FREE Delivery in the UK.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Mostly True Story of ... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item in good condition and ready to ship! Ships airmail from USA!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Mostly True Story of Jack Hardcover – 2 Aug 2011


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£11.45
£11.45 £0.74
CD-ROM
"Please retry"
£11.45 FREE Delivery in the UK. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (2 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056700
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,773,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Hardcover. Pub Date: 08 2011 Pages: 336 Publisher: Little Own Books for Young Readers 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 oken and thin...

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ancient Mariner on 22 April 2015
Format: Paperback
It's usually not a good idea to describe a book by referring to other books, but given the thematic complexity and the complicated and varied appeals of this book it's probably worth a try here. Start with Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series. That is an emotionally satisfying and layered reconsideration of the Arthur and Grail legends and related myths and legends of Wales, cast in a contemporary setting. Now add Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes", which is an exciting and suspenseful treatment of good and evil built almost entirely from the point of view of fully realized adolescent characters. Now add the depth, lyricism and nature based "magic" of the urban fantasists like Charles Delint. That mixture hints in some degree at what you will find in this book.

Additionally, you have very accomplished writing that is at times playful and yet is sincere and sometimes deeply moving when addressing issues of friendship, loneliness, familial love and longing for one's true place in the world. Never labored or stilted, the book is full of gentle grace notes and wry little asides that help it flow effortlessly and that keep it elegant and understated.

The greatest weakness that I see is that our hero, Jack, is just a bit too dense when it comes to figuring out who he is and what's going on, even while everyone else has things figured out. And since Jack is in Hazelwood because his parents are divorcing we have the obligatory grumpy, angsty teen angle. That's fine, except his sullenness blocks out all early attempts to get him involved in his own story and his refusal to listen to anyone slows down the development of the story.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books where the cover grabbed my attention. Not the current cover but the older version of the cover. There was something so haunting and yet intriguing about it that just grabbed my attention. And I am so thankful that I picked up the book and gave it a read. To be honest it was introduction to the writings of Kelly Barnhill but I know it will not be my last book by her. In fact I started a second as soon as I finished this one. While reading this I could barely put it down, in fact I read it in under 3 days and in three sitting.

This is the story of Jack a young boy who has always felt invisible, even in his own family. But when his parents are going through a separation he is sent to live with family in Hazlewood, Iowa to live with his aunt and uncle. And he no longer seems invisible, in fact everyone one seems to see him and want him for something. He makes friends for the first time with Frankie, Wendy and Anders. He is also beaten up by the town bully Clayton Avery. Clayton's farther MR. Avery is the most powerful man in town and he seems to have it out for Jack from the time he becomes aware he is in town.

This is a story about friendship, about healing, about magic and about finding your place in the world. Jack encounters each of those elements and as the story progresses it also becomes a tale about sacrifice. Sacrifice for a greater good, for those you care about, for friendship and for doing what is right even if it is really really hard.

This was a great read. I highly enjoyed it and can also highly recommend it. One of the greatest compliments I can give a book is my plans to share it with my children when they are older. This book is on that shelf waiting to be read again this time with them. Overall a very good book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 38 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Unique Plot and a Fast-paced read 16 Aug. 2011
By M. Fuller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Complicated. That is the best word I can think to not only describe the plot behind "The Mostly True Story of Jack" by Kelly Barnhill, but quite possibly the whole point behind her writing the book in the first place. Don't misunderstand me; while the plot is unique, interesting and cleverly fast-paced, it is also easy to follow. Information is slowly unraveled for the reader as they discover the mystery of Jack, his foggy past, and the dark and mysterious history and happenings in the town of Hazelwood, which he finds himself recently plunked in the middle of. Readers, young or old, will find the book fascinating and it will easily capture their attention. With that said, after completing the book, I am still left wondering: Did I like this story? Did I like the characters? What was the message of the book? All questions I am sure very few 9-12 year olds will ever ask when reading a book, but this 30-year-old is left with them nonetheless.

While the storyline and message of the book is that things are complicated, I don't feel like the characters were very deep or complicated on their own. I found the emotions in this book a bit dry, and the relationships sort of stale. I can't put my finger on exactly why I feel this way, but an example would be the relationship between Jack and his uncle Clive. The reader can tell that Clive adores and cares for Jack, but Jack doesn't ever really reciprocate that affection anywhere in the story and Clive never really expresses it either. That is just one example; even the most personable characters like tomboy Wendy and school-bully Clayton lack scenes/interactions that would leave them a bit more memorable. With that said, there are many likable characters, I just don't feel I know or understand them individually very well.

