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When Dad Killed Mom
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When Dad Killed Mom

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  991 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. Jenna and Jeremy knew their parents' marriage was in trouble. Mom and Dad didn't talk much, and when they did, they had to work really hard to be civil to each other. But no one could have predicted what would come next.
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Turtleback Books (first published May 1st 2001)
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Anna Motteler
Nov 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE.
"Jenna and Jeremy knew their parents' marriage was in trouble. Mom and Dad didn't talk much, and when they did, they had to work really hard at being civil. But no one would have predicted what came next. The headline read COLLEGE SHRINK KILLS WIFE, and suddenly everything changed.
Now with Mom dead and Dad in jail, Jenna and Jeremy must re-create a life and family of their own. But a silent distance grows between them as each guards a secret that could send their fragile new lives into a tailsp
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just finished up reading ''When Dad Killed Mom'' by Julius Lester. It has been a very interesting book to read and definitely have enjoyed it. The book can pretty much be defined by the title. It shows the emotions and actions two children went through after there father was thrown in prison for killing there mother in broad daylight. The author explains his reasoning for writing this book in the back of it. He explains that when he looks at people he wonders what they have gone through or ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine one day you are in class then you get called into the office thinking that you might just be in your own trouble then find out that your dad had shot your mom. Well, that's exactly what happened to the Jenna and Jeremy in this book. When Jenna and Jeremy's dad shoots and kills their mom, their lives are profoundly affected beyond just the loss of their mother. As their father sits in jail awaiting trial, Jenna, who was their dad's favorite, and Jeremy, who was their mother's fave, find t ...more
Eva Leger
I'm trying so hard to understand the ratings and reviews here. So, so hard. But I just can't.
This is an icky book. And, if you took all of the ickiness out the book would STILL suck. That's bad folks. Just bad.
I'd pay anyone my entire life savings right now if they can find me one - ONE - boy or girl the ages of the girl and boy in this story that would act as these two characters act in this story. I defy everyone out there.
And yes, believe you me, I do know, very well I might add, that everyon
Whenever I see stories on the news about a husband killing his wife or vice versa, two questions pop into my head: "Why did they do that?" and "What is going to happen to their kids (if they have any)?" Julius Lester answered my second question flawlessly and even took a good crack at the first one.

I will be honest. I was not expecting much out of this little novel. I got it with a bunch of other books at the Goodwill. The plot seemed interesting so I added it to the pile. I didn't even consi
 Imani ♥ ☮
When Dad Killed Mom is pretty self explanatory. The dad kills the mom of this little boy named Jeremy and this girl named Jenna. This book was kind of confusing at first, however. The first chapter(there are alternating POV) is Jeremy and he's all sweet and innocent. Next chapter is Jenna and she's a teenager and she starts talking about drawing her private parts ???? Very random. But anyway, I liked the concept of this story and I think more people should know about this book because it is a ve ...more
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lester writes an honest, painful narrative of what it means to be the surviving child of a murderer and the murder victim. There are all the mundane things they don't make movies about, like trying to go back to school after the funeral or trying to act normal around other kids when you feel like they're from another world now, or worse, realizing you are an orphan with a living parent you sometimes wish were dead. There is beautiful character development, honest language, and some pretty insigh ...more
Sandra Strange
Sep 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Although the protagonists are young, 12 and 14, the book is not suitable to younger readers, since it deals graphically with near incest and shows a daughter subconsciously seducing her father. The novel switches from son to daughter over and over as it tells the story of siblings struggling to make sense of their dad’s shooting of their mother, then putting together various incidents recalled, journal entries, testimony from friends to find out what happened, really, and why. The story is well ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Dad Killed Mom

The story starts off with a mother, father, son, and a daughter, but it doesn’t end that way. The daughters name was Jenna and she was a huge troublemaker as she grew up. She would always scream at her mother over the dumbest things. They hardly ever got along, it seemed every day there was something else to argue about. The sons name was Jeremy and he was nearly perfect. He never yelled or got angry he was just perfect. His mom loved to draw and because he wanted to get clos
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Brother and sister Jeremy and Jenna were sitting in their respective classrooms as they would on any other Tuesday. Then the principal came in and it stopped being a normal Tuesday. Jeremy and Jenna's mother is dead, they are told, and their father is the one who shot her.

When Dad Killed Mom is told from the perspectives of Jenna and Jeremy in alternating chapters. Jenna is 14, Jeremy a little younger. There is no question as to their father's guilt. He shot his wife in broad daylight in front
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
For more, check out my blog entry.

