By Bryan Reardon

William Morrow (February 24, 2015)

Reviewed By Linda Lindsey Davis

finding jakeIn Bryan Reardon’s Finding Jake, Simon and Rachel Connolly are like many other married couples: they have a house in the suburbs and two children. They differ from other couples in that they made the decision 18 years ago for Simon to shift his writing career to be the stay-at-home parent caring for their children, and Rachel, an attorney with a major law firm, would be the one who commuted to work in the city. Their story is told from Simon’s point of view, as he reflects on being a stay-at-home father.

Seventeen years ago, when Jake was born, and then three years later when his sister Lanney arrived, Simon learned to accept being the only father on the children’s playground, in the car pool and at children’s play dates. Over the ensuing years, he adjusted to Jake’s introspectiveness and Lanney’s bubbly outgoing nature. Now Jake and Lanney are in high school and Simon wants to believe he can relax a bit. Then he gets a text message from the high school: there has been a shooting.

Racing to the School, Simon learns Lanney has been picked up by her mother and taken home. He begins the long, slow wait of watching other frightened parents being united with their children, until Jake is the only child missing. A witness says she saw two armed boys enter the school early that morning. Now the other parents are avoiding Simon and the police want to talk to him. They suspect Jake was involved. Over the ensuing four days, Simon reflects again and again on the past 17 years. Did he miss something about Jake he should have paid attention to? Was there something he should have done differently? And where is Jake?

Readers will be reminded of the 2012 Sandy Hook School shootings in Connecticut. Finding Jake explores the fears of every parent with a teenager: Do I really know my child? What is my child capable of? Have I done the right things as a parent? Over the next four days, Simon and Rachel must answer these questions for themselves and each other.

The book is a reminder of the ability of families pulled apart by disaster to come together again. Highly recommended.

LINDA LINDSEY DAVIS is an author and contributing editor of LitChat. Read her complete bio here.