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Super Jake & the King of Chaos

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A debut contemporary novel about 11-year-old aspiring magician Ethan, who discovers that heroes come in all sizes, and real magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

When life revolves around stressed-out parents and ER visits for his special needs little brother Jake, eleven-year-old Ethan escapes to a world of top hats, trick decks, and magic wands. When he hears of a junior magic competition where the top prize is to meet and perform with his hero, Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan is determined to do whatever he needs to get there–and to win.

His dedication and hard work pay off, and he makes it to the top five finalists: his dream really could come true! Then Jake falls dangerously ill and Ethan’s hopes and plans are in jeopardy. As he searches for any sort of magic that might save Jake, Ethan learns what is truly important . . . and what real magic is.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published May 7, 2019

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About the author

Naomi Milliner

2 books71 followers
Naomi’s love of literature led her to an English degree at the University of Maryland; her love of cinema led her to the University of Southern California, where she earned an MFA in Screenwriting. After ten years in Hollywood, her fear of earthquakes (especially hiding under a kitchen table with her baby) led her back to Maryland, where she happily resides with her husband and sons Jeremy and Jesse. Her debut middle grade novel, SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS, was inspired by the chaotic – and magical – goings-on when her youngest son, Jake, was alive. If you’d like to know more about Jake, please visit Naomi’s blog at: https://naomimilliner.wordpress.com/b...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews
Profile Image for Christopher.
219 reviews168 followers
April 23, 2019
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.

Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.

Review also posted at https://pluckedfromthestacks.wordpres...
Profile Image for Gillian.
Author 6 books174 followers
October 12, 2018
I LOVE THIS BOOK! I defy you to read it without laughing, crying, or cry-laughing. This is an absolute must-read. Warm, funny, relatable, and heartfelt with unforgettable characters that you will want to take home with you. On top of that, it's beautifully written and will have you turning pages quickly to find out what happens.
Profile Image for Jess Redman.
Author 7 books269 followers
October 10, 2018
SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS is a wonderful story that will have you laughing and crying and laughing and crying. Ethan, an 11-year-old magician, is the humorous and tender-hearted narrator of the story. He has a first-grade brother, Freddy, full of energy and fun, and a sweet 2-year-old brother Jake. Due to brain damage, Jake is unable to speak or sit or reach out, and he requires a lot of the boys' parents' attention. Ethan loves his brothers, but he wishes sometimes that his magic was real. He wishes his magic could help Jake.

This is a story about a magic competition that takes practice and money-saving and lots of good behavior to get to. It's also a story about family and community. It's about neighbors and grandparents, teachers and occupational therapists. It's about bullies who become friends and Magnus the Magnificent and the Amazing Amelia and Pita Rabbit and crinkly red paper. It's about the realities of growing up with a medically complex family member and all the chaos that can bring. And love too. This is definitely a book about love. It's a very special book.
Profile Image for Lorie Barber.
557 reviews36 followers
January 27, 2019
Devoured this one, laughing, crying, and cheering throughout. Every kid needs to read this story to help them see what really defines a hero. Excellent in every way. Thank you to the author and to Hatchette Book Group for sharing this wonderful work with my #bookexpedition reading group.
Profile Image for Rajani LaRocca.
Author 21 books439 followers
February 19, 2019
This hilarious and heartwarming novel is about Ethan, an 11-year-old magician who wants to win a contest and meet his idol, Magnus the Magnificent. But life isn't always straightforward for Ethan. He has to deal with his little brother Freddy wanting to be part of his act, a bully at school, and the needs of his baby brother Jake, who was born with brain damage and needs special care from family members and health care workers. During the story, Ethan discovers what he really wants the most and what he's willing to sacrifice for it. Inspired by her own life, Naomi Milliner's debut will make you laugh, cry, and see the magic in your own world.
Profile Image for Justin Olson.
Author 1 book65 followers
February 4, 2019
This is such a touching and heartwarming MG novel. I love Ethan, the main character, and his humor and heart. The family dynamics are so loving, and Jake's journey is a tearjerker! If you're looking for a good, wholesome – and, yes, again, heartwarming – story, then get yourself a copy of Super Jake & The King of Chaos!
Profile Image for Veronica Bartles.
Author 2 books153 followers
October 17, 2018
Make sure to read it with a box of tissues!

