This review was written by: B and C
Received: Free Arc from Publisher
Publication Date of Book: October 7, 2014
Fast forwarding to present day, Jonathan is now about to start high school at the same Catholic facility that his senior brother has been at for several years now. However, just hours before his first day, Ryan is found dead at the bottom of a ravine behind the school. Starting school in a Catholic environment that's full of people who say that they knew his brother, is just the start of Jon's problems. He believes that Ryan's death was not an accident. He was there a few hours before he died and has suspicions on what may have went down. However, proving himself to be right will not be easy.
Then comes Jesus Jackson, a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to Christ, with the exception of his outrageous clothing style. He always shows up just when Jonathan needs him, and we find out that he has a very interesting occupation. Jesus gives clients faith for money. A free appraisal is even included! When Jon says that he does not want faith because he is an atheist, Jesus tells him that he can give him faith in nothing. Being an atheist requires faith in nothing itself, just like Christianity requires faith in God. Finally giving into Jesus Jackson's faith proposal, Jonathan's journey begins with a delve into the unknown and questions that we all have to answer when facing death.
We absolutely loved this novel! It was a compelling, hard hitting, and emotional read. The situations and questions that Jesus Jackson entails are subjects that countless people, especially teens, go through. Doubts show up in young, and even old, minds and challenge the reality of God and his presence. We believe that Daley addresses these subjects so well and creates a book rich with universal truths. Faith is believing without seeing, and this is the reality that all Christians face. Is it possible to prove that God is there scientifically with a one hundred percent guarantee that everyone will believe it? Of course, the answer is no. This system of reasoning is exactly what's eating and is so hard for Jonathan to see through.
The big question that kept being presented in the story was, if Ryan died and Jon doesn't believe in God then where did Ryan go after he died? Heaven can't be an option because atheists don't believe in Heaven, and the idea of black nothingness is not very comforting to him. For this reason, we see an internal struggle within our protagonist as he figures out what he believes. We feel as though Daley was very honest with this character. Jon felt so real, and we like to think that this was a fabulous portrayal of how a teen would react in this situation. His journey was an honest one, full of earnest feelings and gut wrenching heart ache. The dull attitude and then profound consumption of despair that overtakes Jonathan was well felt by the reader and expertly written.
Jesus Jackson was one of our favorite characters in the story. No one knew of him but Jonathan, leaving a mysterious trail about the origin of this man who bears the same name as Christ. He had such profound thoughts and ideas to tell Jon towards the end of the book and they were very thought provoking. However, I would like to point out that this book does not shove religion and Christian views in the reader's face in such a fashion that it becomes preachy and overbearing. . It's simply an aspect to Jesus Jackson that is approached in the gentlest and deepest of ways.
Overall, we proudly recommend this book to all young adults and even older and younger readers to pick up this book and give it a try. While you may not become hooked right away, give it one hundred pages and you will be whisked away into Daley's amazing masterpiece. If you haven't checked out the book trailer yet, it's amazing! Watch it, read the book, and hopefully experience what we felt!
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