Main character Johnathan finds himself at a moral crossroads after the unexpected death of his older brother Ryan. Searching for answers about the how's and why's of his brother's death that he is not really sure that he wants to find, and being pulled in a myriad of directions by a host of well meaning, but often misguided friends and acquaintances...it soon becomes quite obvious why Johnathan's faith in everything is in question.
Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley
Publisher: Poisoned Pencil
Jonathan Stiles is a 14 year-old atheist who is coping with his first day of ninth grade at the fervently religious St. Soren’s Academy when his idolized older brother Ryan is found dead at the bottom of a ravine behind the school. As his world crumbles, Jonathan meets an eccentric stranger who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus Christ (except for his white linen leisure suit and sparkling gold chains). Jesus Jackson, as he calls himself, offers to provide faith to Jonathan. He also suggests that Ryan s death may not have been an accident after all. Jonathan teams up with Henry, his new best friend at St. Soren s, to investigate. The two boys find footprints leading to the ravine that match Ryan s sneakers. They are assisted by Ryan s grieving girlfriend, Tristan, who also thinks the accident theory is bunk. The police, however, will not listen. But Jonathan knows something the police do not know: Shortly before his death, Ryan was doing cocaine with fellow footballer and number one suspect Alistair not far from the ravine where his body was found. An inspired Jonathan battles sanctimonious school psychologists, overzealous administrators, and a cavalry of Christian classmates on his quest to discover the truth about Ryan’s death and about god, high school, and the meaning of life, while he’s at it. But he keeps getting distracted by Cassie Alistair s quirky younger sister who holds the keys to the answers Jonathan is searching for, but who also makes him wonder if he should be searching for them at all.”
Jesus Jackson is part mystery, part coming of age tale, and part personal spiritual awakening. A book that has the ability to address the very personal issues of death and spiritual beliefs in a way that is not only unpretentious, non-preachy, and highly engaging; is nothing less than spectacular. To do so with a book written for and featuring young adults...is nothing short of amazing.
This is a wonderfully quirky and life affirming look at a journey that every soul must take. If only everyone had their own "personal Jesus" a la white leisure suit.
About the Author:
Hi. I’m James. I’m a writer, editor, and designer of various paper-based and digital things. Since finishing my MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004, I’ve been spending most of my time teaching writing to college students, creating websites about video games, and writing mystery novels about pensive young ne’erdowells. When I’m not obsessively poring over pixels and pronouns, I can usually be found arguing with strangers on the Internet or seeking out adventure with my indomitable wife and two indefatigable daughters.
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