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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 leisur 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."


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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 leisur 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."

30 review for Jesus Jackson

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christian - Curious Quill

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Also, please note that this is a collaborative review with B. Rating: 4 1/2 Jonathan Stiles is a fourteen year old atheist who lost faith in God a long time ago. However, his disbelief in the faith was not prevalent in his youth. Unlike his father, his mother was a devout Christian who instilled faith into her two sons at a young age, but when her oldest child, Ryan, decides that the Bible is nothing but lies in a I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Also, please note that this is a collaborative review with B. Rating: 4 1/2 Jonathan Stiles is a fourteen year old atheist who lost faith in God a long time ago. However, his disbelief in the faith was not prevalent in his youth. Unlike his father, his mother was a devout Christian who instilled faith into her two sons at a young age, but when her oldest child, Ryan, decides that the Bible is nothing but lies in a book that contradicts the knowledge that we have today, like God creating the world in seven days, he tells his younger brother, Jonathan, that it's not real. Jon quickly believes him and drops the love and hope he had in the Lord. These two siblings then enter into a quest in which they are seeking a true religion so that they have something to really believe in again. Compiling a list of what religions can't possibly be true, it seems as though they will never get to the bottom of their mystery. The list keeps growing and growing until the religions available become smaller and smaller. Then the worst possible thing that can happen does: Jon's mother finds the list with Catholicism as one of the top false religions. She goes absolutely ballistic, phoning a special meeting with their priest. The next school year, Ryan, an atheist teen, is forced to go to a Catholic school and be subjected to ideas he does not believe in. 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! This review was also posted here: http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.c...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl M-M

    Where to start? This is the type of book I personally would have enjoyed and embraced in my teens. Specifically when I was going through my own questioning of belief, faith, religion and eventually the subject of atheism, at the age of fourteen. It is actually quite clever the way Daley has incorporated the main plot into the mystery and tragedy surrounding the death of the main character’s brother. Jonathan is consumed by his death of his brother or more specifically how it happened. He is not o Where to start? This is the type of book I personally would have enjoyed and embraced in my teens. Specifically when I was going through my own questioning of belief, faith, religion and eventually the subject of atheism, at the age of fourteen. It is actually quite clever the way Daley has incorporated the main plot into the mystery and tragedy surrounding the death of the main character’s brother. Jonathan is consumed by his death of his brother or more specifically how it happened. He is not only convinced it was a homicide, he is also determined to prove it. The reader meets fourteen year old Jonathan on day of his brothers unfortunate death. He happens upon a strange figure playing imaginary football with himself. The person calls himself Jesus Jackson, and apart from his John Travolta Saturday Night Fever get-up, he looks the part of Jesus. All long scraggly hair, unkempt beard and buckets full of wisdom. One automatically assumes he is a figment of the young boys imagination. An apparition brought on by the trauma, the stress and the confusion of the tragic events. Is it a hallucination or is this a divine message? Perhaps the man himself or a sidekick promising a 100% satisfaction guaranteed deal. The restoration of faith. Now how exactly does one go about doing that with somebody who does not believe in the existence of any type of god? That is the crux of the plot, and a damn fine one it is. It isn't about proving or disproving the existence of anything or anyone. I will leave you to find out exactly what Jonathan finds out about himself and what he believes in. This is an excellent read, one I recommend for both younger and older readers. It challenges the wee grey cells and perhaps help to clarify the murky waters of belief and faith. I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    M. Dobson

    My copy was an advanced promotional edition for review purposes. It will be released by the new imprint The Poisoned Pencil, a division of The Poisoned Pen Press on September 1st, 2014. My own Poisoned Pencil work will be released February 3rd, 2015. Genre: edgy YA contemporary crime fiction Appropriate ages: 14 & up Strongly recommend Quality thoughtful work, not only well written but intriguing from a plot stand point as the main character deals with the death of his older brother. Both he and hi My copy was an advanced promotional edition for review purposes. It will be released by the new imprint The Poisoned Pencil, a division of The Poisoned Pen Press on September 1st, 2014. My own Poisoned Pencil work will be released February 3rd, 2015. Genre: edgy YA contemporary crime fiction Appropriate ages: 14 & up Strongly recommend Quality thoughtful work, not only well written but intriguing from a plot stand point as the main character deals with the death of his older brother. Both he and his brother attend a catholic high school, but neither believes in God. After his brother dies in a possible murder or suicide, the main character runs across Jesus Jackson who promises, for a fee, to help the main character find his faith. Jesus is quite willing to make that any faith you wish. His specialty it turns out is pushing, sometimes literally, his clients into a leap of faith--even our main character who wishes his faith to be nothing at all. A challenge Jesus agrees is challenging, but it's doable. Therefore $12.00 is paid and the contract is made. The idea of incorporating a Jesus figure was not only intriguing, it works extremely well. It might turn off some readers to the work, but it frankly lifted this story up several notches in my critical review. This isn't Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume--but it's a similar quest told from the point of view of a young man facing the loss of his dear brother. I found it as funny as it was touching. The teen relationships were believable and the voice strong. Give this out of the box book a try. I believe you also will enjoy it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bailey

