If you’ve ever felt forgotten or ignored at home then you can probably relate to Jack. But when you read about what HIS Mom and Dad are like, you might not feel so ignored after all. Something weird is going on with Jack’s family and you can tell right away because Jack’s Mom…she can’t even remember his NAME.
Jack’s mother pointed at Jack, her face slack and dreamy. She narrowed her eyes and snapped her fingers a couple of times as though trying to remember something. Jack pressed his hand to his chest. “Jack?” he said, prompting her. “Right,” she said, bringing her hands to her face and furrowing her brow. “Jack.” (page 18)
And then you find out that at Jack’s house all of the pictures everywhere in the house are of his brother Baxter. There are no pictures of Jack, and it isn’t just because his pictures didn’t get chosen for the walls. There are no pictures of him anywhere in any photo album either.
And so you understand that there is something very, very odd going on and no one in his life is talking…until his parent divorce and he is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa to live for a while with his Aunt Mabel and Uncle Clive - two people he has never heard mentioned before. There is something strange about the Aunt and Uncle too, because they seem to know Jack, in fact, they have PICTURES.
“It’s me” he whispered, and he knew it was true: a picture of himself — sitting in Clive and Mabel’s living room — as a little boy. The only picture of him, as far as he knew, in existence. (page 56)
When Jack tries to write his parents letters and the letters keep disappearing you know something more is up than a family secret because the letters are not simply gone, like somebody stole them…the paper Jack wrote the letters on goes blank, like a chalkboard wiped clean, like nobody every wrote on it at all.
Creeped out yet? You will be. : ) In Iowa Jack finds himself in the middle of a big mystery starring himself. It isn’t just Jack that seems to have vanished from Hazelwood, other children have too. Where are they and what does it have to do with Jack? In Hazelwood Jack makes the first friends of his life and together they begin to unravel some powerful, magical secrets. Jack is a whole lot more than what he first appears. No way will you ever, ever figure out where this author is going until you get there. Trust me. Author: Kelly Barnhill
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