It's not often that a book can make me both laugh and cry at the same time, but this one did it! Ethan was funny and sincere, but not sappy or unrealistic. My heart ached for him as he tried to be the strong big brother, holding it all together with a brave face while he worried that everything might fall apart. "... every once in a while, if you're fortunate, you get to be a part of real magic." Super Jake is absolutely magical!
Profile Image for Nicole Melleby.
Author 10 books199 followers
January 12, 2019
This book is the perfect balance between heartwarming, uplifting, and heavy, which is a perfect mix for its middle grade audience. Ethan and his family will stick with me for a while.
Profile Image for Jennifer Camiccia.
Author 2 books41 followers
January 9, 2019
I loved this heartwarming story so much!!! Ethan’s devotion and love for his brothers just melted my heart. The whole family was incredible and were so easy to root for.I felt so many varied emotions from sentence to sentence and I was so sad to finish. I wanted to read more about this wonderful family and their connection to each other. Highly recommend!!!!
Profile Image for Gail Shepherd.
Author 2 books85 followers
November 20, 2018
Naomi Milliner's debut novel is based on her own family, and the authenticity of her experience shines from every page. Eleven-year-old Ethan yearns to perform magic tricks and meet his hero Magnus the Magnificent, but family life is complicated: He has an adoring first grade brother Freddy and a baby brother, Jake, who is brain damaged and can't speak or move much. Jake requires nearly round the clock care, along with a small army of therapists and helpers, and a big chunk of the parental attention. While many middle grade books deal with family trauma and dysfunction, Super Jake stands out as a story of a family that remains whole and deeply loving despite trials and setbacks, some of them life-threatening. We ache with Ethan when he doesn't get all the attention he needs because of the daily routines of tending to Jake, but Ethan never loses his kindness, hope, and spirit. He's a *nice*, big-hearted kid in a *nice* big-hearted family, and that foundation gives him the resilience to grow and learn.

One of the most important lessons Ethan learns is that there are all kinds of magic. The real magic of consideration, love, and generosity makes meaning in life well beyond card tricks and slights of hand. Sometimes the dreams we have are not the dreams we need. This lovely, necessary, and heartfelt story is an important one not only for young people growing up in families with special needs kids, but to foster understanding and empathy in all readers.

Bonus: Whoop! Five of the magic tricks Ethan performs in the course of the book are explained with instructions at the end. I expect kids will love this!

Note: I read an advance readers copy provided by the publisher
Profile Image for Remy Lai.
Author 14 books172 followers
December 10, 2018
This book will give you the feels. I love the dynamics between the brothers, and young readers will definitely enjoy all the magic tricks, too!
Profile Image for Cory Leonardo.
Author 2 books73 followers
July 1, 2019
Super Jake & the King of Chaos is a giant hug and a smile, in book form. I absolutely fell in love with Naomi Milliner's caring and committed Ethan, sweet Jake, their tight-knit family, and this perfect MG story. Reminiscent of Wonder, and brimming with hope and heart, the next time you meet a magician, tell him to forget the rabbit and pull THIS BOOK out of his hat. It's magic. (Thought the magic tricks at the end were a fantastic addition!)
Author 1 book12 followers
December 11, 2018
This was awesome. Like, really really awesome. The main character is Ethan, a kid magician, who performs his act at kid parties and the like. He wants to enter a junior magicial contest where the winner meets a famous magician who happens to be his hero, but life gets in the way. Between earning money to pay for the trip, keeping up his grades, and, most importantly, helping care for his little brother (Jake) who has suffered from some developmental issues since birth, Ethan has got his hands full.

