Cover image for Jake Riley : irreparably damaged
Jake Riley : irreparably damaged
Davis, Rebecca Fjelland.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 2003.
Physical Description:
265 pages ; 22 cm
The friendship between a troubled boy, recently released from a reform school, and the farm girl who lives next door angers the faculty at their school and leads to a dangerous confrontation.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.1 8.0 71215.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Jake Riley is a nice guy.
Jake Riley is a loser.
Jake Riley is a good friend.
Jake Riley is dangerous.

Everyone has a different idea about Jake. Lainey's friends think he's her boyfriend. Lainey's mother thinks he's sad. Lainey's guidance counselor thinks he is a bad influence on her.

None of these people really know the truth about Jake. Not even Lainey.

By the time Lainey learns the truth about Jake, she no longer has to wonder about one thing.

She knows he's dangerous.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Is it too late forake Riley? The school counselor thinks so, saying the 15-year-old is irreparably damaged. Butake's neighbor and only friend, Lainey, isn't so sure. She has seen his nice side, but now she's also beginning to see something else, something dangerous. Then friendship gradually turns to fear and to hatred as Lainie discovers how damaged--and dangerous--Jake can be. Part psychological thriller, part sexual rite of passage, and part rural realism, the novel is an odd mixture of elements that don't quite cohere, and the psychology, which is so important to character development, seems borrowed from soap operas and Sunday supplements. The story is, however, compelling enough to command attention to the end, and the aspects dealing with rural life in Iowa come across as both authentic and richly realized. --Michael Cart Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This first novel handles strong subject matter with, unfortunately, a less than sure grip. Farm girl Lainey, the narrator, is first met as she and Jake, son of Lainey's dad's temporary farmhand, are "disemboweling" fireflies; soon after, he yanks up her shirt to expose her "tits." Although she's upset-and although she knows that Jake has just been released from reform school-she still agrees to hunt raccoons with him and, later, helps him amputate a squirrel's injured leg. Readers who get past these unappetizing scenes may be frustrated to find Jake and Lainey's developing friendship periodically interrupted by disturbing behavior (e.g., he holds her down against her will). While Davis successfully creates an aura of menace around Jake, she never quite convinces readers of Lainey's ambivalent feelings, and rather too neatly transpires to keep Lainey and Jake in contact. The action gets a sensationalistic spur when Lainey one day goes to check on her baby calves in the barn-and finds Jake in their midst, groaning, his pants unzipped (the author leaves the actual details to readers' imaginations). Jake threatens to kill Lainey if she tells anyone. While Davis eventually makes interesting points about how kids get written off (the school counselor has labeled Jake "irreparably damaged" in his file) and explores Lainey's awareness of the injustices visited upon Jake, these developments come too late. It's hard to imagine an audience for this novel. Ages 14-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Lainey, 14, is being tormented by the son of a worker on her dad's Iowa farm, a boy who has been labeled in his high school counselor's file as "irreparably damaged." Jake's emotional maturity was badly stunted by his experiences in a juvenile-detention facility and he seems to be incapable of acceptable social interaction. When Lainey expresses her fears about him, her mother won't take her seriously and her father assigns both of them chores, believing that hard work is the cure for all the world's ills. Readers are drawn into a drama that feels real despite the novel's flaws-of which there are a few. Early on, Jake rescues a squirrel from certain death by amputating its leg; it's unclear whether this is an act of cruelty or kindness. Jake's threats against Lainey (both sexual and physical) are vivid and menacing for her as well as for sympathetic readers. The school counselor's coldness and the English teacher's insensitivities show Lainey's unreliability as a narrator, while, at the same time, her perceptions seem like those of a scared ninth grader. Her friends run the gamut from one who is socially and emotionally naive to another who becomes sexually active in spite of her own better judgment to a new girl who fascinates Lainey because of her apparent self-assurance. Arcadia's arrival on the scene and her connection to Jake seem tacked on rather than smoothly integrated. Nonetheless, this is a compelling read with credible and complex main characters. An excellent discussion choice.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.