The Mostly True Story of Jack
By Kelly Barnhill
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780316056700, 336pp.)
Publication Date: August 2011
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Enter a world where magic bubbles just below the surface. . . .
When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his strange aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for quite 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 an eerie 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.
Kelly Barnhill is a poet and writer who also wrote The Witch's Boy and Iron Hearted Violet. The Mostly True Story of Jack, her debut novel, received four starred reviews. Kelly lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.
* "Truly splendid...the ultimate
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Suspense builds steadily, with twists and surprises woven throughout, and friendship emerges as a powerful theme....Barnhill explores the struggle between good and evil and the power of love and sacrifice, creating a provocative and highly original mystery."—Publishers Weekly, 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."—Booklist, starred review
* "A compelling story with genuine characters and a deliciously creepy atmosphere. The suspense builds from the very first page...This delightful story will captivate readers with its blend of magic, mystery, and adventure."—VOYA, starred review
"There's a dry wit and playfulness to Barnhill's writing that recalls Lemony Snicket and Blue Balliett...a delightfully unusual gem."—The Los Angeles Times
"Richly atmospheric, this folklorically flavored tale offers a strangely pleasing combination of midwestern charm and hauntingly creepy Tim Burton-like imagination. Barnhill reveals just enough of Hazelwood's many secrets to keep the readers gripped, and the perfectly timed pacing makes for a quick and accessible read."—The Bulletin