Helen Hemphill

11-year-old Sassy knows about love  from True Confessions, but she wants more details.

“Sassy spoke louder than she meant to. “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?”

Everything 11-year-old Sassy knows about love comes from romance magazines. But now that hse has her eye on her handsome neighbor, Boon, she wants more details. Only nobody will talk to her, not her widowed father or her never-married housekeeper, worst of all, her gorgeous sister, Lula, who has more boyfriends than she can shake a stick at. When Lula set up Sassy for an embarrassing moment, Sassy vows revenge: she will make Boon her boyfriend and  show Lula a thing or two in the process.

  • Ages: 11 - 14
  • Grades: 6 - 9
  • Pages: 118

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Recent Reviews

7 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.


7 At once heartbreaking and desperately funny, this story is much more than a tale of young romance gone sour. Hemphill explores the bonds of family and resiliency of the human spirit despite pain and loss.

—Library Media Connection

Deft comic pacing and snappy dialogue make this a gem of Southern storytelling.

—Kirkus Reviews

[A]nother Southern storytelling gem with attention to regional voice and vivid period details. ...The author also manages to capture the immediacy of tween emotions. ...Readers will want to give Sassy a big ol' hug.


Hemphill credibly portrays Sassy's frustration at being 11, her desire to grow up, and her feelings of betrayal towards Lulu [her sister].

—Publishers Weekly

Eleven-year-old Sassy is trying to figure out how to get a boy to like her. In her quest for love (and to prove herself to her smug older sister), she tries to make Boon, the cutest bad boy in town, her boyfriend. The typical characters and uninspired plot lack sparkle, but the leisurely pace and Southern dialect set a vivid scene.

—Horn Book Guide

Honors for Runaround

  • Best New Books for the Classroom—Book Links
  • Top Ten Romance Books for Youth —Booklist