The Mostly True Story Of Jack Kelly Barnhill Book Review

The Mostly True Story Of Jack Kelly Barnhill Book ReviewThe Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
Also by this author: The Witch's Boy
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2011-08-02
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Family, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon

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.

The Mostly True Story Of Jackby Kelly Barnhillis what I would consider to be a deeply unsettling book, especially for middle grade. Now, being unsettled isn’t bad. I’m still actually thinking about The Mostly True Story Of Jack. Kelly Barnhill’swriting plays on people’s fears without overt monsters.

Jack’s parents hardly notice or have time for him. Most of the time it’s as though he’s faded into the background. When they get a divorce, Jack is uprooted from San Francisco and sent to live in Hazelwood Iowa with his eccentric aunt and uncle who live in the most colorful house in town. Jack discovers the town has a secret. Children disappear and people erase the missing children from their memories. The town seems to worship the powerful Avery family. Jack and his new friends Wendy and Anders and Frankie must set things to rights and prevent the destruction of Hazelwood. Magic is interwoven in The Mostly True Story Of Jack by Kelly Barnhilland IT.IS.AWESOME.

Back to fears. The Mostly True Story Of Jack by Kelly Barnhillplays on the fear of being forgotten. I think the concept of not existing or having a forgotten existence is terrifying for most. Plus some children are terrified their parents won’t love them any more. Jack’s parents suck. They forget he exists in favor of his brother, Baxter. They never ever spare a thought for Jack. And this is personally, but this book totally played on my fear of the midwest. I’m an east coast girl and am currently terrified of Iowa. Danger is lurking in that goddamn corn.

I realize that it is bizarre to be terrified of a geographical region, especially when there are awesome things in the midwest, like Home Alone and Chicago and St. Louis. And that town where people sing and it’s like pretend Broadway. Anyways. Every time I read one of these books and shady shiz goes down in the corn, I get nervous. I know, I know that’s weird. But it’s a testament to Barnhill’swriting style, that I got nervous reading, and I am a 24 year old, not exactly the intended child audience.

Everything connects perfectly in the end of The Mostly True Story Of Jack by Kelly Barnhillthough, as all is explained. I thought this was a brilliant novel, it’s occasionally slow but worth trudging through to see the wrong set to rights and to revel in Barnhill’screativity.

Disclosure: Borrowed from the library.

This is a CYBILS book.

Other Reviews of The Mostly True Story Of Jack by Kelly Barnhill:

The Literate Mother
A Musing Reviews
The Book Aunt

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Yikes! Slow is hard for me. I’m sorking through Finnikin of the Rock right now and it’s (thankfully) starting to pick up a bit but man those first 100 pages were drag-a-licious.

  2. I live in the midwest, and for years after watching Children of the Corn, I wouldn’t step foot into the field at my grandpa’s farm. I still get the heebeejeebeez when I drive past one!

  3. Iowa scares me, and I grew up 40 miles from the state line in Nebraska… *lol* (Ok; so my fears are NOT based on corn, or movies… just my passionate dislike for Iowa.)

    Anywho… thanks for the great review 🙂 This one seems really intriguing, and after “A Monster Calls” it seems like a similar category for this one (at least from what I’ve read) and I’m going to have to add it to my wishlist.

  4. Ooh, this one sounds intriguing and creepy! I think I might give it a try 🙂

  5. Creepy-cool sounding, especially with the *cue killer-around-the-corner music* cornfield. Had a friend who lived across the street from a cornfield and we used to scare the crap out of each other playing Children of the Corn. And, yes, it was in the Midwest. Where the REALLY creepy cornfields reside.

  6. 1. Iowa blows.
    2. This cover is the best.
    3. I need to read this book STAT.


  1. […] Adult Pages: 368 Format: ARC Source: Publisher Buy the Book Goodreads Also by this author: The Mostly True Story of Jack A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Neds heart. He couldnt […]

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