The Mostly True Story of Jack
The Mostly True Story of Jack
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Annotation: Jack is practically invisible at home, but when his parents send him to Hazelwood, Iowa, to spend a summer with his odd aunt and uncle, he suddenly makes friends, is beaten up by the town bully, and is plotted against by the richest man in town.
Catalog Number: #72198
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2012
Pages: 319 pages
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-05672-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-72243-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-05672-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-72243-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2010044934
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* When his parents' marriage unravels, Jack is sent from San Francisco to live with his eccentric aunt and uncle in Iowa. The experience is a revelation for Jack o is accustomed to being virtually invisible at home and school he finds that he has friends who are as odd as his aunt and uncle. Then he is noticed and beaten up by a bully, and the powerful town villain seems to target him also with dark plans. What's going on here? The answers are not given up easily, and that's just one facet of this delightful puzzle of a book that is filled with wonders and magic, yes, but magic that is ancient, numinous, and tied to the natural world. Readers are tacitly invited to help untangle this deep and complex web. Barnhill's first novel for children is a marvel of both plotting and characterization, provide a foundation for the omnipresent magic that elevates this title to the first rank of contemporary children's literature. Best of all, an open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel. Readers can only hope.
Horn Book
Jack goes to stay with his aunt and uncle in Iowa. How do people in this place he's never been seem to know him? Barnhill's novel explores issues of magic, good and evil, and family with an effective sense of visual setting and brisk pacing. The story ends in a narratively satisfying place while leaving some intrigue, suggesting a sequel.
Publishers Weekly
In her first novel, children's nonfiction author Barnhill quickly establishes a sense of foreboding in the town of Hazelwood, Iowa, as Jack-ignored by and invisible to his parents, who are divorcing-moves in with his eccentric aunt and uncle, whose house appears to be possessed. Slowly, Jack befriends some locals, including 14-year-old twins Wendy and Frankie, the latter scarred and silent years after a childhood disappearance, and the eerily psychic Anders. Jack also becomes the focus of a town bully and an evil patriarch who cultivates power through magic; tension mounts as Jack provokes the supernatural forces that cause children and buildings to disappear. Suspense builds steadily, with twists and surprises woven throughout, and friendship emerges as a powerful theme. "Given that he didn't really know what it was like to have friends, Jack didn't realize until that very moment that he missed Wendy and that he had been very lonely for the last few days." Barnhill explores the struggle between good and evil and the power of love and sacrifice, creating a provocative and highly original mystery. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5&11;8&12; Bullies and distracted, disinterested parents have left Jack with zero self-esteem when he arrives in the mysterious town of Hazelwood, IA. His mother coldly and unceremoniously dumps him off to spend the summer with his quirky aunt and uncle, Mabel and Clive Fitzpatrick. Barnhill's practiced use of personification signals readers that the Fitzpatricks' house and other inanimate objects are strangely alive. While Jack doesn't recollect having been there before, he has bouts of remembering, not quite d&3;j&4; vu, and things seem eerily familiar in this spooky town where kids go missing and folks just seem to forget they existed. There's plenty of foreshadowing to alert readers to the scariness ahead as Jack makes friends, develops self-confidence, embarks on the age-old battle of good versus evil and, in the end, finds the place, albeit a strange one, where he belongs.&12; Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A truly splendid amalgamation of mystery, magic and creeping horror will spellbind the middle-grade set. Jack has lived much of his life feeling invisible, beneath the notice of bullies, friends or even his family. Yet when his parents divorce and he's sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Hazelwood, Iowa, Jack is shocked to discover that everyone in the town notices him. What's more, some of them seem to want to kill him. As he befriends some of the local kids, Jack reluctantly looks into the town's past and unravels the mystery behind why children have been disappearing there for decades and what his connection may be. This children's debut beautifully evokes the feeling of otherness kids come to feel around their peers and at the same time creates an entirely original mythology. The mystery deepens with each chapter, revealing exactly the right amount with each step. Answers are doled out so meticulously that readers will be continually intrigued rather than frustrated. The result is the ultimate page-turner. An enticing read that is certain to keep both the hero and audience guessing at every carefully plotted reveal. (Fantasy. 9-12)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* When his parents' marriage unravels, Jack is sent from San Francisco to live with his eccentric aunt and uncle in Iowa. The experience is a revelation for Jack o is accustomed to being virtually invisible at home and school he finds that he has friends who are as odd as his aunt and uncle. Then he is noticed and beaten up by a bully, and the powerful town villain seems to target him also with dark plans. What's going on here? The answers are not given up easily, and that's just one facet of this delightful puzzle of a book that is filled with wonders and magic, yes, but magic that is ancient, numinous, and tied to the natural world. Readers are tacitly invited to help untangle this deep and complex web. Barnhill's first novel for children is a marvel of both plotting and characterization, provide a foundation for the omnipresent magic that elevates this title to the first rank of contemporary children's literature. Best of all, an open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel. Readers can only hope.
Word Count: 65,760
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 145484 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q55249
Lexile: 740L
Newbery Medal-winner Kelly Barnhill's debut novel is an eerie tale of magic, friendship, and sacrifice.

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, he begins to make actual friends for the first time in his life-but the town bully beats him up and 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... invisible.

The Mostly True Story of Jack is a stunning debut novel about things broken, things put back together, and finding a place to belong.

"There's a dry wit and playfulness to Barnhill's writing that recalls Lemony Snicket and Blue Balliett...a delightfully unusual gem." --Los Angeles Times

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