In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. Read more...
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More About The Honest Truth by Dan GemeinhartOverviewThe debut of a phenomenal new middle-grade talent.
In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day.
But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.
So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier--even if it's the last thing he ever does.
The Honest Truth is a rare and extraordinary novel about big questions, small moments, and the incredible journey of the human spirit.
- ISBN-13: 9780545665735
- ISBN-10: 0545665736
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 240
- Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Related CategoriesPublishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Gemeinhart debuts with an emotionally hard-hitting survival story about 12-year-old Mark who, facing another bout of the cancer he’s been fighting throughout his childhood, runs away with his loyal dog, Beau, to fulfill his dream of climbing Mount Rainer. Armed with cash, camera, notebook, and a pen for jotting down the haikus that come constantly to mind, Mark soon encounters distressing setbacks, culminating in the onset of a dangerous storm. His harrowing adventures are interspersed with brief third-person half-chapters focusing on his best friend Jessie, who knows where he is and the danger he is in, and struggles whether to keep his secret. Jessie’s internal battle between her loyalty to Mark and her empathy for his frightened parents is nearly as intense as Mark’s trip to the mountain and his attempt to climb it. Both children’s reflections on dying ring very true, as do most of the secondary characters Mark meets. The many moments of heart-racing suspense, as well as the underlying gravity, may overwhelm faint-hearted readers; hardier ones will find it a gripping page-turner. Ages 8–12. Agent: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, D4EO Literary. (Jan.)BookPage Reviews
To the mountains we go
Children's Top Pick, February 2015.
You could say Mark is running from death. But, in a way, he’s also running toward it.
When the 12-year-old from Washington state runs away—with his camera, notebook and beloved dog, Beau—he’s got a plan and a reason. “The mountain was calling me,” he says in The Honest Truth. Mark plans to reach the top of Mount Rainier.
Mark has been battling cancer for years. It has once again returned, so Mark decides this is his last chance to make the climb. He leaves his parents and best friend, Jessie, for the adventure of a lifetime. And adventure, indeed, is what he finds. A series of chilling setbacks threaten Mark’s journey but only add to the suspense. The theme of friendship—between Jessie and Mark and between Mark and Beau—is a steady undercurrent that guides the journey as well.
The book is told in alternating chapters, with Mark’s first-person narration juxtaposed against a third-person account of the people searching for him. It’s an effective device, revealing to readers both sides of Mark’s journey.
Inspired by the loss of a friend who loved mountain climbing and dogs, writer/librarian Dan Gemeinhart has taken great care to craft a believable and poignant tale of steely resolve and undying friendship. Reluctant readers will especially enjoy the forward-moving adventure, and dog lovers will be thrilled with this truly magnificent tale of “boy loves dog” (and vice versa). This is an outstanding debut novel.