    My collaborative review with C can be seen at http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.com/ here: http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.c... My collaborative review with C can be seen at http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.com/ here: http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.c...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Jonathan Stiles is your typical 14 year old boy who idolized his older brother, Ryan. Growing up, Ryan convinced Jonathan that there is no god and that all religion was false. As Jonathan starts his first day of school as a freshman, Ryan is found dead at the bottom of a ravine behind the school. Jonathan is convinced that it's murder and the murderer is none other than the star of the football team, Alistair. That day, Jonathan meets up with Jesus. Jesus Jackson that is. Jesus Jackson has an unc Jonathan Stiles is your typical 14 year old boy who idolized his older brother, Ryan. Growing up, Ryan convinced Jonathan that there is no god and that all religion was false. As Jonathan starts his first day of school as a freshman, Ryan is found dead at the bottom of a ravine behind the school. Jonathan is convinced that it's murder and the murderer is none other than the star of the football team, Alistair. That day, Jonathan meets up with Jesus. Jesus Jackson that is. Jesus Jackson has an uncanny resemblance to Jesus Christ except he dresses like he came straight from the 1970's - white leisure suit and all. As Jesus learns that Jonathan is without faith in anything, he offers up his services by providing what Jonathan needs - restoring his faith. And this is what this story is about (at least what I got out of it), finding faith to believe in something you can't see or touch. Just that feeling that there is something greater out there and we just have to believe - in something. I think my most favorite quote of the book came from the part where Jesus tricked Jonathan into falling several feet from the bleachers. Although he came out of the incident unhurt, he asked Jesus what would have happened if he had gotten hurt. Jesus replied, ".....it was worth a shot. That taking a leap of faith is always worth a shot. After all, whether you land on your feet or fall on your face, at least you'll know what's on the other side. At least you'll know the truth." Jesus Jackson was an absolute delight to read. The writing is flawless and the story line flowed smoothly. The only thing I did not like is the ending seemed a bit rushed or perhaps I just didn't want the story to end. Either way, this was a touching and meaningful story that will make the reader think outside the box and provide some entertainment along the way. Give this one a shot...you won't be disappointed. A special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an Uncorrected Proof of Jesus Jackson in exchange for an honest review. - See more at: The Avid Book Collector

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janie Chodosh

    My disclaimer is the author and I write for the same press. Now. Moving on. This book is brilliant. I love reading a YA book that has something to say and to think about, and Jesus Jackson has it. The deep and of reflections on faith are deep and often very funny. The characters are well drawn and believable. I especially like Henry and his fear of girls. He is a great foil to the protagonist. This book is beautifully written and the plot makes you both think and turn the pages.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarina

