The Mostly True Story of Jack
is Kelly Barnhill's debut novel. Jack is basically just a normal kid, except for the fact that no one rally notices him. Literally. Even his mother barely remembers he exists sometimes. And he never shows up in photographs. The story begins with his mother taking him to stay with mysterious relatives living in a strange house in the middle of nowhere. Right from the start, something isn't right about the town. Children have disappeared, to be forgotten by everyone save a very few. Only one has ever returned, and he came back horribly disfigured and mute, apparently mentally retarded. Secrets abound, and for some reason, everyone - and everything
- seems to focus upon one person: Jack.
This book contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Wendy beats up local bully Avery on a regular basis (he deserves it, though).
- The Bully: Avery tries to be this, and is apparently usually successful. However, the one time he tries to pick on Jack, he gets beaten up (and then ignored) by Wendy.
- Changeling Tale
- Deal with the Devil: The Avery family's deal with The Lady. The current Mr. Avery's attempts to get out of it are the cause of all the problems in the book.
- Invisible to Normals: No one notices Jack. This can have its advantages, though - he's never had to pay a bus fare in his life.
- Mother Nature: The Lady and The Other. See also Nature Spirit.
- Nature Spirit: The Lady and The Other. See also Mother Nature.
- Sapient House: The Fitzpatricks' house.
- The Speechless: Frankie.
- Spoiled Brat: Avery again.
- Switched at Birth
- Tomboy: Wendy has a bit of this in her.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Wendy is this to The Lady, who is currently not strong enough to steal her soul.
- You Can See Me?: Though he doesn't actually say it, Jack is very surprised when the local bully notices him.