Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Finding Jake

Finding Jake
By Bryan Reardon
William Morrow February 2015
272 pages
Received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher

Finding Jake

Simon Connolly has been a stay-at-home dad for the past sixteen years. While he occasionally feels awkward among the other parents in the neighborhood or dreams of going to an office to work with other grownups, he knows that the time spent with his children Jake and Laney is invaluable. One day, he gets a terrifying text that states there has been a shooting at the high school. All parents are asked to report to a nearby location. Laney goes home with her mother and one by one, parents are reunited with their children. Simon sits all alone, waiting for his son. Where is Jake? What really happened at the school?

Finding Jake moves in dual narratives, As Simon panics and tries to find his son, he thinks back to his childhood and all of the times that they shared together. In particular, he thinks back to the advice he gave his son to be kind to the kids who don't fit in. But when Jake befriends Doug, Simon feels that something just isn't right. His hunch seems to be confirmed when Doug is named as the shooter and Jake is named as his suspected accomplice.

This topic is one that strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. The safety of our kids is our first priority and the thought that they could be harmed at school is terrifying. This story also tackles the problems of a 24 hour new cycle. Jake (and his family by extension) are immediately vilified, even before the police have solid evidence that he is involved. 

I really appreciated that our protagonist is a stay at home dad. Author Bryan Reardon stayed home with his kids for eight years and knows how it feels to be the only dad in the bunch. Because of this, Simon feels like a realistic character as he tries to do his best for his children, maintain a strong relationship with his working wife, and come to terms with his feelings about being the one at home. 

While I sometimes had trouble really connecting with Simon, I was always on the edge of my seat. The tension builds throughout each chapter as he thinks back on his years raising his son. Could his beloved son actually be a murderer?  How much can we as parents influence our children towards becoming good people? How well do we know our children?

Wondering what other readers thought of Finding Jake? Find more reviews here


  1. Sounds thrilling, in an edge-of-your-seat kind of way! I like stories like this, because it really challenges the reader to think about their own life, or to apply a situation to theirs. What would I do if I was in their situation kind of thing.
    I've been seeing this everywhere so I might have to try it out.

  2. Great review! This sounds like an intense book. I remember receiving the advice to be kind to the kids who don't fit in. It's advice that I now give to my own children (it remains to be seen how well they "fit in" too, depending on the crowd and how these early friendships develop). While I do believe that every child deserves a chance and that we can't judge people, I have to admit that I have worried about my kids falling into the so-called "wrong crowd" as a result of my advice. I don't worry about it much, but the thought has occurred to me.

  3. Oh my gosh that's so incredibly scary! I can't imagine being in Simon's situation - that is sheer terror to even consider. What an intense read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  4. Wow, this sounds like an intense read. I like that the author could draw on his own experience to write a realistic main character.

  5. A great review, Lindsey. I have had this on my radar but haven't heard much about it. Now I am really intrigued!