    3,5 Sterne Zum Buchinhalt Jonathan hätte nie erwartet, auf einem Footballfeld Jesus über den Weg zu laufen – und schon gar keinem, der Leinenanzüge und Goldkettchen trägt und mit vollem Namen Jesus Jackson heißt. Aber ein „spiritueller Berater“ taucht wohl gerade dann auf, wenn man ihn am meisten braucht. Denn wem kann Jon die Schuld am Tod seines Bruders Ryan geben, wenn er nun mal an keinen Gott glaubt? Jesus bringt ihn auf eine Idee: Was, wenn Ryan gar nicht verunglückt ist, wie alle behaupten 3,5 Sterne Zum Buchinhalt Jonathan hätte nie erwartet, auf einem Footballfeld Jesus über den Weg zu laufen – und schon gar keinem, der Leinenanzüge und Goldkettchen trägt und mit vollem Namen Jesus Jackson heißt. Aber ein „spiritueller Berater“ taucht wohl gerade dann auf, wenn man ihn am meisten braucht. Denn wem kann Jon die Schuld am Tod seines Bruders Ryan geben, wenn er nun mal an keinen Gott glaubt? Jesus bringt ihn auf eine Idee: Was, wenn Ryan gar nicht verunglückt ist, wie alle behaupten? Was, wenn er ermordet wurde? Entschlossen macht sich Jon auf die Suche nach dem Täter und merkt fast zu spät, dass er die Antwort auf seine Fragen nur in sich selbst finden kann. Meine Meinung Jesus Jackson ist ein ruhiges und nachdenklich stimmendes Buch, das man nicht einfach mal so weg liest, sondern auch einmal beiseitelegt um sich über gelesene Stellen seine Gedanken zu machen und heraufzufinden wie die eigene Meinung dazu aussieht. Der Fokus der Geschichte liegt auf dem Glaube bzw. Nichtglaube an Gott. Unser Protagonist Jonathan bezeichnet sich selbst als Atheist, seit sein Bruder ihm mit 10 Jahren eröffnet hat, dass Gott in Wirklichkeit gar nicht gibt. Eigentlich ist Jonathan davon immer noch überzeugt, doch der Tod seines Bruders sorgt dafür, dass er sich wieder Gedanken darüber macht und überlegt ob und an was er glaubt, denn wenn es wirklich keinen Gott gibt, dann gibt es weder ein Jenseits noch ein Leben nach dem Tod. D.h. es gibt auch keinen Ort an dem sich Ryan gerade befinden könnte. Naja und die Schuld am Tod seines Bruders kann er auch keinem geben. Ich glaube so gut wie jeder von uns, hat sich wie Jonathan schon einmal mit der Frage auseinandergesetzt, ob Gott wirklich existiert. Schließlich gibt es keinen Beweis dafür. Wir können ihn weder sehen noch hören. Die einzige Möglichkeit, die wir haben, ist es an seine Existenz zu glauben; zu glauben, dass es jemanden gibt, der uns zuhört, der auf uns aufpasst und immer zur Seite steht. Im Laufe des Buches hat sich nach und nach gezeigt, was hinter dem Glauben steckt. Der Glaube ist etwas an dem wir Menschen uns festhalten können und das uns hilft wichtige Fragen, die wir hinsichtlich unserer eigenen Existenz haben, beantworten zu können. Es ist viel schöner an einen Gott und die göttliche Fügung zu glauben anstatt zu denken, dass alles willkürlich passiert ist und hinter unserem Leben kein größerer Sinn steckt. Ein weiterer Handlungsstrang beschäftigt sich damit die Umstände von Ryans Tod aufzuklären. Vor allem als Jesus Jackson Jonathan darauf bringt, dass es vielleicht gar kein Unfall war, ist Jonathan davon überzeugt, dass es da nicht mit rechten Dingen zugegangen ist. Zusammen mit seinem Freund Henry beginnt er mit der Suche nach Beweisen für seine Theorie. Erste Anhaltspunkte sind Ryans bester Freund Alistair und Ryans Freundin Tristan, da man schnell merkt, dass sich die beiden irgendwie seltsam verhalten wenn sie auf Ryan angesprochen werden. Sie scheinen mehr zu wissen als sie zugeben wollen. Obwohl ich einen gewissen Verdacht hatte, der sich zum Schluss soweit bestätigt hat, war die Geschichte von diesem Punkt an sehr spannend. Jonathan ist ein wirklich authentischer und vor allem sehr real wirkender Charakter. Mir hat gefallen, dass er sich seine eigenen Gedanken macht und sich seine eigene Meinung bildet, von der er dann auch überzeugt ist, anstatt die eines anderen zu übernehmen nur um nicht aus der Reihe zu tanzen. Seine Entwicklung, die er im Laufe des Buches durchmacht, wurde vom Autor gut und insbesondere nachvollziehbar dargestellt. Ich mochte Jonathan, wenn ich auch nicht sagen würde, dass ich ihn in mein Herz geschlossen habe, dafür ist bis zum Schluss leider eine gewisse Distanz zwischen ihm und mir geblieben. Jesus Jackson ist der wohl interessanteste Charakter im ganzen Buch, was vielleicht daran liegt, dass er ziemlich schräg herüberkommt und nie so richtig greifbar ist. Er sieht zwar aus wie Jesus, entspricht allerdings so gar nicht dem Bild, das die Kirche immer von ihm entwirft. Jesus Jackson (wie er mit vollem Namen heißt) trägt Leinenanzug und Goldkettchen und bietet seine Dienste als „spiritueller Berater“ an. Jonathans erster Eindruck fällt daher nicht gerade positiv aus. Aber