What is particularly wonderful about this story is the way the author weaves in Jake's struggles and their impact on the family in a natural way. Jake's family is full of love, and each family member has their own special relationship with Jake. Therapists, doctors, and neighbors are present as well, offering a glimpse into the very realistic way everyone comes together to care and love a special boy. I really enjoyed the relationship Jake has with both of his big brothers: Ethan and Freddy. It's done so well, and never in a heavy handed or preachy way. Plus, the magician competition is nearly always at the forefront, moving the plot along at a very nice pace.

Overall, this is a charming and fun read, and while readers will walk away having learned a couple magic tips, the readers will also likely have a new appreciation for how a family comes together when one of the family's members needs a bit more support.
Profile Image for Lana.
310 reviews21 followers
October 31, 2018
This is a truly magical story about an eleven-year-old boy named Ethan who is quite the budding magician. Ethan performs for birthday parties and practices his act every chance he gets, even when he probably should be working on homework or helping with his brother.

Ethan learns of a magic festival where he could enter a junior magician contest with the winner getting to meet Magnus the Magnificent his idol! He is beyond excited, he just has to convince his family.

Ethan’s youngest brother Jake has severe brain damage which requires lots of extra attention and he is constantly in and out of the emergency rooms. With the contest approaching Ethan has a hard time staying focused on magic as he worries for the health of his baby brother.

Does he make it to the contest or does he give up on magic? You’ll just have to read it and find out! This is an adorable, middle grade book about compassion, acceptance, foegiveness and family bonds. It reminded me about the magic in our everyday lives. ❤️

I received this advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This book will be published May 7th, 2019.
Profile Image for Erika.
20 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2019

Happy Book Share Saturday! This brand new book from Running Press Books was a joy to read.

Ethan is the oldest of three boys. His youngest brother, Jake, has special needs and his health and care is a focus for the family.

Ethan is obsessed with magic and gets the opportunity to compete in a magic competition. The Grand Prize? To meet his hero, Magnus the Magnificent. Ethan trains and overcomes a lot of triumphs, including an extended hospital stay for Jake, to get all the way to the final competition.

What Ethan learns along the way, with the help of middle brother, Freddy, is that magic can be real, and your heroes might not be on television. They might just happen to live in a bedroom down the hall.

I adored this debut novel by Naomi Milliner. She writes from personal experience— her youngest son, Jake, was the inspiration for this book. A word of caution— there are difficult themes and some talk about mom being the Tooth Fairy. It was just released May 7, 2019 and would be a great addition to any 4th grade+ bookshelf. @runningpressbooks #runningpressbooks #superjakeandthekingofchaos #naomimilliner #booksforkids
Profile Image for Martha.
1,257 reviews9 followers
December 23, 2020
Ethan the oldest in a family of three boys, already has his life planned out. He's going to be a famous magician just like his hero Magnus the Magnificent. He's already performing magic shows at birthday parties, and the kids love him. Ethan does have a huge goal. He wants to perform at a junior magic competition, with the possibility of meeting the famous Magnus, if he wins the competition. For Ethan, this is a lot to ask of his parents. His youngest brother, Jake whose only about two is extremely disabled, needing constant care. He changes the family dynamics because of his severe health challenges. A lot is expected of Ethan to help his mom with him. Yet Ethan has his love of magic, and best friends who encourage him to compete in the junior magic competition. Ethan's compassion when little Jake needs help, and his middle brother, begs to be included in his magic show, Ethan kindly lets him perform in his shows too. As more is required of Ethan to support his family, he needs to make some tough decisions. Ethan is a compassionate character kids will care about and root for. Based on a true story, this gives kids alot to contemplate!
Profile Image for Teresa Grabs.
Author 12 books46 followers
November 6, 2018
Milliner’s tale of Ethan, an 11-year-old magician, and his brothers, Jake and Freddy, is a page-turner from the very beginning. Ethan took up magic after his youngest brother, Jake, suffered complications when he was born. Ethan wants nothing more than to meet his favorite magician in Atlantic City, but that means having to bring his grades up, help around the house, and earn two-thirds of the money himself. Selling his services at birthday services helps earn money, he likes helping Jake and really worries more than his parents realize, but bringing up his grades is made difficult when Ned moves to town.

