Friday, August 19, 2011

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

The Mostly True Story of JackReading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 2, 2011)
Language: English

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.

My take: Jack is a forgettable character. Even his family forgets about him. There is, however, an aunt and uncle who never forget about him. Although He feels like he's nothing special, he's actually an integral part of the community that he steps into. No one seems to want to discuss the secrets of the town or why he is so interesting but his Uncle Clive leaves clues around for him to find so he can start to remember.

The story is easy to read and age appropriate for a latency age boy. I will give this book to my son. Although I didn't love the story and found that many of the mysteries were left unanswered, Barnhill is a master at telling a story. Vocabulary is not too difficult but provides enough interest to keep the reader turning the pages. It is a well written fantasy book.

1 comment:

Sandra Stiles said...

This sounds like a book that my sixth graders might like. Thanks for the wonderful review. I'll add it to my TBR list.