mit der Zeit lernt er Jesus zu schätzen, denn dieser taucht immer genau dann auf, wenn Jonathan ihn am meisten braucht. Wenn ich ehrlich bin, hat mich Jesus Jackson meistens ziemlich verwirrt - allerdings hat er auch einige wahre Dinge gesagt. James Ryan Daley spricht ja doch eher ernsthaftere Themen an, aber sein lockerer Schreibstil und die kleine Prise Sarkasmus, die insbesondere von Jonathan ausgeht, haben eine gewisse Leichtigkeit in die sonst so tiefgründige Geschichte gebracht. Besonders gut gefallen hat mir, dass er den Leser auch ein wenig zwischen den Zeilen lesen hat lassen. Mein Fazit James Ryan Daley erzählt mit „Jesus Jackson“ eine tiefgründige Geschichte, die sich vor allem mit dem Glaube bzw. Nichtglaube an Gott auseinandersetzt und dem Leser immer wieder Denkanstöße gibt. Dabei kommt zum Glück auch der Humor nicht zu kurz, was unserem Protagonisten Jonathan zu verdanken ist, der mit seinem Sarkasmus nicht hinterm Berg hält. Doch obwohl mir die Geschichte gefallen hat, muss ich zugeben, dass sie mich nicht voll und ganz zufriedenstellen konnte. Mir hat stellenweise nicht nur der Drang zum Weiterlesen gefehlt, sondern auch die emotionale Verbundenheit. Richtig emotional und bewegend wurde es für mich erst in der zweiten Hälfte des Buches, als sich Jonathan daran macht die Umstände von Ryans Tod aufzuklären.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Check out my full review as well as others on my blog SleepsOnTables Actual rating: 3.5 The first thing to point out about Jesus Jackson is that Jonathan questions pretty much all forms of religion. While he does not ‘bash’ religion per se, he does talk very strongly and passionately about his beliefs, or lack of. Therefore, if that sort of thing irritates you, if you’re religious or not, I’m going to recommend that you save yourself the anger and headache and skip this one. Religious drama is jus Check out my full review as well as others on my blog SleepsOnTables Actual rating: 3.5 The first thing to point out about Jesus Jackson is that Jonathan questions pretty much all forms of religion. While he does not ‘bash’ religion per se, he does talk very strongly and passionately about his beliefs, or lack of. Therefore, if that sort of thing irritates you, if you’re religious or not, I’m going to recommend that you save yourself the anger and headache and skip this one. Religious drama is just as tiresome as political drama. Jonathan Stiles spent the early years of his childhood following in his devout Christian mother’s belief until the day his older brother decides that everything in the Bible is fake. Ryan seems to hang on to the idea that for him, seeing is believing, and for something to be true, it has to be proven true. Simply put, he loses his faith. Ryan and Jonathan then spend time searching for a real religion so that they have something to believe in again. Their mother finds proof of their divergence from her Christian beliefs and decides to send Ryan to a Catholic school to set him straight. Present day, Jonathan is starting his freshman year at the Catholic school when at the end of the first day of school, Ryan’s body is found dead at the bottom of a ravine. Jonathan decides that Ryan’s death wasn’t an accident and meets a strange–who always shows up when he needs him–named Jesus Jackson. Jesus has a business with faith. People pay him to find a faith for them. Jesus convinces Jonathan to try and search for faith as he delves into the mystery surrounding the death of his brother. The most accurate one-word description I can give this book is that it was real. Jesus Jackson does an amazing job of showing how teenagers get to a point when they start to question things they’ve learned and things they’ve always done. Jonathan is as the point in his life where the big question is why? He first questioned things when Ryan told him the Bible was false and ever since then he’s needed tangible proof to believe in anything. It’s a struggle that most, if not all, teenagers go through whether it’s in regards to religion or something else entirely. Another large part of the story besides Jonathan’s beliefs is the mystery surrounding Ryan’s death. This story is as equal parts mystery and thriller as it is self discovery. Jonathan covers every possible lead that he finds and ultimately does whatever it takes to find out the true story behind his brother’s death. You find yourself making predictions about what happened to Ryan and getting caught up in all of Jonathan’s discoveries and in the end, you don’t even expect what happens. It’s very well-written. Jonathan’s struggle is so honest because it’s like through his search for the truth he’s avoiding dealing with Ryan being dead. Granted, he