventure".
I felt that every single character in this book rings true. In Delly, we see how it feels to be labeled the trouble maker. In her siblings, RB and Galveston, we get a picture of what's like to live with a alleged "trouble maker". Including characters such as Ferris and Brud offer a window into the feelings of kids who are different. Along with the cast of adult characters who mean well but don't always get it right, Hannigan writes flawed characters which readers can easily relate to . I think her message that our flaws don't have to define who we were are or what we can become is an important one for readers to see. Our flawsa are what make us unique and can often times be the vehicle for helping someone else see outside of their situation to see the perspective of others.
True (...sort of) is a book that deals with several important themes and issues - bullying, muteness, abuse, friendship, and family which would make it a great read aloud for a middle grade classroom.
An interview with author Katherine Hannigan:
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