(Mild spoilers below)
I can't help but pick up clues throughout the book that beg the reader to understand Barnhill's point, which is: life is complicated, people are complicated, good and evil can be complicated. You see... once upon a time, there was a single keeper of magic, something happened and her persona was split into two - both Good and Evil. The Good half grows stronger with laughter and joy of others, while the Evil half quickly steals souls for strength. Would that someone could join these two forces back together as they once were, so balance can once again be restored. The hope is that these two separate halves of the same person will join together again so that She can be "whole, complicated, and real... [Having] the same struggles of right and wrong, just like you and me." (P. 318) I am not sure I completely agree with this premise, but it is certainly deep enough to keep a book group talking for hours. Someone must stand in the "gap between good and evil" (P. 300) and help the two unite. That certainly is some deep material for children to read, and the whole complicated idea of black and white and gray is something that few youngsters can comprehend. I do applaud Barnhill for trying, think her story was interesting, and the descriptive writing fantastic. I guess I just wish there was a bit more depth to the interactions between characters that would support the complicated theme a little more than what I found.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully thought-provoking. 22 July 2011
By Heidi Grange - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I started reading this book, I was impressed with two things. First, the writing was excellent, it flowed smoothly allowing the reader to focus on the story rather than the writing. Second, the story was kind of weird and I'm not really into weird, many of the kids I work with are into weird but I'm not. So I was tempted to put the book down and go onto something else. But then I decided that wasn't fair, especially since the book had been mentioned as a Newbery contender by one of my favorite bloggers, A Fuse #8 Production. And I also have a hard time putting a book down without finishing it, I know that's silly, but that's the way I am. So I finished the book.

The plot line is definitely unique, I can't say I've read another book like it, ever (and I've read hundreds of books in my lifetime). I was really impressed at the way that Barnhill slowly revealed bits and pieces of the puzzle, which kind of makes the book a mystery, but it doesn't really feel like one. This would be a great book to hand to kids who want a mystery, but not a formulaic one.

Being a geography fan, setting is something I pay a great deal of attention to. Here, once again, Barnhill excels. The reader quickly gets a feel for this town that is in some ways like any other small town, but in other ways very unique. Here's an example,

It was an old wooden farmhouse with a large porch, wide windows, and a small round porthole at the roof's peak. And it was purple. A deep, rich purple so intense it almost seemed to vibrate. Jack squinted. The front door was bright green and the trim of each window was painted a different color: red, yellow, orange, and blue.

You have to admit, that is a very intriguing description of the house that Jack comes to stay in. The reader realizes almost immediately that this is an unusual house. Barnhill has taken the regular world around us and given it a very interesting twist.

The characters I had a hard time with at first. Jack, who has spent most of his life being semi-invisible, has little interest in this new place or the people who live there, at least not at first. I found this hard to relate to, probably because I find the world a fascinating place. But slowly as I read, I realized that Jack was doing what many of us do when faced with changes that shake the very foundations of everything we though we knew. He was trying to ignore it. Of course, he eventually realizes the futility of this.

As I continued to read, I also began to connect with the other characters, Wende, the girl who is so determined to find out everything she can so she can protect those she loves. Frankie, the boy with the scars, both inside and out, whom everyone underestimates. Interestingly, I also started to feel compassion for the 'villain' of the story and his bully son. There aren't a lot of books, where I feel sorry for the villain. This happens to be one of them.

It turns out that this is one of the best books I've read this year and definitely worthy of Newbery consideration. I highly recommend it for all who enjoy interesting characters, an interesting setting, and a willingness to accept the weird. I'm thinking I might try it as a read-a-loud with my fifth graders. There is certainly much that is worthy of discussion.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be True 16 July 2011
By Kate Coombs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When Jack comes to a small country town, everything changes. All he knows is that he's going to spend the summer with Uncle Clive and Aunt Mabel, but his coming impacts the people in the little town even before he reaches the unusual purple house where his aunt and uncle live. Little Frankie, the boy with the scarred face and the missing voice, hears a sound of bells, and his sister Mabel smells something sweet and strange. Anders feels a humming and prickling in the summer grass beneath his feet. Even Clayton Avery, the town bully, gets an odd ringing in his ears.

As for Jack himself, it hasn't really occurred to him just how strange his own life is: the kids at school, bus drivers, even his own parents tend to forget about him. But the experience intensifies when his mother drops him off. Afterwards, he tries to call her or his father, but he can never get through. He writes a letter, but the words disappear from the paper before he can get to the mailbox as his uncle's two big cats watch him far too knowingly.

