Review: The Jake Show

The Jake Show

by Joshua S. Levy

Katherine Tegan Books, 2023

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Merle Eisman Carrus

Starting at a new school is always difficult and switching to a new school mid-year is even harder. Jake knows because he has changed schools five times since his parent’s divorce. 

Jake imagines he is living in a television sitcom and enjoying the current episode until the show is canceled. Jake explains his life like a television show spin off. In the original series he and his parents celebrated Jewish holidays and enjoyed Shabbat dinners but also watched TV together after dinner. Then his parents divorced and now life is like a TV spin off. This show has two different families with different religious observance. At Imma’s house he answers to Yaakov, wearing a suit with a velvet yarmulke under a fedora. At his father’s secular home he wears jeans and T-shirts and is called Jacob.

Things get more complicated when he meets Caleb and Tehilla at his newest school. He really wants to be friends with them. They actually seem to like the real Jake. They invite him to join them for the summer at Camp Gershoni. His new friends help him create a series of lies that will convince both sets of parents to sign him up for camp.

Caleb and Tehilla also have secrets they are working through and this is Jake’s chance to learn how to listen and be a good friend. It is also Jake’s chance to tell the truth to both his parents. The web of lies keeps growing and finally catches up with him, like a television car chase. Maybe Jake can be the person he wants to be and keep his parents and his friends happy. It is a lesson in telling the truth and being true to yourself.

This is the perfect book for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. It has an entertaining plot and shares some valuable lessons. The story is about the different ways to be Jewish. Each way is celebrated in a positive light. The message is that there are different ways of participating in Judaism and each person should find the observance that is comfortable fit.

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Reviewer Merle Eisman Carrus resides in New Hampshire and writes book reviews for the NH Jewish Reporter newspaper. She is a graduate of Emerson College and received her Masters of Jewish Studies from Hebrew College. Merle is the National President of the Brandeis National Committee and co-chair of Women's League Reads. She leads books discussion groups and author interviews. She blogs her book reviews at