Though I have not been posting many book reviews, I have had lots to write over the last couple of months. You may think that I am not reading, but that is not the case. I have been reading some amazing books. It's just that I am doing so many other things that I want to blog that my book reviews never happen to find their way into print.
During AASL in Minneapolis, I was invited to an intimate luncheon courtesy of Little Brown. (Thanks, Victoria, lunch was delicious.) The luncheon was the debut of Kelly Barnhill, a Minnesotan author, and her first book, The Mostly True Story of Jack. This is the book that got me through my plane ride home. The story has a male protagonist and is geared for the middle school student. I love having a strong story about a boy for this age level.
Jack is dumped at his Aunt and Uncle's house in Iowa. His parents live in California and believe with their impending divorce that Jack is better off in a small town for the summer. The minute he arrives, Jack realizes that Hazelwood and his aunt and uncle are a bit unusual. Jack was used to being invisible. Once he arrives in town, he is bullied, makes friends which he never had before and learns that fairy tales are real.
I am not sure if you would classify this story as magical realism or an out and out fantasy. At the beginning of the story, Jack does not accept any of the magical elements that begin to creep into his life. He ignores them and feels disgust for his aunt and uncle who try to explain. As he reads the book that his uncle has written about the history of the town and sees first hand the changes in the house, the school house and those weird eruption points, he finally becomes a believer. Jack who doesn't believe in magic and never dreamed that he could be a hero learns more about himself in the short time that he visits Hazelwood than all his life in California.
I recommend this book to all the dreamers out there.