True (... Sort Of)

Katherine Hannigan. Greenwillow, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-196873-0
A serious story about child abuse gets lost in Hannigan's (Ida B) overlong novel that too often crosses the line from quirky to twee. After a childhood clashing with her parents, school, and police for offenses ranging from self-harm to brownie theft, 11-year-old Delaware Pattison is one strike from being sent to some unspecified "away." The fifth of six children (all named after places), Delly, as she's known, needs more attention from her working parents. Instead she latches onto new girl Ferris, who has an androgynous appearance, does not speak, and cannot be touched. Despite these hurdles, Delly makes Ferris her project. Delly has an extensive vocabulary of made-up words like chizzle and hideawaysis (a three-page glossary is appended), which gives her a cartoonish quality that is an uneasy fit with the gravity of the underlying plot. Many questions are left unanswered: where is Ferris's mother? why do teachers accept that Ferris cannot talk or be touched without further inquiry? After a lengthy setup, the ending feels rushed, dulling the impact of its important message about speaking up when someone is in danger. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-207723-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211127-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211128-9
Library Binding - 360 pages - 978-0-06-196874-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-06-196875-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-3249-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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