understands that Ryan is dead (see quote below) but he’s confused as to where Ryan is now. He’s faced every day with all these people who tell him that Ryan’s in heaven now but Jonathan sees Ryan being dead as him being stuck in a black void of nothingness. This entire book is an internal struggle and it’s so wonderful to read. As pessimistic and down as Jonathan is sometimes he’s just so true to himself which makes him the perfect character to read. You can also see, with the help of his few back stories to when him and Ryan were younger, how both Jonathan and Ryan really change as people. This is a quick, great read that takes the matter of faith and belief for a person to a whole new realistic level that most people don’t have to deal with, especially at such a young age.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Jonathan Stiles could be any 14 year old until his first day of ninth grade. Some kids love school, are excited to be back with old friends and meet new friends. He is not that kid, and the anxiety he feels is only the tip of the iceberg in Jonathan’s life. His first day includes police tape blocking the path to the dead body of his older brother Ryan. Jonathan is now on his own at the religious school his divorced parents chose for the boys in response to their atheism. His skepticism and disdai Jonathan Stiles could be any 14 year old until his first day of ninth grade. Some kids love school, are excited to be back with old friends and meet new friends. He is not that kid, and the anxiety he feels is only the tip of the iceberg in Jonathan’s life. His first day includes police tape blocking the path to the dead body of his older brother Ryan. Jonathan is now on his own at the religious school his divorced parents chose for the boys in response to their atheism. His skepticism and disdain for any organized religion becomes his armor, shielding him from the pain of his brother’s death, much to the chagrin of his parents and teachers. Ryan and Jonathan began a religious journey, to try to find a religion or a God that they could prove was real. Now that Ryan is dead, his brother believes that death is the end, but on some level it really bothers him. An unlikely friendship develops with a stranger Jonathan meets as he was leaving the scene of his brother’s death. Jesus Jackson is on the football field, dressed in a white linen leisure suit, offering to help Jonathan. Jackson looks surprisingly like Jesus Christ and seems to say just what Jonathan needs to hear by proposing two ideas. The first is a guarantee that he will find an answer to Jonathan’s doubts about his faith by serving up the perfect belief for him. Then he implies that Ryan’s death was murder, not an accident, and urges Jonathan to find his brother’s killer. Henry, Jonathan’s only friend at school agrees to help him do a bit of sleuthing. Unfortunately, it involves stalking and trying to gather clues to take to the police from Alistair, the jock they suspect had something to do with Ryan’s death,. As the boys try to get close to him, they realize it might be impossible to collect any evidence proving Alistair’s guilt. No matter the cost, Jonathan is determined to bring Ryan’s killer to justice. As if Jonathan doesn’t have an overflowing plate of worries, the females in his life are creating complications and distractions. His mother is acting “normal” by cleaning, cooking and keeping a fake smile on her face instead of dealing with her son’s death. Ryan’s girlfriend is useful to Henry and Jonathan’s quest to prove Alistair’s guilt, but she is grieving more than anyone in Jonathan’s home and he has trouble dealing with her. Then there is Cassie. She has fallen for Jonathan, but he doesn’t have the time or energy for a girlfriend – until he finds out she is Alistair’s sister. This book is brilliant. The themes could make the story heavy, but the book is not. There is underlying tension with the amateur investigation the boys are conducting as well as the quest to find something for Jonathan to believe in. Humor lightens the crazy events of Jonathan’s world giving the reader and the characters a breather. Daley has written a touching, thought provoking story with characters that come to life as the plot unfolds. They are easy to relate to and identify with. Jesus Jackson is written for Young Adults, but I recommend it for adults also. The thought provoking plot moves quickly, but makes the reader think long after reading it. It would be the perfect choice for a book club as it naturally leads the reader down many paths of discussion. I am waiting impatiently for a second novel from this talented wordsmith. Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carolin Stürmer