The journey to Atlantic City is complicated, but with a little growing up, and a lot of understanding, it seems that he may finally get to meet his hero. But life has a little more to teach him first.

Milliner’s heart-warming tale of family, friends, support, and putting things into perspective will leave you laughing, crying, and cheering.

ARC provided by NetGalley.
Profile Image for Wendy.
Author 7 books160 followers
February 5, 2019
Super Jake & The King Of Chaos,
By Naomi Milliner

Eleven–year-old Ethan loves magic and dreams of going to a magic competition to meet his idol. Fiercely protective of his severely brain damaged little brother, Jake, Ethan does everything he can to make him smile, and hopes for the day he might actually hear a laugh.
But when a bully goes after Ethan’s little brother, Ethan has to choose between keeping the peace to attend the magic show, or standing up for his brother which might lose him the chance of a lifetime.
This book touches on working hard to master a skill, saving money for a goal, bullying, correct ways to interact with people with special needs, friendship, loyalty, and the importance of family.
Naomi Milliner’s debut is perfect for the classroom or a family-friendly read. I highly recommend Super Jake & the King of Chaos.
I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kirsti Call.
Author 6 books58 followers
April 10, 2019
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

"I am stone, like Merlin.
I am trapped, like Jake.
There are so many things he'll probably never do, but he smiles anyway--even all those times I let him down and don't stretch him. Even when I said I did...but I didn't."

Just. Wow. This beautifully written debut novel by Naomi Milliner is hilarious yet heartwarming. Milliner expertly writes the feelings of an 11 year old boy in an engaging and authentic way. Ethan's love for magic is only rivaled by his love for his brothers. And his story is well worth reading. The complex relationships and engaging plot create a powerful and moving read that will stay with me for days to come.

This is the kind of story that will resonate with everyone! It will evoke tears and laughter and discussion on special needs, illness, family, loyalty, friendship, bullies, goals, dreams, kindness and empathy. Don't wait. This is a must read for all.
Profile Image for Joshua Levy.
Author 5 books81 followers
June 16, 2019
I admit: I read SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS a little while ago (not always easy to find the time to review). But it's stuck with me: The emotion; the humor; the spot-on middle-grade voice. Eleven-year-old Ethan wants to throw himself into his great love--magic. He works gigs at birthday parties and aspires to meet one of his magician heroes. But Ethan's life is complicated, in no small measure due to the care provided to his little brother, Jake, who needs round-the-clock special needs attention. SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS--a book about family, personal passions, sacrifice, and the joy of helping others--is bursting with heart and hope.

The takeaway? There are all kinds of magic: Ethan's slight-of-hand, yes. Jake's and his family's resilience, absolutely. But also Naomi Milliner's SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS. The book is magic itself. This particular grown-up adored it; and I know others, kids especially, will feel the same.
1 review
June 26, 2019
In my view, this book is eminently worth reading. Although it is classified as a book for middle school aged children, I personally found it to be charming and meaningful for all age groups. For a grownup such as myself, it provides a special journey into the past, into the childhood years, with both their highs and lows.
The book is filled with heroes. Of course, there is little Jake, born with severe disabilities, but whose bright spirit is apparent to all. There are also his big brothers, Ethan and Jesse, whose love and devotion are readily apparent. The parents of the three boys, Ethan's teacher, the neighbors of the family, the professional magician, and Jake's remarkable therapists--all are heroic figures who inspire the reader. There is even an erstwhile enemy of Ethan, who eventually becomes a friend.
In spite of the tough topic of a disabled baby, the book is filled with light.
Profile Image for Katie Reilley.
780 reviews26 followers
April 7, 2019
Thank you so much to the author and Running Press Books for sharing a copy of this amazing book with our #bookexpedition group!

