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If Jack's In Love by Stephen Wetta

Saturday, August 13, 2011
A Crime in the Neighborhood, told with the deadpan humor of Nick Hornby-a wonderful novel about a boy genius whose brother may, or may not, be a murderer.

It's 1967. Jack Witcher is a twelve-year-old boy genius living in a Virginia suburb at an address the entire neighborhood avoids. Jack's father has lost his job-again-and he's starting fights with other fathers. Jack's mother, sweet but painfully ugly, works as a cashier at a local market. Jack's older brother is a long-haired, pot-smoking hippie.

If all of that isn't bad enough, Jack's brother suddenly becomes the main suspect in the disappearance of the town's golden boy. And to make matters even worse, Jack is in love with the missing boy's sister, Myra. Mr. Gladstein, the town jeweler and solitary Jew, is Jack's only friend; together, they scheme to win Jack Myra's love. But to do that, Jack must overcome the prejudices, both the town's and his own, about himself and his family.

Goodreads Summary

Jack, the main character, guides the reader through this thought-provoking novel.  He is sincerely sweet and only 12 years old.  He thinks he is in love with Myra, a girl whose brother disappears-Jack's brother is the main suspect.  Jack doesn't really know what to make of this.  He handles it in a mature way for a 12 year old.  No one in their small town has a particularly high opinion of Jack's family as it is, making it all the harder on Jack.

This novel is fast-paced, the events are surprising and enlightening.  Written in a difficult time-the 1960's-this novel is intriguing and touches on quite a few hard subjects.  The ending is bittersweet as well as decidedly perfect for this novel.  This novel is recommended for young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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