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Thursday, June 28, 2018
Snap by Belinda Bauer
This is my first book by Belinda Bauer, but I will be looking for more. Snap had me engrossed from first to last.
When their car breaks down, Jack and his two younger sisters are told to wait while their mother walks to phone for help; it is 1998 and not everyone had cell phones. Ten minutes turns into hours in the hot car, and finally the children decide to get out and find their mother. What they find is the dangling receiver of the emergency phone. Eleven-year-old Jack immediately senses that something has gone terribly wrong.
A few days later, the body of their pregnant mother is discovered; the family disintegration is rapid. The father that Jack depended on is unable to cope, and Jack is angry. Angry at the mother who "left" them and at the father who spends his time crying and who eventually abandons his children to fend for themselves.
Forced into being responsible for his younger sisters, Jack does everything he can think of to prevent authorities from realizing that the three children are now on their own. The idea of being taken in by social services is unbearable, and Jack finds a kind of security from the most unlikely of sources. His weird savior is Louis, who introduces Jack to thievery. Learning to break into homes (Louis knows when the families will be absent), Jack becomes a skilled burglar and Louis acts as the fence.
While still a bit of a hand-to-mouth existence, Jack is able to keep the family together and fed, and The Goldilocks Burglar frustrates police.
When Jack is fourteen, he burgles a home that isn't empty and finds a knife that he is certain is the one that killed his mother. This is the inciting moment that changes the course of the story.
Snap is an unusual mystery filled with intriguing characters. Some of the characters that I initially disliked unexpectedly grew on me, that alone is a positive. I found it an engrossing read that slowly connected several different threads. In spite of the emotional aspect of a young boy doing his best to deal with his grief and the burden of responsibility to his sisters, Bauer manages to include some humor by including the unpredictable elements of human nature and relationships.
Read in May. Blog review scheduled for June 28.
July 13, 2018. Print length: 352 pages.