    Als ich die ersten Seiten gelesen habe, habe ich zunächst befürchtet, dass ich eine Art Bekehrungs-Geschichte vor mir habe. Aber dem war nicht so. "Jesus Jackson" ist ein durchaus sympathischer Roman, der Beachtung finden sollte. Jonathan hat gemeinsam mit seinem älteren Bruder Ryan vor Jahren beschlossen, dem Glauben abzuschwören. Als sein Bruder plötzlich bei einem Unfall stirbt, fällt es Jonathan schwer das Warum zu verstehen. Ihn ihm keimt der Verdacht auf, dass sein Bruder ermordet wurde. Er Als ich die ersten Seiten gelesen habe, habe ich zunächst befürchtet, dass ich eine Art Bekehrungs-Geschichte vor mir habe. Aber dem war nicht so. "Jesus Jackson" ist ein durchaus sympathischer Roman, der Beachtung finden sollte. Jonathan hat gemeinsam mit seinem älteren Bruder Ryan vor Jahren beschlossen, dem Glauben abzuschwören. Als sein Bruder plötzlich bei einem Unfall stirbt, fällt es Jonathan schwer das Warum zu verstehen. Ihn ihm keimt der Verdacht auf, dass sein Bruder ermordet wurde. Er macht sich auf die Suche nach der Wahrheit. Unterstützt wird er dabei unter anderem von Jesus Jackson, dem er kurz nach dem Tod seines Bruder zufällig begegnet. Der spirituelle Berater versucht ihn auf seine Weise auf den richtigen Weg zu lenken. Um es gleich vorweg zu nehmen: In diesem Buch geht es nicht um den Glauben an Gott, um Religion oder Spiritualität. Der Glaube an Gott soll einen nicht näher gebracht werden. In James Ryan Daleys Geschichte geht es um den Glauben an sich. Denn an irgendetwas muss man ja glauben, oder? Jonathan jedenfalls glaubt an gar nichts. Als er neun Jahre alt war, hat er gemeinsam mit seinem Bruder Ryan entschieden, dass alle Religionen Humbug sind. Er bezeichnet sich selbst als Atheist und zieht sich damit den Groll seiner streng gläubigen Mutter auf sich. Er muss auf eine christlich-geprägte High School gehen und wird auch sonst von seiner Mutter in einen Glaube hineingedrängt. Als sein älterer Bruder stirbt, kann Jonathan seine Trauer zunächst nicht richtig erfassen. Er kann das "Warum" nicht begreifen und macht sich auf die Suche nach dem "Wie". War es wirklich nur ein Unfall? Er fängt an zu ermitteln und entwickelt dabei detektivischen Spürsinn. Als er sich in die Ermittlungen verrennt, ist er aber auch kurz davor, sich selbst zu verlieren. Der Titelgeber "Jesus Jackson" ist oft ein wenig blass in dieser Geschichte. Von ihm hätte ich mir mehr Auftritte gewünscht, denn seine Rolle ging für mich doch etwas unter. Auch Jonathan war trotz seiner Präsenz an manchen Stellen etwas unscheinbar und für mich nicht greifbar. Der Schreibstil des Autors ist locker und jugendlich gehalten. Es passt zum Buch und zur Handlung. Wir erleben die Geschichte aus Jonathans Sicht. Abwechselnd berichtet er aus der Vergangenheit, der gemeinsamen Zeit mit Ryan, und von der Gegenwart. Diese Übergänge waren nicht extra gekennzeichnet, sondern eher Gedankensprünge, die Jonathan hatte. Dadurch erfährt man ein wenig mehr von Ryan und deren gemeinsamen Weg sich mit Religionen und dem Glauben nach irgendwas Greifbaren auseinanderzusetzen. Das ganze Geschehen ist ruhig, nicht sonderlich actiongeladen oder spannend. Die Handlung wird durch die Gedanken von Jonathan getragen. Man kann sagen, dass es ein Buch der leisen Töne ist und damit dieses Buch durchaus liebenswert. Am Ende bleiben viele Fragen offen, denn es gibt nicht auf alles Antworten. Besonders nicht auf die Frage nach dem richtigen Glauben. Aber ist das wichtig? Gibt es da überhaupt eine richtite Antwort darauf? Ich nehme für diese Antwort ein Zitat aus dem Buch: "Es ist egal, woran Du glaubst. Hauptsache Du glaubst an irgendwas". Das besagt doch alles und es steckt viel Wahres drin. "Jesus Jackson" ist ein Buch das zum Nachdenken anregt und nicht mit einer actiongeladenen Handlung protzen muss. Mir hat der Umgang und die Auseinandersetzung mit Religionen sehr gut gefallen. Leider wurde ich trotz allem mit der Handlung und den Protagonisten nicht immer warm. An einigen Stellen hätte ich mir einfach mehr Tiefe gewünscht. Von mir gibt es 3 Sterne!

