Ethan has spent countless hours perfecting his magic act. Of course, that’s when he’s not focused on his little brother with special needs, Jake, and his constant hospital visits. His practice pays off when he gets the chance to enter a magic competition in Atlantic City, with the grand prize of meeting his idol, Magnus the Magnificent. But when Jake becomes seriously ill, Ethan searches for any trick that might help him.
There’s no better character to tell this story than Ethan. Funny, determined, and always interesting, Ethan’s love of magic makes him a born entertainer. Author Naomi Milliner has managed to find such a natural voice in Ethan, and his enthusiasm and, in turn, growth is palpable on the page. Whether Ethan’s recounting working on a trick or stretching Jake’s arms and legs, Milliner writes from such a believable and honest perspective.
And there’s plenty Milliner throws at him. Family responsibilities, including two little brothers. A magic competition. A school bully. Math class. Yet Ethan handles all of this with the optimism that only someone who believes in true magic can. This certainly makes the second half of the book, particularly its most dramatic moments, all the more impactful.
Though Ethan is an expert showman, the real star of this book is Jake. Jake, though a baby, ties the entire family and their community together. It’s because of him that each character is given a moment to shine. Through therapy appointments, ER visits, and even a birthday, he binds them together as they star in his life.
Ultimately, Milliner has crafted a truly magical book.
Title: Super Jake & the King of Chaos
Author: Naomi Milliner
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: May 07, 2019
Classification: Middle Grade
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.