Home Truths

Home Truths

In 2016 Home Truths was selected for the Nova Scotia school curriculum.

Click here for purchase options.

Home Truths, juvenile fiction book
Home Truths by Jill MacLean

Dancing Cat Books 2010 ISBN: 978-1-897151-96-9

On the left is the first cover for Home Truths, which depicts fourteen-year-old Brick MacAvoy and his little sister Cassie. As always, I asked the publisher not to show the characters’ faces, because I felt this restricts the reader’s imagination. When the book was nominated for the Red Maple Award 2012, Cormorant/Dancing Cat Books reissued the book with this new cover.

Now I’m eating my words. As “Home Truths” needed to be reissued, due to the Red Maple nomination, the publisher and designer came up with a new cover, the one on the right. And yes, you see Brick’s face. And yes, I love it! What’s your preference?

With each of the children’s books on this website, I realize I’ve talked about the cover again. It would be nice to think that covers don’t matter – but they do!

How often do you put a book down at the bookstore or the library because you don’t like the cover? I know I’ve done it, and probably will again…

About the Book:

Home Truths is told from Brick’s point of view – the point of view of a bully, whose father bullies him verbally and physically.

I had planned to write my third book about Hud Quinn, the bully in The Nine Lives of Travis Keating and The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy. But when I approached the publisher with this idea, I was told that the third book of a trilogy couldn’t be Young Adult when the previous two were Middle Reader, because the third book would end up in a different section of libraries and bookstores than the other two. “Change Hud’s name and the setting,” they said, “and write the book as a stand-alone.”

You have to be kidding, was my initial response – along with a major dose of disappointment that I wouldn’t be telling Hud’s story. At the same time, I could see that they’d raised a very valid point.

As I started to think and to let my imagination roam, a character named Brick MacAvoy came into being. He lives on Hilchey River Road on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, and he has his own story to tell. I soon discovered that it was liberating not to have to worry about what Hud and the other characters had said or done in Nine Lives and Present Tense. I could start over. Invent a whole slate of new characters, including Igor the greyhound.

Karate plays a significant role in the story; my research was assisted by a 7th Dan Black Belt karate instructor – a humbling experience!

The book is darker in tone than either of the other two books.

If you’d like to read the first 5 pages, click here.


“Sensitively written, this book provides a real context to discuss bullying…the character development is engaging…”

Resource Links, Volume 16, Number 2

“MacLean’s portrait of Brick gives readers insight into the heart and mind of a bully…a novel of suspense and tension…a heart-warming coming-of-age novel…Thanks to MacLean’s vivid and empathetic descriptions, both Brick and Cassie [his sister] become people readers know and care about a great deal…”

CM Magazine, University of Manitoba, January 2011

“…Jill MacLean has created a remarkable portrait of a bully…MacLean adroitly captures Brick’s feelings of helplessness, rage and despair…she also draws attention to the fact that there are no easy answers for Brick…while the story does not have a fairytale ending, it does leave readers with hope…an intense and sobering look at an all-too-common experience…”

Atlantic Books Today, Holiday 2010.

“…While the book is geared towards a younger audience, the topic of bullying is something that can resonate with an older audience as well.”

From an article by Richard Woodbury, Halifax Chronicle Herald, November 2010

“…This book filled me with suspense and interest. Jill MacLean did an amazing job putting together possible events into a novel without making the entire story sound biased and non-realistic. She discussed how abuse is wrong and that it’s often a secret. Unlike most other books, this book actually had a point and was very meaningful.

I would recommend this novel to anyone 11 and up. I think both males and females would enjoy this book, since the events in this book could happen to anyone. …”

Brie Martin, age 12,  in Books for Kids – The National Post, December 2010

Purchase options for Home Truths:

From Dancing Cat Books:
Click here for the print and ebook version of the book

From Amazon:

From Chapters/Indigo:
Click here for the print and Kobo version of the book

Or go to your local independent bookstore.


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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

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Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


Jill MacLean's books on Goodreads

Home Truths
Home Truths

reviews: 34

ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)

The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

reviews: 14

ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)

The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating

reviews: 26

ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)

Nix Minus One
Nix Minus One

reviews: 6

ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)

Brevity of Red, The
Brevity of Red, The

ratings: 1 (avg rating 3.00)