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Review: If Jack’s in Love

January 12, 2012

Jack’s family doesn’t have the best reputation – his father is “irregular in his unemployment,” his mother has “a face that belonged in a Dust Bowl documentary,” and his brother, Stan, is a delinquent. Thirteen-year old Jack doesn’t fit in with them, though – he’s smart, kind, hard working, and in love with a girl from the other side of the tracks.

Jack befriends the local jeweler, Mr. Gladstein, who gives him advice on love and things seem to be going pretty well for Jack until Gaylord, the brother of the girl Jack loves, goes missing and Jack’s brother is the prime suspect.

If Jack’s in Love, by Stephen Wetta, is told from Jack’s perspective and it is a delight to read!  There are several diverse threads in the story that seemingly don’t go together, but somehow work in this book. Wetta tackles prejudices – not just racial, but religious and class based as well. He also makes readers think about nature versus nurture – what really makes us who we are?

Jack is the star of the story and he is a fabulous character! He’s the smartest boy in his class and is trying to figure out the ways of the world. He’s in love with Myra and his sweet yearnings are complicated by their class differences. He can’t talk to anyone in his family about his feelings and turns to Mr. Glastein, who is quite a character in his own right. And then there’s Jack’s brother, Stan – much like his father, Stan has a chip on his shoulder and is just itching for a fight.  Jack’s parents are both interesting characters, too, but I must admit that I wasn’t too fond of his father.

The characters aren’t the only great thing about If Jack’s in Love, the story’s captivating as well. I was hooked with the prologue when I realized Gaylord is missing.  I found the book to be entertaining and thought provoking – a winning combination, if you ask me.  I read it for my online book club and we found quite a bit to discuss.  Be prepared to read a while when you start this book because you won’t want to put it down!

Challenges: Amy Einhorn Challenge

Review copy provided by Penguin. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
37 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2012 7:49 am

    I haven’t heard about this book. It sounds very captivating. Thanks for the review.

  2. January 12, 2012 8:11 am

    This one has been on my radar, earlier rave reviews peaked my interest. I think I’m going to have to move it up in the TBR pile, because it’s calling my name….good grief…ha ha. Thanks for another wonderful review.

  3. January 12, 2012 8:26 am

    This sounds like a good one. Class issues are something that is often ignored in the United States, but I think it’s there more than we’d like to admit.

  4. January 12, 2012 8:58 am

    This book has been on my list for a while, and after reading your terrific review I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  5. January 12, 2012 8:59 am

    Wow, this sounds fantastic, from the characters to the themes. I’ll have to keep this one in mind.

  6. January 12, 2012 9:08 am

    I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds really good. I’m glad that you really enjoyed it. I’ll have to add this one to my wish list.

  7. January 12, 2012 9:11 am

    This sounds like another winner. I’ll have to add it to my watch list.

  8. January 12, 2012 9:37 am

    I started this, but I didn’t like the family, so I stopped. But people keep saying how good it is!

  9. January 12, 2012 9:49 am

    I have this one, and needed a reason to start it. You have given me some food for thought regarding this book, and now I feel like I want to dig in. Great thoughts and wonderful review today, Kathy. I think I would really like this one!

  10. January 12, 2012 12:13 pm

    I’ve never heard of this one but it sounds good. Another for the list.

  11. January 12, 2012 12:37 pm

    I hadnt actually heard of this one but it sounds great. I love that it’s a mystery but also provides all that stuff to think/talk about.

  12. January 12, 2012 12:37 pm

    Okay, you make this sound so great. It’s going on the by now mythologically huge TBR list. Thanks!

  13. January 12, 2012 12:46 pm

    This sounds like a good read, I’ll have to remember it.

  14. January 12, 2012 12:46 pm

    This one sounds like a wonderful read, thanks for the review today!

  15. January 12, 2012 12:50 pm

    I have this one sitting on my shelf. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

  16. January 12, 2012 1:01 pm

    Seems that there are a lot of layers in this one, and in a good way

  17. January 12, 2012 1:46 pm

    This title is completely new to me (always exciting to find a new book to covet)! I love a book with a fantastic lead character and Jack sounds like a lot of fun.

  18. January 12, 2012 2:10 pm

    I have this one…I hope to read it soon…loved your exciting review!!!

  19. January 12, 2012 2:21 pm

    Looks like a good read!

  20. January 12, 2012 2:28 pm

    It just went on my wishlist, so thank you!

  21. January 12, 2012 3:58 pm

    I like the story line of this one. Sounds like the characters are solid and it seems to have a bit of mystery.

  22. January 12, 2012 4:18 pm

    I was equally charmed by this one.

  23. January 12, 2012 4:20 pm

    Oh I haven’t heard of this book before but it sounds like one i need to get!

  24. January 12, 2012 7:02 pm

    Well shame on me for not getting to this one! It just snuck up on me unfortunately. I guess I will have to get to it at some point because I’ve heard nothing but good about it!

  25. January 12, 2012 7:07 pm

    Kathy, this book sounds really good. I enjoyed reading your review–your enthusiasm for the book is clear. 🙂

  26. January 12, 2012 7:47 pm

    Just the descriptions in the first paragraph made me want to try this one.

  27. January 12, 2012 9:54 pm

    I was going to type almost exactly what Jentter said! The desciption of the parents made me smile and the story sounds very good.

  28. January 13, 2012 6:52 am

    This was one of our best book review discussions.

  29. January 13, 2012 7:05 am

    I agree, you can’t beat entertaining and thought provoking. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  30. January 13, 2012 10:15 am

    I often enjoy books with great young main characters and Jack sounds like one of them! I feel for him coming from the fmily he does, that cannot be easy. I’m glad Jack has somebody outside of his family who he can go to and who will talk to and advise him. The author covers some interesting themes in this book, too.
    When I saw, at the bottom of your post, that this is an Amy Einhorn book, it made sense that it’s a great story! Thank you for this wonderful review, Kathy!

  31. January 13, 2012 5:02 pm

    “a face that belonged in a Dust Bowl documentary,” – that’s enough to put it on my tbr list – what a vivid image!

  32. January 13, 2012 8:03 pm

    I love the sound of this one and your enthusiasm for it!! An added plus is that it’s an Einhorn book!! 😀

  33. January 13, 2012 10:17 pm

    Great review!

  34. January 14, 2012 6:37 pm

    I really didn’t know much about this book but your enthusiasm makes me want to read it. It sounds like a great selection for a group discussion!

  35. January 15, 2012 9:31 am

    You’ve encouraged me to pick this one up. Thanks.

  36. January 15, 2012 9:39 pm

    I’ve seen quite a few reviews for this one, and everyone seems to agree with you! I should definitely put this one on my list.

  37. January 16, 2012 2:08 pm

    I agree with Candace – this definitely inspired one of our best discussions. I don’t think I liked it quite as much as you but it was a really good choice!

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