Mostly the Honest Truth
Mostly the Honest Truth
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Annotation: Sent to another foster home when her father returns to rehab, Jane discovers that family is more than just relatives and that home can be found in unlikely places.
Catalog Number: #173256
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 263 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-06-285249-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-285249-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018948779
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Jane Pengilly is no stranger to the foster care system, but Pop always pulls himself together in rehab so they end up back together as "matching socks." This time, Jane goes with the closest person she has as a mother figure, Officer D, to Three Boulders, Oregon, where the population is a minuscule 56. After the initial shock in seeing how quiet and insular the alcohol-free town is, Jane becomes close with Gertie, a fellow precocious 11-year-old. Gertie introduces Jane to the town's various longstanding institutions, including a town-wide softball tournament, attempts to break established records, and the town's elderly owner, Old Red. Just as Jane is hiding the real reason her hand got severely burnt the night before Pop went back to rehab, she finds that the adults in town are keeping their own secrets. With Christian overtones and a closeted queer character, Little's debut can feel dated. However, readers will be drawn to Jane's distinct voice and may even pick up on the twist coming at the end.
Kirkus Reviews
Jane Pengilly has a lot on her plate: a dad in rehab, her badly burned hand, and a police officer/foster mom whose home is a most unusual community.Jane, 11, figures she can handle just about anything for the 12 days it will take Pop to clear alcohol rehab—and her fourth stint in foster care. While Officer D isn't bad as foster moms go, there's no TV in the rustic cabin or anywhere else at Three Boulders, a community of 56 adults and children in the Oregon woods. The food's terrific, though Jane would still rather be longboarding with Pop. She bonds with Gertie Biggs, also 11, who tells her the boulders represent redemption, forgiveness, and community. If so, why are the property's nonagenarian owner and adult residents keeping secrets? No fan of school, Jane's intrigued by this one, which features nature study and garden maintenance, but reuniting with Pop remains her priority. Ignoring her worsening injury, assertive Jane persuades Gertie, 12-year-old Loam, and his tiny, mute, artistic 15-year-old sister, Dandy, to help her get to Pop. Some plot elements feel only just sketched-out, and the swift resolution leaves vital threads dangling. This debut's strength is its sympathetic, believable child characters—especially stubborn, likable Jane, an original who grounds and recenters the story when it threatens to strain credulity. The book adheres to the white default.Celebrating collective along with individual action, this upbeat tale portrays a hero's journey that takes a community to complete. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
At the opening of Little-s first novel, 11-year-old Jane Pengilly is on her way to her fourth foster home, her burned hand hurts, and her alcoholic father is in rehab yet again-and she misses him deeply. Officer D, a police officer and her short-term foster mother, takes her to -boonieville,- also known as Three Boulders, an isolated Oregon town with strict rules (and no television) where -Redemption. Forgiveness. Community- is the motto. It-s a remote area, very different from Jane-s usual suburban placements, but what-s most upsetting is that Jane doesn-t know why she-s there, aside from waiting out her father-s latest rehab stint, and the adults hold their secrets close. She remembers her father -holding my arm and mumbling mishmash words- on the kitchen floor, then a hospital stay. While Jane makes new friends, she counts down the days until she can go home, craving a return to normalcy. The plot feels a bit thin in places, but Jane-s tough-minded attitude and convincingly portrayed stress and separation anxiety will capture readers- attention as she gradually heals and uncovers the truth about her family. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
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ALA Booklist (12/1/18)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 45,985
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 503395 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.3 / points:13.0 / quiz:Q76891
Lexile: HL700L
Guided Reading Level: V

A pitch-perfect story exploring the many meanings of family, Jody J. Little’s tough yet tender debut is perfect for fans of Leslie Connor and Katherine Paterson.

After Pop is sent back to rehab, Jane Pengilly arrives at her newest foster home determined to stick to the straight and narrow and get back to her beloved dad as soon as she can. It’s not the first time they’ve been apart, but Jane’s determined it will be the last.

Twelve days out in the boonies of Three Boulders makes Jane miss Pop more than ever. But as the days go by, she realizes that family is more than who you’re related to—and that a home can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

Mostly the Honest Truth sparkles with a fully realized supporting cast, a safe and supporting setting, and a writer whose ability to imbue her stories with love and hope marks her an author to watch.

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