REVIEWS+

Super Jake and the King of Chaos

288p. Running Pr. May 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780762466153.
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Gr 4–7—Ethan is an aspiring magician who has been practicing magic since fifth grade and performs for children's birthday parties. He has two younger brothers: Freddie, who can be annoying, and two-year-old Jake, who was born with a neurological disorder. He loves his family, but sometimes feels that life isn't always fair with a brother whose needs consume the family. Ethan wants to perform in front of a real audience and maybe even meet his hero, Magnus the Magnificent. His dreams have the possibility of coming true when he learns about a competition in Atlantic City. He begs his parents to let him attend. They finally agree and then Jake falls gravely ill. His parents are at the hospital for days, so Freddie and Ethan are shuttled to and from their grandparent's, neighbor's, and friend's. There is a great support system for the family as they endure this stressful period. Ethan's mother arranges for a neighbor to accompany Ethan to the competition. He performs perfectly and makes it to the finals. When he calls home to let everyone know, he gets devastating news. Jake has had a setback and no one is sure he will survive. Ethan is torn. Should he finish the competition and possibly have his dreams come true? Or does he go home to support his baby brother? Readers will feel his frustration and fear while rooting for this loving family. Back matter includes instructions for performing some of the magic tricks that are mentioned in the novel.
VERDICT A strong family story for realistic middle grade fiction shelves.

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