Monday, April 10, 2017

2 Random Books I Read-- A YA & Backlist Adult Review

Who Killed Christopher Goodman?

When Christopher Goodman is found dead, everyone starts wondering if they played a part in his death.  If the shy stamp-collecting girl with a crush would have just asked him to join her for pizza, if the farm-girl who ran her family's petting zoo at the annual summer fair would have just turned in the suspicious teens with the gun, if the jealous boy would have just given Christopher the note inviting him to the diner.

All these people feel like any of their actions or inactions could have changed the course Christopher was on and the night of Deadwood Days could have ended much differently.  It's the what-ifs that can really get to you when something like this happens.....

This was a total random pick for me.  I'd never heard of it, but I'm a sucker for books with titles like this.  Who Killed Christopher Goodman?  Well, I instantly wanted to know!!

The thing is, we kind of KNEW who killed him right away.  I was hoping for a mystery and what I got was more of a story of how bad things happen-- and the trajectory that puts a person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The book follows 6 teens (including the killer) through the events that lead up to Christopher's death. None of them knew Chris all that well, but they all feel guilt about not preventing his death.  Christopher was kind of too good to be true.  A guy who does his own thing, is nice to everyone and makes them feel at ease, is all-inclusive, and charming in so many ways.  His personality made him the ultimate tragic victim.

I didn't dislike the book, but I also didn't think it was great.  This was more of a case where the story is there, but the writing didn't bring it life.  The only character I really clicked with was Doc, the "sleepwalker" who has a crush on the girl who is crushing on Christopher Goodman.  I thought that the use of multiple perspectives (which I usually love) didn't do anything for the book.  I think Doc's and the killer's should have been the only ones.

OVERALL: I liked it, but wanted more of a mystery (I mean, the title is a bit misleading in that regard, no??).  I thought the idea of the story could have worked, but the writing sort of held it back.  A few more drafts of this book may have been needed.


Date Published: 3/14/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Candlewick Press for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Candlewick Press

My Rating: 2.5/5

Finding Jake

When a shooting happens at Simon's kids high school, he races over to make sure his kids are okay... never thinking one of them could be INVOLVED in the actual shooting.  But Jake is missing, and the police are searching his house.

Simon starts going over everything that happened in the raising of his son to figure out what led him to this point?  Could Jake really have been involved in this?  Is it Simon and his wife's fault?  Does he even know who his son is anymore?

I don't read a lot of Adult books, but this one had me interested.  I don't want to say I like books about school shootings-- because that is super morbid and gross, but I do like reading about the WHY of things like that.  It always interests me to read about people doing things that I can't comprehend.

This book is a lot about Simon-- the stay-at-home-dad-- and his issues with not being the breadwinner.  Throughout his kids lives, he was constantly doubting his choice to stay home, and frankly felt like less of a man because of it.  My thought was-- why do it then??  Once the kids were in junior high, I don't think the need is even there as much.  And do high school kids even need a parent staying home?  Sure, it's nice to have that, but if it's not making you happy, GO BACK TO WORK.

I did like the twists and turns this book took while the parents were looking for Jake.  And I also thought the portrait of the marriage was super realistic.  Marriage is hard-- marriage with kids is even tougher.  All the things that you used to appreciate about your partner become dulled with the stress of responsibilities and just being busy.  I loved how this was shown in the book.

OVERALL: I enjoyed it!!  It was a short read (only 264 pages), and I got into the mystery and the emotion.  I loved the realistic view of marriage that was portrayed, but I wish Simon was a tad less whiney about his gender-role.


Published: 2/24/2015
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins

My Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. Finding Jake is one that I would probably really enjoy. Maybe...if the dad doesn't get on my nerves too much. LOL. That's a bummer that you didn't end up enjoying the first book as much. I hate when it seems like it's going to be a good mystery and then isn't! That's happened to me quite a few times. I hope you enjoy your next reads better!

    1. Simon was a little bit annoying, but not overwhelmingly so. It was a super easy book to read and get into, I definitely recommend!