True (. . . Sort Of)

by Katherine Hannigan
368 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by bookRacoon

Long, meaningful read about friendships.


A story of how accidental troublemaker Delly Pattison, stuttering Brud Kinney, and little RB all make a friend in the sad Ferris Boyd. A tale of how friendships are made, and how they truly are blessings for life.


Delly is one of the biggest troublemakers in town: at first, she doesn't mean to be, but after everyone telling her that she's bad, she starts believing it and not caring so much. When she makes her mom cry, though, she renews her efforts to behave, and by the end of the story she's learned how to avoid trouble.

One character is abused to the point where she no longer speaks and is terrified when other people touch her. This is not condoned, and it is implied that the issue is resolved by the end.

RB (Delly's little brother) and Delly become some of the best friends Ferris has. They stick up for one another very admirably. Brud also gives up playing basketball with the popular children when one of them makes fun of Ferris.

Spiritual Content

The Pattison's go to church on Sundays, but God is not mentioned at any other time.


Ferris' dad apparently beat her back so many times that Delly sees ugly purple scars and has to throw up.

Delly (before she starts wanting to change) gets in fights with just about everybody, using her fists rather than her words to negotiate.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

Delly invents the Nocussictionary, with words like "bawlgrammit" and "chizzle." The point of it was so that she wouldn't get in trouble for saying those words, but grownups still don't like it very much.


I am better off as a person for reading this book. It has a nice story of four kids and how they become friends with one another, and how their friendship saves each others' lives - emotionally and, in Ferris' case, physically. A rather long read, but worth it.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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