Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

finding-jake“A heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting story of psychological suspense in which a parent is forced to confront what he does—and does not—know about his teenage son, in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia, Defending Jacob, and We Need to Talk about Kevin.

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn’t. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.
Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

Brilliantly paced, Finding Jake explores these questions in a tense and emotionally wrenching narrative. Harrowing and heartbreaking, surprisingly healing and redemptive, Finding Jake is a story of faith and conviction, strength, courage, and love that will leave readers questioning their own lives, and those they think they know.” – Goodreads

Author Bryan Reardon’s debut novel, Finding Jake, has been compared relentlessly to We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Um… no. Well, I suppose there is a school shooting in both novels. OK, let’s say that Finding Jake is WNTTAK Light. Yes! It’s We Need to Talk About Kevin without the Butter! [If you don’t know what I’m talking about there, you’re on your own. Go read Shriver’s novel.] In all seriousness, I did enjoy Finding Jake much more than I did Shriver’s work. Here’s why.

While it is true that a school shooting does take place, Finding Jake does not necessarily center around it. There are actually three elements to this tale. Obviously, there is the mystery surrounding what exactly occurred at the school; there is the parent/child relationship; and there is the way the world reacts to those who are considered “different.”  Additionally, Reardon spends a healthy amount of time examining traditional sex roles in our society and what it can mean for individuals and families who do not follow the “norm.”

Narrated by Jake’s father, Simon, each chapter in the novel alternates between the present day beginning just after the shooting, and various points throughout Jake’s childhood and adolescence. Readers watch Simon’s journey as a stay-at-home father from the beginning and witness his discomfort among the neighborhood stay-at-home mothers, his doubts about himself as a father, and his longing for his former life outside of the home. Similarly, he examines Jake’s behavior and his differences from other children – his preference to be alone rather than with a group of friends, paying close attention to his friendships with other boys (one in particular of whom he disapproves). After the shooting, we witness the search for Jake and the doubt about his son that blossoms in Simon’s mind – doubts about himself as a father, as well. Reardon doesn’t focus so much on the tragedy at the school as he does the aftermath as it affects Simon and his family, its effects on the community, and actually following the trail of the mystery.

I spent my time reading Finding Jake going back and forth between being slightly bored, and utterly captivated. The vignettes from Jake’s childhood moved slowly and weren’t particularly appealing to me. The present-day vignettes were fast-paced and absolutely shattering. As the tale progressed, both sides moved closer and closer together, holding me rapt until the final, heartbreaking end. Yes, that’s right – this is most definitely not a feel-good book, folks. No warm fuzzies here, so if that’s what you’re looking for, move on. For the rest of you, grab this up at the earliest chance and get your read on, y’all!

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon: Read it today!

4 stars

Source: Lincoln City Libraries

In Which I am Very Inspiring


Y’all, I am so honored to say that I was recently nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by one of my very favorite book bloggers: Cathy at 746 Books! She, and her blog, are awesome and I take it as a compliment of the highest order that she has bestowed this upon me. In order to accept this award, there are a few things I am required to do:

    1. Thank and provide a link to the amazing person who nominated me (check!).
    2. List the rules and display the award in this post.
    3. Share seven facts about myself.
    4. Nominate 10 other amazing blogs and leave them emails/comments to let them know.
    5. Optional: Proudly display the award badge on my blog and follow the blogger who nominated me (check, check!!).

I always cringe when someone says to me, “Tell me something about yourself…” That said, here are seven random facts about moi:

1. I read approximately 4 – 7 books each week.

It’s true, I read like a crazy woman. I have since I was a young girl. Reading is my way of relaxing, of escaping reality and recharging. It is the balm upon my soul.

2. If I didn’t have a book blog, I would try my hand at a homemaking blog.

I love reading homemaking blogs and imagining myself wearing cute little aprons as I expertly care for my home and family. Dorky, I know, but true.


3. I am a homeschooling mom.

I took the leap this past Fall and pulled my son out of public school so we could homeschool. It has been wonderful and I haven’t regretted my decision once. I wish I could have done this years ago.


4. I am addicted to chapstick. Seriously. I need therapy.

This is my current favorite.


5. I am obsessed with vintage linens and quilts.

Sheets, pillowcases, quilts, dish towels, and tablecloths. I adore them. They remind me of my Grandma Choo-Choo. If I had the money I would have them on all my beds and in my kitchen. Etsy would be my playground!


6. I want chickens. Lots of chickens.

A while back, I accidently happened upon this website, and I found my calling in life. Backyard Chickens! Someday I hope to live on an acreage, but until then I just want a small little coop in my backyard with two to three chickens. It makes me so happy just thinking about it. Cluck!


7. I’m moving in three weeks and haven’t even started packing yet.

This is my world. I am the Queen of Procrastination. I can be very orderly and actually have quite a few OCD tendencies, but that’s not until I get started with what it is I need to be doing. Until then, I hide in a corner with a book.


All righty then, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about some of the wonderful bloggers who I adore and admire out there on the interwebs:

  1. Jessica at Quirky Bookworm was the first book blogger I ever discovered, and opened the door to a whole new world for me!
  2. Amanda at Dead White Guys, Etc. is brilliantly witty and never fails to make me think – and laugh quite a bit while doing so.
  3. Kelly at the Well-Read Redhead was one of my first commenters when I first started out, giving me support that I really needed. She’s also a semi-new SAHM and is training for a half-marathon – go, Kelly!
  4. Taryn at Reading With Hippos has an upbeat blog with a great premise – she only writes recommendations vs. reviews. Her mother always told her that if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all – so that’s exactly what she does. Love it!
  5. Matt at A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook has great taste in books and writes awesome reviews. He is also one of the first book bloggers I started following back in the day.
  6. Sarcasm (my favorite!) abounds at The Reader’s Respite. Two other awesome things about Michele: she’s an airline pilot and she can name every character of My Little Pony.
  7. Read Aloud Dad takes his twins’ literature seriously. Reading with kids is a cause close to my heart as well, and I appreciate his dedication.
  8. Heather at Book Addiction reads some mad good books and writes mad good reviews!
  9. Julie at Booking Mama is another SAHM who funnels her passion for books into a blog for all of us voracious readers. She happens to be a runner, too. (What’s with these SAHM runners? Did I miss that part of the job description?)
  10. Serendipitous Readings is a tumblr. blog with tons of great pics and graphics. I love browsing through her site on slow days.


I don’t want to put pressure on anyone. If my chosen bloggers choose not to take part in this, I don’t mind at all. I follow many blogs and find them all inspiring. Thank you to all of you out there in the book blogosphere for doing what you do. Keep fighting the good fight, y’all!



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