The Honest Truth

The Honest TruthWritten by Dan Gemeinhart

“The mountain was calling me. I had to run away. I had to.

And I didn’t need anyone to go with me.

I tightened the straps on my backpack and held the front screen door open with my foot. ‘Come on, Beau!’ I called, and my voice didn’t shake one bit. It was strong. Like me.

Beau came rocketing out of the door, his tail slapping my legs. He danced on his front paws on the porch, his mismatched eyes smiling up at me, his tongue hanging out happy. I bent down and scratched him behind his ears the way he loved, the way only I knew how to do. ‘You’re always ready for a walk, aren’t you, buddy?’

He panted out a yes.

‘Well,’ I said, grabbing the handles of my duffel bag and standing up. ‘You’re in for a doozy.’ I looked out to the horizon, to the white-topped mountains in the distance. ‘The biggest walk of all. That’s the truth.’

I slammed the door behind me and I didn’t look back even once. I didn’t worry about a key. I might not ever be coming back.”

In this debut novel, Dan Gemeinhart brings to life a boy with physical and emotional courage and tenacity to spare in the face of rough circumstances. When Mark learns that his cancer might be back, he makes a decision and a plan. No more hospital rooms or treatments. No more watching his parents being broken by sadness and stress. He is going to climb Mount Rainier, or die trying, with only his dog Beau by his side.

When I first opened this book I was grabbed from the opening paragraph and stayed up late reading it all in one sitting, which had not been my plan. The author has crafted a tightly-written story filled with action, emotion, and questions without easy answers. As an adult reader it is especially harrowing to read what this child character is going through all on his own, all the while recognizing that any desired adult intervention would not really solve the big issues here. This is a realistic adventure that will likely break your heart.

Highly recommended to any young reader who loves a great adventure story, or a sad story.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Media Specialist, Granite Educational Technology Dept.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4+

Author Website:

The Honest Truth
Written by Dan Gemeinhart
Scholastic Press
229 pages
Release Date: January 27, 2015

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21 thoughts on “The Honest Truth”

  1. GIVE-AWAY! We have two copies of this title (1 hardcover, 1 paperback) to give away to a Granite library or classroom! Leave a comment with your name here by 2/7/16 for a chance to win. Drawing will be held Monday 2/8.

    There are other book giveaways going right now as well, don’t miss them!

  2. I just had a sixth grade girl asking for a sad realistic fiction book. This would be perfect. I would love a copy and am anxious to read it myself.

    1. Congratulations! You are the winner of this drawing! A hardback copy of The Honest Truth will be coming to your library through district mail. Thanks for looking and commenting!

  3. A sick boy, a loyal dog and a mountain (both literally and figuratively) to climb. Sounds like a winning and heart-warming story to read! I’d love a copy for our library.

  4. Christine Fotheringham

    This book has been on my reading list for quite a while, now I’ll have to move it up to the top. Sounds like a great read.

  5. Whoa. This sounds intense. Though I don’t usually prefer sad stories, I know several students who would want to read this. Thanks for the review.

  6. Sounds like a great book, especially as one of our 6th grade teachers comes up with a different genre of books each month. This sounds like it would fit in several different ones.

  7. Josh, how very Bradlike of you on being slow to post a review. I don’t feel as bad about my weakness. This book was talked about at BER. On my list

    1. Congratulations! You are the second winner of this drawing! A paperback copy of The Honest Truth will be coming to your library through district mail. Thanks for looking and commenting!

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