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On My Honor

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  5,495 ratings  ·  695 reviews
Joel dares his best friend, Tony, to a swimming race in a dangerous river. Both boys jump in, but when Joel reaches the sandbar, he finds Tony has vanished. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth?
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 1st 1987 by Yearling (first published September 26th 1986)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,495 ratings  ·  695 reviews

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Wordsmith J
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adolescentfaves
"On My Honor" was always a kids' book that was personal to me. The author, Marion Dane Bauer, was raised in the same small town as my mother; Oglesby, Illinois. The events in the book are based on an actual young boy's drowning that took place when my mother and the author were both children. I grew up playing around the Vermillion River, the same river that is responsible for the life-changing events and eventual coming of age focused on in this very deep book about pain and growing up. It is p ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Read it when I was younger, tried again, not worth my time. Why did this get an award anyways? If you can summarize the general plot of a book in 2-3 simple sentences, it doesn't sound worth publishing. Or reading. Or an award, for that matter.

Two kids decide that they want to hang out one day, and they have a race across a river. One kid can't swim, and he drowns, and the other kid has to tell his family what happened.
That's it?
Why was this published?
I'm sorry, but s
Gray Cox
This is such an important message, a thousand stars.
Nicole Stevens
"On My Honor" is an amazing story that tells the tale of regret, guilt, and the realities of life through the eyes of a young boy. Joel, a conscientious and responsible boy is constantly left frustrated by his adventurous and free-spirited best friend, Tony, but when Tony gives up his idea of dangerously scaling Starved Rock, Joel agrees to swim in the unknowingly more dangerous Vermillion River to satisfy Tony's need for adventure. After challenging Tony to swim to the sandbar in the river, Jo ...more
Tara Higgins
Dec 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I hated this book so much, it was horrible, I loathed going to class to read this, i read this in the 5th grade for school, I even told the ending to other people in my class, I read the ending just to get it over with, I have never done that before, the plot was such a terrible concept, I am sorry to have gone on a rant, but it had to be done. Also, it annoyed me that the boy basically killed his friend and it was his fault so he should have had the guts to tell his parents and his "supposed" f ...more
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Our LA teacher has some of the 7th graders read this book and he gave it to me, telling me it's a quick read. It was. I read it in about half an hour to 45 minutes.

The story revolves around 2 boys, Tony and Joel. Joel is the safe, conservative one, while Tony is a little bit rougher around the edges. Joel's father gives him some instructions as to what he's allowed to do, but he feels peer pressured to ignore them and has to deal with the consequences, whatever they may be.

Joel tried to escape b
May 02, 2014 rated it it was ok

I was read this book when I was in the fifth grade and when the teacher got done reading, I thought there was more to this book, so I checked it out at my school's media center, BUT NOPE! There is nothing else to this book.

Now, the only thing saving this from getting the dreaded 1 star review is I like how it's written. It's pretty well written for elementary school students, but not quite for an 18 year old girl who read the book 8-7 years ago.

Overall, Book pisse
Adolfo Lopez
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing

On My Honor is a book about a kid named Joel and Tony. Tony is a dare devil and Joel is a calm person. Joel and Tony ride their bikes to a park. Then Tony stops at a river wanting to swim. An argument happens between Joel and Tony. Joel gets mad at Tony and challenges him to a swim race . The river they are going to swim in is dangerous and would be hard even for a pro swimmers. Care to swim with them? I gave this book a five out of five because it keeps readers wondering of what will happen nex
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It has such detail. I couldn't wait to finish it. My school librarian read it to my 5th grade class and I liked it so much, I checked it out and finished it the next day! The HUGE accident is something so lifechanging, it's hard to believe how someone can live knowig that they did something so tragic! I would recomend this to anyone who is looking for a teriffic book to read!
leticia machado
In the middle of a bicycle trip, Joel and his best friend Tony, reaches the Vermilion River. The river that everyone says that is dangerous. The boys were warned to never go there or go near it. However, Tony does not want to let Joel think he is scared, so he takes his clothes of and jump in. Then Joel makes a race to reach the sandbar. When Joel reaches the sandbar he turns around to look for Tony,but he doesn't see Tony, so he realizes, Tony was gone. According to the book: " How can he face ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
Another moralistic story about young children with a very simple plot. Not bad, but not the best Newbery by any stretch. Similar to Shiloh, The Sign of the Beaver, and Rascal.

