Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
I was reluctant to pick this one up, but the buzz about it was really good and (I cringe to admit this was a reason) it was short. I shouldn’t have doubted the buzz this time; this is a new twist on an often told story and one that should be read.
Jake is different. He’s quiet, shy, a typical introvert. He gets along great with his sister and most of his friends are good kids according to his father. Doug is the doubtful friend. The one dad doesn’t like and can’t quite put his finger on why. But he always told his son to be nice to everyone, so he can’t really squash the budding friendship.
Simon is Jake and Laney’s dad. He’s also an introvert, cringing at the thought of playdates, and he’s a stay at home dad. His wife is a successful lawyer so the role reversal made fiscal sense but he still struggles with it even after more than a decade of raising the kids and working from home. He wonders if he’s doing a good job as a dad.
One morning the call comes in. Simon races to the school to find utter chaos and SWAT teams. He, his wife and daughter and other family members of children at the school are asked to wait in a nearby church. As people leave in relief or grief Simon remains. Witnesses saw two boys enter the school, one was Doug and one is believed to be Jake. Doug is dead and Jake is missing. Simon knows that to find the truth, to prove to himself and everyone else that Jake truly is a good kid the only thing that matters now is finding Jake.
I’m not going to tell you what happens, even though you’ll have inklings throughout the book. It’s the character studies and the reactions of people that are so interesting. Would you doubt your own kid? Are introverts prejudiced against? How would you react to what the media was feeding you? All interesting questions that the author tackles while everyone tries to find Jake and the truth.