Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: True (...sort of)

by Katherine Hannigan
HarperCollins (April 2011)
Ages 8-12

Delly Pattison is about as likeable a troublemaker as they come. She's irrepressibly curious, passionate and, unfortunately, a bit lacking in self control. (Naturally, I took to this kid right away.) She's got a plan to stay out of trouble by attaching herself to the new girl, Ferris Boyd, as it seems that the air doesn't stir much around Ferris.

In fact, Ferris, who doesn't speak and cannot be touched, is such a mystery to Delly that she decides to take the new girl on as a project, following her into the woods to see where she disappears and, ultimately, devoting herself to protecting Ferris from unknown peril. Ferris also draws the interest of a Brud Kinney who mistakes Ferris for a boy and is enamored of "his" deft basketball skills.

There's clearly something wrong with Ferris and her home situation, but what happens there is not revealed until the very end. Delly's story is so lighthearted and entertaining, and Ferris is carrying such a dark secret, that the shift at the end felt almost too much. I wish it had been integrated earlier.

There's a whole community feel to Hannigan's novel, with lives intermingling, separating and colliding. For the most part, she pulls this off quite nicely; however, the shifts in point-of-view are often so sudden and random that, for me, it sometimes becomes a jumble of head hopping. I wish the story had kept to Delly's point of view, and maybe Brud's, but the others' thoughts intruded on the flow just enough to be a distraction. 

Even with my quibbles, this story has stayed with me, and that tells me there's a lot to recommend here. It's worth reading for the voice of Delly alone, and the lovely way Hannigan introduces readers to a character who, without saying a word, says a lot more than most.

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice review Grier. And I love your observation that you took to the character immediately - that was my morning smile! I'm going to have a look at this one because of your assessment of the voice. Thanks.