Looking for True
Margaret Ferguson Books
Published November 1, 2022
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About Looking for True
When two unlikely friends bond over shared compassion for a bereft but lovable dog, they learn what it truly means to find a sense of belonging and identity.
11-year-olds Gladys and Jude live in the same small, rust belt town, and go to the same school, but they are definitely not friends. Gladys is a tiny, eccentric, walking dictionary who doesn’t hesitate to express herself, while Jude likes to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. But they both agree that a new dog in the neighborhood is being mistreated by its owner.
Gladys would like to do something to help while Jude is more resigned to the situation until the dog (who Gladys has named True Blue) disappears. They hatch a plan to find her and once they do, realize they have a problem: Gladys’s father is allergic and Jude’s mother hates dogs. There is no way they can bring her home. They hide True Blue in an abandoned house on the edge of town, but as their ties to the dog–and to one another–deepen, so does the impossibility of keeping such a big secret. Yet giving True up will break all three of their hearts.
Told in alternating voices set in a small, rust-belt town, LOOKING FOR TRUE is a story about family, identity, and finding friends in unexpected places.
Last year I read THE MOST PERFECT THING IN THE UNIVERSE by Tricia Springstubb, and absolutely adored it. So when I saw that she had a new middle grade title coming out this year, I immediately added it to my to-be-read list.
LOOKING FOR TRUE is different than I expected. In a couple of scenes the story hints at animal abuse. It’s heartbreaking to read the scenes where True (or Pookie) cowers, expecting to be hit. There are no scenes showing her being harmed, though, which I appreciated.
I liked the way that Gladys and Jude’s friendship developed. It’s halting and sometimes strained, but ultimately, they find ways to connect. And as that connection strengthens, they begin building the kind of friendship that can see you through all sorts of disasters. Which is great, because there are definitely some disasters they face in this book!
The story has a small town vibe, which I love. I also liked that both Gladys and Jude had complicated relationships with their parents. Gladys loves a lot of things about her mom, but she’s beginning to see some hard truths, too. I liked that while the story isn’t about those relationships, they aren’t simple or canned.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book a lot. If you are a fan of sweet dog stories, definitely add LOOKING FOR TRUE to your reading list.
Content Notes for Looking for True
References to and hints about animal abuse.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Gladys is adopted out of foster care.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
In a couple scenes, adults threaten to hit a dog. It’s clear from the dog’s reaction that she’s been abused. Jude’s mom is hyper critical of him in some scenes, shaming him for not performing better at school or for not keeping a closer eye on his brother.
One characters smokes cigarettes. Jude’s mother drinks beer.
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