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Runaround Hardcover – March 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Set in 1960s Falls of Rough, KY, this story chronicles the heartbreak of 11-year-old Sassy Thompkins. Desperate for romance à la her trashy magazine Love Confessions, Sassy chases after local bad boy Boon Chisholm, ignoring signs that her older sister, Lula, may be Boon's target. Sassy and Lula uncover Boon's philandering ways as they discover that their mother, believed dead, actually fled to California after frequent extramarital affairs. Disturbing is the best word for this novel. All stereotypes about Kentucky weddings aside, having Sassy's father call her a "tart" and no better than her mother creates a jarring picture of developing femininity for readers of Sassy's age. Sassy and her sister are violent, selfish, and barely likable, and the family forgiveness scene at the end of the novel can't be believed, given the characters' former antagonisms. Sidebars at the beginning of each chapter, presumably from Sassy's magazines, give advice that shows women to be scheming and empty headed. "Keep him guessing and never tell him what you're really feeling. That's how to snag a man." The kicker comes when Boon faces Sassy and says, "You're one hell of a kisser….I'm just not attracted to you." The plot hinges on clichéd depictions of girls, deleterious to readers of any age. Better books for love-swept readers include Carol Lynch Williams's My Angelica and Mavis Jukes's Cinderella 2000 (both Delacorte, 1999).—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "He would walk right in the door, take her in his arms, and tell her he loved her and couldn't live one more second without her." Motherless Stasy, 11, has a crush on gorgeous Boon. She dreams that he wants to kiss her, and she's angry that he's really kissing her mean, magazine-pretty older sister, Lula. With Mama dead and Daddy preoccupied with his small tobacco plot in 1960s Kentucky, Stasy has no one to talk to, except the kind housekeeper, who lectures her about acting like a nice young lady. It's not sex Stasy needs to know about (everyone learned about that in health class). She wants to know how to handle falling in love, so she turns to the Love Confessions magazines she sneaks home from Methodist church camp, which are filled with dreamy quotes about flowers and candlelight. The story is laugh-out-loud funny, but it is also a timeless tale of anger, grief, and love, with surprising twists in plot and character that will break your heart. The sisters' realistic relationship challenges formula. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street, Incorporated; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,059,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Set in the 1960s, RUNAROUND is the story of Sassy, an aptly-named young girl growing up in Kentucky. Sassy's got a tendency to speak her mind, especially when fighting with her beautiful older sister Lula, and she will kick and scream if she doesn't get her way. Even though she's an opinionated spitfire, she'll never admit how lonely she feels.

"I just want to know about boys! I don't have a mama to talk to! How else am I going to find out things if nobody tells me?"

Sassy wants to know what love truly is, but who can she talk to about boys? Her mama passed away when she was just a baby, and she hasn't any close friends. The two adults in her life are her daddy, who is hard-working but sometimes gruff, and Miss Dallas, who looks after the girls while their father is working. She sets her eye on Boon, a boy closer to her sister's age, determined to make him her boyfriend. After all, he did smile and tell her:

"You got a good heart, Sassy girl."

Due out in March and geared towards ages 8 and up, RUNAROUND by Helen Hemphill will draw readers in from page one. I could see Sassy running around that little town of hers as clear as day. She reminded me a great deal of Addie, the leading little lady from the novel Addie Pray, better known as the film Paper Moon. Sassy's spunk may get her in trouble with Daddy, but it also will win the hearts of readers. What an absolutely adorable story!
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Format: Hardcover
Miss Dallas takes care of 11-year-old Sassy and her beautiful older sister Lula. She runs their household and is a sort of mother figure as their own mother died of cancer soon after Sassy was born, or so the family story goes.

Sassy reads 'Love Confessions' magazine. Her father is reserved and never talks about their mother so she questions Miss Dallas about romance and her parents' relationship. "You're in love with love," Miss Dallas tells her,and indeed, that is the heart of this jewel of a story.

Snips of advice and passages from Sassy's magazines begin many of the chapters. When Sassy encounters handsome Boon Chisholm at the grocery store she develops a head over heels crush on him even though he is much older than her and is from the wrong side of the social tracks.

There are some wonderfully funny and painful moments as Sassy and Lula learn about guys and life. You do not want to get into a haircut fight with these sisters.

Hemphill evokes the time, 1964, and place, Falls of Rough, Kentucky, beautifully. Cherry Cokes-to-go are served in paper cups, screen doors slam and Elvis sings on the record player. The details are part of the story and never forced. The cover art is an old Benday dot style, romance comic illustration.

Sassy and Lula, their father, Miss Dallas and even the feckless Boon are characters the reader cares about. In their own way all the players in this story are sorting out their lives and hoping for relationships that give meaning to life. (It is nice to see a story with a loving father too.)

I think middle schoolers will find much that resonates in this sweet sweet story.
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Format: Hardcover
Sassy has a crush on Boon Chisholm. Sure, Sassy's much younger than Boon, and she's a big tomboy, and this is her first crush, but Sassy is very confident. She knows Boon loves her; she just has to help him figure it out. Then they can live happily ever after together, not to mention make Sassy's older sister, Lula, jealous. Unfortunately, Sassy doesn't know much about love. In fact, she knows pretty much nothing about love. So she'll just have to find out.

Sassy's mama died when she was a baby, so that's one less person to ask. Daddy hardly talks to her at all, so that's not an option. Miss Dallas, their nanny/housekeeper, is an old maid - what can she know about love? The only good source is Lula. Lula has a bunch of boyfriends, and plenty of kissing experience. Too bad they can't seem to keep from beating on each other long enough to have a real conversation.

Sassy might just have to figure this one out on her own.

Sassy's explorations of love and self are both painful and funny to experience. These are some hard things to learn, when no one seems to want to or be able to help. Sassy learns that love comes in lots of different forms and expressions. And sometimes, more often than anyone would like, love and heartbreak come hand in hand.

Reviewed by: Carrie Spellman
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