On the other hand, Jack makes friends for the first time, with Anders, Mabel, and (sort of) Frankie. But town bully Clayton Avery tries to beat him up, and Clayton's wealthy father apparently wants to kill Jack. Why?

Kelly Barnhill's book is a fantasy, but it is also a mystery, its suspense building as we try to understand who Jack is and why he matters to so many different people. The other mystery is what happened to Frankie, who disappeared for a time and then was rescued by Jack's uncle. During the period when he was missing, people tended to forget he had ever existed. He's not the only one--others also disappeared and were instantly forgotten, mostly children who vanished from the old schoolhouse.

Things are going to get a lot worse before Jack finds the answers he needs...

Branhill's clear style, her well-drawn characters, and a sense of emotional nuance add to the success of her storytelling. Here's an excerpt:

"His glasses itched terribly under his nose, but when he tried to adjust them, he realized that he couldn't move his right arm. Or his left. Tendrils of grass and ivy slithered along his side. They twined around his ankles and wrists and held him tight.

'What's going on?' Jack squeaked, but a wave of moss covered his chest and a tangle of roots pulled him into darkness. 'Help me!' he yelled, 'Somebody help me!' And in that last second--when the sky above him was reduced to a spot the size of the head of a pin--only one thought remained:

Home."

For kids who like mysteries as well as fantasy, The Mostly True Story of Jack will be a captivating summer read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It's hard to believe that THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK is Kelly Barnhill's first novel 11 Nov. 2011
By KidsReads - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Who hasn't felt invisible from time to time? Kids, in particular, often feel overlooked, misunderstood, or just plain unseen by those around them. In her debut novel, THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK, Kelly Barnhill skillfully couches this common childhood fear in a rich fantasy story about history, community, and the struggle to belong --- and to be seen.

Jack is feeling especially overlooked lately. In the wake of his busy parents' separation, he's being trucked off from San Francisco to tiny Hazelwood, Iowa, to stay with relatives he doesn't even know, in a house that doesn't seem quite right. It seems to ripple as soon as he enters it, and all his attempts to reach his mother and father by phone or mail are instantly foiled --- maybe even by the house itself.

"Jack had a dream that the house was made of eyes --- heavy lashed and pretty, but eyes nonetheless. Eyes that followed his every move, winked at his jokes, and welled up with tears for no good reason.... And the eyes sang. Or maybe the house sang. In either case, it was beautiful, both hopeful and lonely all at once."

The mysterious old house isn't the only thing that's registered Jack's presence, though; the town's secretive and distrustful residents seem to have expected his coming with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. There's Wendy Schumacher and her brother Frankie, for example. Frankie hasn't been the same since he disappeared for a time, returning home scarred in more ways than one. And there's Mr. Avery, the wealthiest man in town, who seems to despise Jack even before he meets him.

Jack can't quite get a handle on Hazelwood, and his uncle Clive's copy of The Secret History of Hazelwood only raises more questions than it answers. When will this pragmatic city kid, who despises fairy tales and only wants to be seen, start to see the magic that surrounds him...and that is deeply interwoven with both his past and his future?

It's hard to believe that THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK is Kelly Barnhill's first novel. Self-assured and deftly plotted, its mystery and magic unfold gradually, inviting readers to explore the secret history of Hazelwood along with Jack, to uncover the complicated histories that belong to each of us --- and perhaps to Jack most of all. The book adeptly blends the realistic --- Jack's attempts to ride a skateboard, his desperate desire to overcome his parents' divorce and find real friends --- with the fantastic. It is thoughtful and bittersweet, yet a real page-turner, the perfect introduction to a promising new talent.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Truly Captivating 23 Nov. 2011
By herdingcats - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This story is truly captivating. It is suspenseful and well written and unique. It is the story of Jack, who has been ignored and felt invisible for all of his life, until his parents split up and he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Iowa. Suddenly, people notice him. A lot. He makes his first friends and learns that magic exists and he is a part of it. The setting and characters are richly and well developed and the story draws you into it just as the children are drawn in as well.
We follow Jack and Wendy and Frankie and Anders in this town where magic erupts in certain places, such as that of the old schoolhouse where many children disappeared in the past and Jack's Aunt and Uncle's house which warms to Jack's touch and where vines grow into his bedroom. They must stop Mr. Avery, who really is not a bad person, he only wants to save his own son. In the end, it is all up to Jack.
I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this story. So many fantasies have the same plot line. This one is pleasantly different.
flag
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback