Quick Pick:


The Mostly True Story of Jack


by Kelly Barnhill


Little Brown & Co.


Reader Appeal: Ages 12 and up


Genre: Youth/YA Fantasy


PopFam Rating: B-


Quick Summary: A truly creative, but occasionally uneven new entry in the youth/YA fantasy world. Kelly Barnhill's debut novel delivers interesting characters and a unique world, but can't quite seem to keep its momentum all the way to the end. Jack is a boy who is easily forgotten - even by his own mother - almost as if he isn't supposed to exist in this world. However, when he is forced to live with relatives in the strange (dare we say magical?) town of Hazelwood, he garners the unwanted attention of powerful people - people with secrets that may be related to Jack. The Mostly True Story of Jack is entertaining, but it should be better than it is. The new-world mythology that first attracts, later becomes heavy with complications that sometimes feel forced and inconsistent. Barnhill delivers a fresh start that stumbles in the middle and never fully regains its momentum. It'll be interesting to see what her creative mind comes up with as her writing matures in future books. Still, The Mostly True Story of Jack has plenty in its favor, and it should be a book that many tweens and some teens will enjoy.


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