  11. 4 out of 5

    So, I Read This Book Today

    Honestly, I don't quite know how I ended up with this book. It isn't something I would normally read, which means that, as Queen of Procrastination, it was destined for that moment when guilt drives me to catch up on the books-I-don’t-want-to-read-but-I-said-I-would-so-pull-up-the-big-girl-panties-and-do-it. Reading the book, I can see where the religious sort would like a book that speaks to the question of faith and it’s effect on agnostics and atheists. In this case, a 14-year old boy and his Honestly, I don't quite know how I ended up with this book. It isn't something I would normally read, which means that, as Queen of Procrastination, it was destined for that moment when guilt drives me to catch up on the books-I-don’t-want-to-read-but-I-said-I-would-so-pull-up-the-big-girl-panties-and-do-it. Reading the book, I can see where the religious sort would like a book that speaks to the question of faith and it’s effect on agnostics and atheists. In this case, a 14-year old boy and his brother who find themselves in an ultra-religious school, just before the older brother is murdered. In a way, it is not just religion that is in question in the book, but also that constant teenaged question, ‘why am I here?’ Of course, we all suffer the same question at many times during our lives, but it is understandably an urgent question during the difficult teenage years, when so much of life begins to change, when ‘who am I’ is as important as ‘why am I here?’ The story sums up, for me, in a conversation between Father Kevin, the school priest, and Johnathan. I told him that it didn’t matter how many gods he read about, he would always come back to the fact that believing in God-in any god-requires faith. And faith means believing in something you cannot prove. Overall, I would only recommend the book to those who don’t think as I do, that the cosmos is a giant experiment, an unknowable conscious beyond our comprehension, beginning over and over again, searching for an unknowable answer to an unknowable question. Creation, study and obliteration, time and time again. What vanity, to think we small, vicious animals could be of any interest to a consciousness so vast? I received this book from the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are not influenced by this fact. If you enjoyed my review, please click “This review was helpful” at Amazon.com. Thank you!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    I had such hopes for Jesus Jackson. It has an original premise combined with an unusual character, but I was disappointed. The story is half mystery thriller and half crisis of faith coming of age. The mystery is pretty good. Jonathan's older brother, and star of the football team, is found dead. Police rule it an accident. Jonathan is convinced Ryan was murdered by a teammate. He decides that if the police aren't going to find the killer, he will. The crisis of faith story falls flat. Both Jona I had such hopes for Jesus Jackson. It has an original premise combined with an unusual character, but I was disappointed. The story is half mystery thriller and half crisis of faith coming of age. The mystery is pretty good. Jonathan's older brother, and star of the football team, is found dead. Police rule it an accident. Jonathan is convinced Ryan was murdered by a teammate. He decides that if the police aren't going to find the killer, he will. The crisis of faith story falls flat. Both Jonathan and Ryan had recently decided they were atheists. Now Jonathan is distressed. What happens to atheists when they die? Jonathan can't bear thinking Ryan just goes away. Jonathan comes across as a very authentic teen grieving and trying to make sense of a tragic loss. The character of Jesus Jackson is supposed to help Jonathan figure out what he really believes and come to terms with his brother's death. Jesus Jackson is a spiritual guru who just happens to show up the day Ryan dies. His character is not developed at all, and the conversations he has with Jonathan are mostly self-help book cliches. He comes across as preachy and emotionally empty. Jesus Jackson could have been a fascinating character. Teens who like books that make them think will probably love Jesus Jackson. Teens who like a good mystery thriller will enjoy most of the story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Prince William Public Libraries

    A firm atheist, Jonathan Stiles is trying to cope with starting at a religious private school when his older brother, Ryan, is found dead in a ravine behind the school. Meanwhile, Jonathan meets Jesus Jackson, of all places, on the football field. Strongly resembling Jesus Christ—except for the white track suit and gold chain—the mysterious Jesus Jackson suggest that Ryan’s death may not be an accident at all. Oh, and that he is in the business of guaranteeing 100% faith in anything. Spurred by A firm atheist, Jonathan Stiles is trying to cope with starting at a religious private school when his older brother, Ryan, is found dead in a ravine behind the school. Meanwhile, Jonathan meets Jesus Jackson, of all places, on the football field. Strongly resembling Jesus Christ—except for the white track suit and gold chain—the mysterious Jesus Jackson suggest that Ryan’s death may not be an accident at all. Oh, and that he is in the business of guaranteeing 100% faith in anything. Spurred by this strange encounter, and with the help of his friend Henry and Ryan’s bereaved girlfriend Tristan, Jonathan sets out to find the truth. “Jesus Jackson” was a satisfying read with rich characters, and it was interesting to witness Jonathan’s ambivalence regarding faith as well as his struggle in dealing with his brother’s death. This is not Christian fiction—there is plenty of profanity and there are no neat resolutions—but a good, solid read for anyone who appreciates debate about faith and religion in its many forms. Recommended for high school and up. –Tracy M. Click here to find the book at the Prince William County Public Library System.

  14. 4 out of 5

    JOCA

    The writing style and the characters were not engaging. This was a DNF for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Interesting concept, but I think it doesn't quite accomplish what the author intended. Jonathan's grief (albeit a stunned, angry grief) at his brother's death is understandable, as is his desire to find out who is responsible for that death - Ryan couldn't possibly have merely fallen, right? The "investigation" is a mix of funny, inept and confused, all totally believable. I enjoyed meeting Cassie and Tristan, but Harry and Alistair were a bit stereotyped. It's the insertion of the pact he makes Interesting concept, but I think it doesn't quite accomplish what the author intended. Jonathan's grief (albeit a stunned, angry grief) at his brother's death is understandable, as is his desire to find out who is responsible for that death - Ryan couldn't possibly have merely fallen, right? The "investigation" is a mix of funny, inept and confused, all totally believable. I enjoyed meeting Cassie and Tristan, but Harry and Alistair were a bit stereotyped. It's the insertion of the pact he makes with Jesus Jackson that doesn't quite work. Jesus, much like minor devils, agrees to a pact of sorts with various people, in this case helping Jonathan find 100% faith in nothing. The discussions they have are fine, but the ending discussion seemed rushed and a bit confusing. I'm not sure I bought it, and doubt the intended readers will either. ARC provided by publisher.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie Horner

