Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The big question here is "Did he... or didn't he..." and it isn't until near the end that we find out what Jake's involvement with the school shooting is. Living relatively near Sandy Hook and reading this shortly after the report about how to deal with the memorial and protect children cam out was a little emotional for me. Having said that, this is a very powerful look at how a child, raised by his stay-at-home introverted dad, a little quiet, into war/gun games, not the most popular kid, can have those qualities used against him in the face of a tragedy (I'm not trying to spoil this! honestly!). But when we look at what's traditionally said about the Sandy Hook, or Columbine, or other school shooting perpetrators, it's "introvert", "quiet", "not popular", etc., and that becomes code for "sociopathic killer" - Reardon faces that issue head on.
What didn't work for me was the ending, which felt as though the author was trying to somehow leave us with a happy ending, and the mother, who was really unsympathetic and at times unnecessarily so.
I'd hesitate to recommend this book to people who couldn't read Room, Descent or news stories about child abductions or school shootings without serious depression.
ARC provided by publisher.