When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his crazy aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for a long time...
When he arrives, three astonishing things happen: First, he makes friends - not imaginary friends but actual friends. Second, he is beaten up by the town bully; the bullies at home always ignored him. Third, the richest man in town begins to plot Jack's imminent, and hopefully painful, demise. It's up to Jack to figure out why suddenly everyone cares so much about him. Back home he was practically, well, invisible.
The Mostly True Story of Jack is a tale of magic, friendship, and sacrifice. It's about things broken and things put back together. Above all, it's about finding a place to belong.
Ultimately this story is about relationships - the true meanings of friendship and family - and the sacrifices people make in the name of love and connection. And Kelly Barnhill widens the definition of these relationships and the way they all come together to create community - friends and family, yes, but also animals, and the landscape. The Almost True Story of Jack is spooky, funny and, finally, heartwarming in its own amazing and strange way. It is a suspenseful read, great for anyone who wants a fast-paced, unusual mystery to solve. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
The Los Angeles Times
There's a dry wit and playfulness to Barnhill's writing that recalls Lemony Snicket and Blue Balliett... a delightfully unusual gem.
Starred Review. Truly splendid... the ultimate page-turner.
Starred Review. Suspense builds steadily, with twists and surprises woven throughout, and friendship emerges as a powerful theme.... Barnhill creat[es] a provocative and highly original mystery.
This delightful story will captivate readers with its blend of magic, mystery, and adventure.
Starred Review. Wonderful in the best possible way: filled with wonders and magic, yes, but magic that is ancient, numinous, and tied to the natural world... Barnhill's first novel for children is a marvel of both plotting and characterization, and it provides a foundation for the omnipresent magic that elevates this title to the first rank of contemporary children's literature.
The Funny, Frightening, Lyrical, Odd, and Very Talented Kelly Barnhill
Kelly Barnhill is a very cool person. I don't know her personally, but you can just tell about some people.
She is a mother of three, a teacher, and a writer (and probably a million other things too). She has written poetry and short stories for adults, non-fiction books for children and, now, her first middle grade debut novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack. As she has said, "I write fiction and nonfiction - things that are Literary and Speculative and Informative and Funny and Frightening and Lyrical and Odd. Sometimes, I do all of these things at once."
Kelly is a writer's writer. "...My life is built on books. I read books, and think about books, and talk about books. In my house, the books mingle, multiply and conquer. There are cities of books, regions and empires. They crowd and compete for space, they swallow resources and build teetering towers that stretch...
'An electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons.... a real bedtime-buster'. Read an exclusive excerpt at BookBrowse today. Reading age approx. 9 yrs +.
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