    ARC sent to me by Publisher. Interesting. Ryan dies the day before High School starts for Jonathan. Ryan is Jonathan's older brother. The brothers go to a Catholic High School. Jonathan is not too happy about that. He and Ryan had an understanding. Or, so he thought. Did Ryan die the way the Police are saying? Jonathan doesn't think so. He knows something, but doesn't want to "rat" his brother out. But, more importantly, where is Ryan now? In jogs Jesus into Jonthan's life. *****I found the story ARC sent to me by Publisher. Interesting. Ryan dies the day before High School starts for Jonathan. Ryan is Jonathan's older brother. The brothers go to a Catholic High School. Jonathan is not too happy about that. He and Ryan had an understanding. Or, so he thought. Did Ryan die the way the Police are saying? Jonathan doesn't think so. He knows something, but doesn't want to "rat" his brother out. But, more importantly, where is Ryan now? In jogs Jesus into Jonthan's life. *****I found the story line interesting, but had a little difficulty with the language Jonathan uses. He makes him older than what he is and boys at that age don't seem to be able to grasp the whole "religion" issue.*****

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Kuntz

    This book is about a teen atheist named Jonathan who is beginning his first year at a catholic high school when his brother dies. He and a small group of friends headed by a mysterious "religious contractor" try to find the real facts behind his brothers death. This book was very bland. At the beginning I found that the dialogue was super uninteresting and unrealistic. I was turned off by page 30 but still had to read it. The only good part was the ending because it really picked up the pace. I This book is about a teen atheist named Jonathan who is beginning his first year at a catholic high school when his brother dies. He and a small group of friends headed by a mysterious "religious contractor" try to find the real facts behind his brothers death. This book was very bland. At the beginning I found that the dialogue was super uninteresting and unrealistic. I was turned off by page 30 but still had to read it. The only good part was the ending because it really picked up the pace. I felt like the whole book was made for a certain exact series of 20 pages. I didn't like many of the characters but was particularly intrigued by Cassie despite how annoying she could be. I think this books target audience is like a 15 year old angsty kid who is made to read a book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Gallman

    We've all experienced that moment when we question our faith, whether it be in humanity, goodness, or God. Usually that moment occurs shortly after a tragedy when nothing makes sense, and we feel lost. It's not until someone, or something, comes along in the midst of our despair to lift us up that we realize our faith wasn't lost, just misplaced. Such is the case for 14-year-old Jonathan Stiles. When Daley's debut novel opens, Jonathan is explaining that older brother and high school football sta We've all experienced that moment when we question our faith, whether it be in humanity, goodness, or God. Usually that moment occurs shortly after a tragedy when nothing makes sense, and we feel lost. It's not until someone, or something, comes along in the midst of our despair to lift us up that we realize our faith wasn't lost, just misplaced. Such is the case for 14-year-old Jonathan Stiles. When Daley's debut novel opens, Jonathan is explaining that older brother and high school football star Ryan was found dead in a ravine. Even before Ryan's death, Jonathan had questioned his faith in God; he even declared himself an atheist. Read my full review at reviewscomingatya.blogspot.com.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Jaimet

    I won't give a star-rating to this book since the author is published by my publisher, and it would be a bit of a conflict of interest. But I will say that I thought it was well-written and thought-provoking. It was an unconventional mystery, focussing less on the "whodunit" aspect, and more on the main character's search for meaning after his brother's death. I won't give a star-rating to this book since the author is published by my publisher, and it would be a bit of a conflict of interest. But I will say that I thought it was well-written and thought-provoking. It was an unconventional mystery, focussing less on the "whodunit" aspect, and more on the main character's search for meaning after his brother's death.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amie

    Very thought provoking.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Lunney-Boyd

    Very impressed with this short read. http://littlemisstrainwreck.com/2014/... Very impressed with this short read. http://littlemisstrainwreck.com/2014/...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Inner turmoil of a teenage boy, intricately woven story, character that is memorable....yes, yes and yes! This book has them all! The author does a great job conveying emotion with words.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Pretty good, it kept me reading. I think the author must know the song, The Jogger, by Bobby Bare. The Jesus in this book reminded me of the song, anyway.

  24. 5 out of 5

    bookish_rat

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Klein-Collins

  27. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Read "Coaltown Jesus" instead. That's the book he stole from. Read "Coaltown Jesus" instead. That's the book he stole from.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lector

  29. 4 out of 5

    Keila Dawson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

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