By: Kelly Barnhill
Curriculum Subjects: Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Magic; Character Development: Friendship
Grade: 3 – 7
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.
★ “Truly splendid…the ultimate page-turner.” –Kirkus
★ “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
★ “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
★ “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