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Runaround Hardcover – March 1, 2007
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
"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!
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sassy is only 11 but she can't wait to grow up and be noticed by boys. Especially since her older sister Lula seems to attract the kind of attention Sassy wants. Read morePublished on August 13, 2009 by Cynthia Hudson
Helen Hemphill's RUNAROUND is the story of a girl trying to find her way to the world of adulthood. She doesn't have much help: her father is apparently grieving the death of his... Read morePublished on November 15, 2007 by Tracy Barrett