Note – I was provided with a copy of the book for review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No affiliate links were used in this post.
For the synopsis from the publisher and a Q&A with Bryan Reardon, check out my previous post about the book.
Finding Jake is the story of Simon, a stay-at-home dad whose worst nightmare comes true when there is a school shooting at his children’s school. At the end of the day, his son Jake is missing. As Simon tries to set find his son and deal with the fallout of the shooting, he starts to question how well he really knew his son.
As I stated in my previous post, I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it, which was a little surprising for me. I tend to stay away from books about school shootings. It’s something that I’ve talked to other people my age about; the fear of school shootings that we lived with when we were growing up. I still remember Columbine, and other shootings that followed. There were also threats of violence at my school, so books on this topic tend to hit a little too close to home for me.
I also wondered if the book would live up to my expectations. It totally did!
Reardon did a fantastic job of drawing the reader into the story. I was on the edge of my seat as Simon raced to the church with the other parents and waited for word on their children. I felt the horror when Simon realized Jake was missing and as he understood what the reality for his family would be afterward.
I enjoyed reading a book from the perspective of a stay-at-home dad. I appreciated that Reardon worked in Simon’s conflicted feelings about staying at home, while balancing them with these beautiful moments that Simon cherished. It was a perspective that I haven’t seen before and really enjoyed.
I didn’t feel a connection to some of the other characters–most notably Simon’s wife, Rachel. It was something that I reflected on as I read the book, but it didn’t necessarily bother me because I was reading Simon’s story and I felt like some of the distance that I felt was fitting.
I loved that Simon’s narrative went back and forth between memories from Jake’s childhood and what was happening in the present. Reardon wove the past and present together so well and it felt natural all the way through.
I liked the mystery in the novel–questioning with Simon what happened to Jake and what his involvement in the shooting was, if any.
I highly recommend this book. It definitely has a place among my favorites of the year so far.