Ethan loves magic. He performs at local birthday parties and works hard at perfecting his craft. But no about of magic can help his youngest brother Jake, who was born with a neurological disorder that doesn’t allow Jake to talk or move on his own. When Jake gets very sick, Ethan searches for the magic that will help his brother pull through.

Not only is this a terrific book about a boy who loves all things magic and would do just about anything to meet his favorite magician, but it’s also a story about the relationships within a family and the village that surrounds them. Beautiful middle grade novel about what truly makes a hero. A must buy for any middle grade classroom library. Publishes May 7, 2019.
44 reviews3 followers
February 6, 2019
I was lucky to get my hands on an advance reader's copy of this novel and I'm so thrilled I did! Super Jake and the King of Chaos is a heartwarming story about family, courage, and pursuing your dreams, even in the face of hardship. One of the most brilliant aspects of this novel is that the author gives readers an honest look into life with a young sibling who has brain damage. There's no sugar coating or glossing over--but in the end this creates a sense of love that is powerful and real. Ethan is a protagonist who children everywhere will relate to, and the mature, kind-hearted way he learns to overcome his family's difficulties will empower those who need it the most. This book is magical.
Profile Image for Brian Weisfeld.
Author 7 books44 followers
January 21, 2019
I had the GREAT pleasure of reading the ARC of Super Jake and The King Of Chaos. I am so thankful to Naomi Milliner for sharing this gripping, funny, touching story. My family probably doesn’t appreciate the book as much as I do because I was a fairly neglectful parent while reading the book. My kids got so tired of hearing “let me just finish this chapter” that my 11 year old picked up the book after I did to see what the fuss was all about. She said about the book “It was so suspenseful and meaningful, I was turning pages so quickly.”
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 2 books102 followers
May 22, 2019
In Naomi Milliner's middle-grade debut, SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS, we meet 11-year-old Ethan, a wannabe magician and big brother to five-year-old Freddy and to special-needs baby of the family, Jake. Jake, whose frequent ER visits put an emotional strain on Ethan's parents - and on Ethan, who adores his baby brother and would pull out every magic trick in the book to see him thrive - is the heart and soul of this beautifully told, heartstrings-tugging story. Filled with hope and humor, Milliner's debut is pure magic!
Profile Image for Shauna Holyoak.
Author 4 books37 followers
December 21, 2018
This is such a beautiful story about a budding magician who learns where to find true magic. With touching family relationships, heart-wrenching challenges, and a good-hearted MC, this is a book you shouldn't miss! Based on her own family experiences, Naomi Milliner's debut is sure to become a classic. Kids and adults alike are certain to love this touching story.
Profile Image for K-BRC.
956 reviews
January 9, 2019
Ethan, 11 year old Magician Extraordinaire, finds escape in magic. Then he finds the truth about real magic is that love and family are the most magical of all. Take this journey with him, please. Accompany him as he discovers a hero in an unexpected place. #NetGalley
Profile Image for Nikki Barthelmess.
Author 3 books105 followers
August 20, 2019
Super Jake & the King of Chaos is a heartwarming MG contemporary novel full of magic and fun. Ethan was a relatable main character, who I couldn't help but root for. There are great lessons in this book, about family and about empathy, and it was a great read!
Profile Image for Theresa Grissom.
803 reviews22 followers
November 26, 2019
I absolutely loved this book. I read a review that compared it to Wonder. I do get that same feel. Great characters... Ethan, Jake and Freddy are heroes and wonderful brothers. I am ordering multiple copies for my elementary library. This book has it all.
Profile Image for Malayna Evans.
Author 4 books447 followers
October 9, 2018
This book will give you the feels! If you want a book that really tugs the heartstrings, this is one of those books. The main character and his family leap off the page so the reader experiences every setback and triumph along with them. Great read!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews

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