Tuesday, March 1, 2016

THE HONEST TRUTH by Dan Gemeinhart.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780545665735 hc. $16.95    Gr. 4-6    JFIC

Twelve year-old Mark has cancer....again.  He's spent the last half of his life in treatment and can't bear to go through it again.  It's not that he wants to hurt his parents who only want to protect him, but prior treatments have not worked, and this might be his last chance to fulfill his dream of climbing Mt. Ranier before the cancer kills him.  He runs away with his dog, Beau, hidden in a duffle bag, and cleverly leaves behind several false leads to throw his parents and police off the trail of his intended destination.  Meanwhile, Jessie, who's been Mark's best friend since childhood, discovers a note that reveals Mark's destination.  She can't decide to keep his secret or bring him home safely by telling his parents. Her story and Mark's reveal two sides of a moral dilemma.  Mark is determined to travel through dangerous situations and tricky terrain to get to the mountain top, sometimes at the expense of his loyal canine companion.  Gemeinhart's frequent use of metaphors is effective, adding to the suspense that will keep readers turning pages to the very end.
~Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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