Newbery Honor book in 1987.
Evelyn Mendoza
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer is an amazing book! The book talks about 2 friends, Joel and Tony. Tony is the dare devil throughout the whole story and I guess that's why the tragic event happens. Joel always wants to go swimming but Tony doesn't know how to swim and that's what Joel doesn't know, so he dares him to race to the sandbar in the filthy river. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes reading suspense books and realistic fiction because the event that occ ...more
Addison Zizkovsky
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like this book On My Honor. It is about two boys name Tony, and Joel. Tony is the trouble maker,
''Climb the starved rock bluffs'' says Tony. "You've gotta be kidding.'' says Joel. In the middle of the book, there is a twist but I can't tell you any more, you need to find out what happens.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! It was written in a way that was perfect for kids in elementary school. There's so much suspense and the characters are realistic. I would definitely recommend it!
Chastity Watts
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Marion Bauer certainly followed in the tradition of great novels. On My Honor is set in the hot summer of a small city. It explores the stress we put on ourselves to express blame and feel guilt when blamed. The biggest heartache is when you blame yourself for things that could not be prevented, or were not your fault. That is what Joel did.
The setting was the Vermillion. Tony called it Old Man River, which is a nickname for the Mississippi. Bauer described the river as “ the reddish brown wate
Michelle Isenhoff
Nov 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Joel didn’t want to ride out to Starved Rock Bluffs, let alone climb them, but Tony wouldn’t leave him alone. He talked his dad into giving him permission, hoping the whole time that he wouldn’t succeed. But his dad said yes, and the boys set off on their bikes, and Tony stopped at the bridge over the river. Tony went into the river. And Tony never came out.

Guilt is eating Joel alive. When his parents – and when Tony’s parents – start asking questions, Joel avoids them. But he can still smell t
Hannah Hedges
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! The author is very detailed and every word seems to go together with the story perfectly. The two main characters are very different which makes the story interesting. The way the author wrote the book makes you want to read more every time you put the book down. Even at the end of the book it seems like there is more. The story is absolutely amazing! You can kind of tell how its going to end but then you read more and then your not so sure. I would definitely recommend th ...more
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I liked what the story was about, the feeling of guilt over something that you did or didn't do, but the story itself left much to be desired.
Ashlee G
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I almost gave this book 5 stars but I feel that it went by really fast and it should have extended on the story. This book has a really great storyline. I can see why it has won an award. the title "On My Honor " has very much to do with the book storyline. The book is about a boy named Jole and his friend named Tony. They wanted to bike 12 miles to a park. Jole had to convince his dad to let him go, and he did. Tony said that he could go even though he didn't ask. Tony is more of a risk taker. ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a short book and a short read and an excellent book for children. First thing to know is that it is sad. My granddaughter told me when I saw the book on her reading list and she told me that she had already read it, "It is sad." I told her I would read it and then we could discuss it. I did and we did.

Tony and Joel live across the street from each other and have been friends for a long time. Their families are very different but that doesn't stop them from enjoying one another's company.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Ward
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-award
This is a fairly short but intense story of death and the inability to deal with grief. I know a book is well written when I want to yell at the character to choose a different path. In this case the young boy can't handle telling anyone about his role in the death of his friend. I just kept asking why not? I think the author could have written more in-depth about the emotions he felt as he lied about his role. Which would have made for a heftier novel. I'd still recommend this book to readers 1 ...more
Amber Scaife
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two boys set out for a long summer bike ride to some bluffs in the local state park, but Tony, the daredevil of the two, pushes Joel (who has been hesitant about the whole expedition from the start) to do something Joel knows is too dangerous: go for a swim in the river. Joel has promised his dad not to do anything he shouldn't, but Tony is persistent, and both boys pay for it in different ways, in the end. A short but powerful book that skillfully captures childhood friendships, peer pressures, ...more
Teresa Grabs
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story of what happens when two boys, ready to prove to the world they are ready for it, find out they are not. Joel wanted to go swimming at the local park, but Tony wanted something more adventurous. One poor decision cost a life. Bauer paints, in few words, what life could be like when kids were left to their honor. Better have a few tissues ready when you read this short book.
Marshall Wayne Lee
Marion Dane Bauer's _On My Honor_ receives 4 stars from me.

It is funny to me that now I'm such a big reader, but as a child I didn't read as much. So, I missed a lot of good literature like this book. I think this is a good novel for kids to read, but I would encourage parents to read it with them. There is plenty for them to talk about with their kids. Like: what would you do in the same situation? Do you understand why Joel didn't go to the police? Do you blame Joel? etc.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this 90-page book with my class. My class of 9 to 11-year-olds. one student explained it as being the darkest book she had ever read. it's about the death of a young boy, drowned in a river. The theme is so real. I personally enjoyed it. But some of my students were a little bit immature for the depth of the themes.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This book can be read in one sitting, and is a super sad yet realistic tale about a cautious boy named Joel and his mischievous friend named Tony. This book is a good read aloud or book club book as it has many thematic elements: human choice, fate, family, friendship, and dealing with tragedy.
Jade Crowell
Jan 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book, though short, was so terribly boring to read. It was hard to pick up information because I just did not enjoy it at all. And to add on, the text was written in a certain phrasing that I did not enjoy reading. All in all, I just wasn't a fan.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I subbed in a fifth grade class this week and they were reading this book. Each time this happens, I find the book and read it knowing their teacher carefully picked the book for good reasons. I found this to be true again. Wow! Moving and raw - I could visualize the scenes of the young boys riding their bikes. I could hear their conversations in the dialogue the author wrote. Highly recommend this one.
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Marion Dane Bauer is the author of more than one hundred books for young people, ranging from novelty and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, and middle-grade and young-adult novels. She has won numerous awards, including several Minnesota Book Awards, a Jane Addams Peace Association Award for RAIN OF FIRE, an American Library Association Newbery Hon ...more

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