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Reviewed by Dr. Karen Hutchins Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
For a thought-provoking read, try Jesus Jackson by James Daley. Readers will be immediately struck by the intensity of the issue: 14-year-old Jonathan is at the scene of his brother's death and he is angry, confused and totally unable to cope with the tragedy. Although the death is ruled an accident, Jonathan believes his brother was killed so he and his newly-acquired friend Henry set out to provide the police with proof of a homicide. Jonathan and his brother Ryan have had many religious and spiritual talks and both are supposedly atheists. But then, Jonathan encounters a strange man on the football field where Ryan was a star. The man calls himself Jesus Jackson. He pulls out a business card advertising he can deliver "100%faith" and Jonathan is hooked.
Jesus Jackson is a wonderful book for teens confused about assuming adult attitudes and beliefs. I really appreciated the manner in which author Daley explored various facets of potential belief systems. Jonathan was such a believable young man, wanting acceptance and yet presenting a tough exterior of nonchalance and indifference. Henry was an endearing sort of misfit who also wanted answers to deep questions. The process of grieving was strongly portrayed such that Jonathan and his parents were bound to have to wade through the quagmire of life's pain if their lives were to proceed. The bumbling attempts of others to comfort were realistic and, at times, sad. Although intended for young adults, many adults will also find compassion in and perhaps will identify with the thoughts and feelings of young Jonathan. Readers will sift through the book wanting answers and finding possibilities.