Article Title

The Honest Truth


Excellent, Intermediate, Dan Gemeinhart, Cancer, Runaway, Death, Mountains, Dogs

Document Type

Book Review


Is it better to face death by accepting it or running away? When twelve-year-old Mark receives the news that his cancer is back—again—he disappears, trying to find meaning in his life by following his dream to scale Mt. Rainier. Shaking the police off his trail and fending off bullies, Mark manages to arrive at the mountain in a terrible blizzard. With his sidekick dog, Beau, Mark begins the icy ascent. As he climbs—getting heavier, colder, and sicker with each step—he realizes what gives his life meaning: his family and friends. They have struggled to understand how he has felt all these years, but they’ve done their best—and his running away has probably devastated them. Even as his heart changes, Mark collapses from exhaustion. Beau finds help from the rescue team, and Mark ends up in the hospital, with readers left to consider whether he’ll survive.