I admire the effort Julius Lester made with this book. We see these sensational headlines in newspapers and on television and think about the victim and the perpetrator, but we rarely think about what it must be like for these families beyond, 'Oh, how tragic. That must be terrible for them.' However, I don't think Lester did a very good job capturing the voice and emotion of these characters. I didn't believe either Jenna or Jeremy as genuine characters. Most
Amy's Book Reviews
Grade: B-

Twelve-year-old Jeremy and his mom share a closeness based on their artistic interests while Jenna, age fourteen, is Daddy's girl. Then their dad kills them mom and they must struggle together and apart to figure out the truth about what happened that October morning, and deconstruct their parents relationship with each other and with Jeremy and Jenna, as well as where to live.

Told in both Jenna's and Jeremy's POVs in alternating chapters, WHEN DAD KILLED MOM gives two very different pe
Linda Lipko
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: acquired-in-2016
Well developed characters and excellent writing render this a solid four 1/2 star read. While the title sounds stark, the way in which the story unfolded was not over dramatic, but rather was an insightful portrait of a family in grief, trying very hard to reach out to each other through the pain.

Told in differing perspectives of the children of the father, both Jeremy, age ten, and his teen aged sister Jenna, as they sort through thoughts and feelings as information becomes available regarding
Dec 13, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sophmore-yr
This book is about 2 kids who's mom was killed by their dad. They knew that their parents didnt get along but they didnt know that it will lead to someone's death. They have to make a decision if they want to testify for their dad to get out of jail or not.
This book was very interesting, i got a sense of what kids who lost their parents feel like, the kinds of emotions they went through. This book made me think about what death would be like because they keep mentioning their dead mother and wh
Sean O'Connor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Montague Emily
I really enjoyed this book. It was one of those books where you wanted to keep reading and not put it down until you are finished. This book was a pretty quick and easy read that you can finish in less then a day (if you wanted to). That is saying a lot coming from me because I am a very slow reader. Overall this was a great book.
JttR T
-the beginning
-was quite slow
-as i dragged
-myself through it
-such a book
-like this
-reminded me of
-something i
-would have
-been forced to
-read for school
-though the action
-at the end
-where all the
-secrets spilled
-was shocking
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I expected this to be much better written than it was, given the status of the author (Newbery and Coretta Scott King Award winner). The characters didn't act believably, nor did they say things I though teenagers would say. Neal Shusterman's What Daddy Did was much better.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A good book for middle/high school readers. It's a high interest story told in the voices of two compelling kids. A very positive message as these kids wrestle with an incredibly difficult and painful situation.
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I loved this book. It was a little depressing, but it was so wonderful. Following these kids on their journey was really inspiring.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A clumsy, ham-handed, and thoroughly phony attempt to deal with controversial but important issues.
I feel like it dragged on for awhile and took a little while to get the point across. It wasn't a bad book to read though.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Odd book, but an interesting storyline with well written emotion embedded throughout. Had to read this one fast as didn't want my spouse seeing me read a book with this cover!
Miranda Pedroza
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great book , so emotional
Phylisha Stone
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unsettling but powerful book.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this gave me a picture of a family`s story in dealing with a horrific tragedy. Very well done. ...more
Kendell M
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that immediately paints out each individual character. The author did a great job at capturing every detail and emotion.
April Olvera
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jacob Deacon Miss Dorland English 9B
28 April 2016
The Fin
The feeling in my stomach just kept dropping and dropping as my feet first hit the
ground. I couldn’t wait to explore the beach for seashells and feel the clay soft sand between my toes. There was one thing that happened on this vacation that could've gone badly.
Well it was a beautiful day in South Carolina at 89 Degrees. The birds were chirping, the sky was surf blue, and I could hear the sound of the waves crashing onto shore. My dad g
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never been a one-sitting reader. No matter how compelling a book, there have always been things in the outside world more compelling to me.

When I found this book at the library this afternoon, I picked it up because the title intrigued me. I didn't bother sampling it, but figured I'd read a page or two here and there like I do most books.

Wrong. I read this book in two sittings, and would have read it in one save for real-world responsibilities. I usually like to sit and mull a book over
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Do u think the dad should have killed the mom 2 11 Feb 29, 2012 09:07AM  
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Julius Lester was an American writer of books for children and adults. He was an academic who taught for 32 years (1971–2003) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was also a photographer, as well as a musician who recorded two albums of folk music and original songs.
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“I'm tired of thinking and I'm really tired of Feeling.

—Jenna Richards”
“But I want you around even when I don't need you.
—Jeremy Richards”
More quotes…