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The Keeper of Dawn [Kindle Edition]

J.B. Hickman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
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  • Length: 294 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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Hardcover $22.19  
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Book Description

Groomed for greatness, 15-year-old Jacob Hawthorne is sent to boarding school against his will. Jacob’s resentment toward his family reaches an all-time high when his father doesn’t bother to see him off for the 1980 school year. With a self-absorbed mother, an estranged father, and an older brother on the other side of the world, only the unlikely friendship with his grandfather can lure Jacob back home. But home feels like a distant memory from the shore of Raker Island, the isolated campus of one of the Northeast’s elite boarding schools.

As the surrogate bonds of a cloistered all-boys school fall into place, Jacob finds himself among other sons of privilege who suffer the same affliction—growing up in their fathers’ shadow. In fact, Jacob and his friends get dubbed “the Headliners” when their fathers make the headlines on the same day. Among them is Chris Forsythe, the rebellious son of a high-profile politician whose helicopter arrival sparks jealousy among the school’s upperclassmen.

Wellington Academy has been selected to host that fall’s senatorial debate, and Chris’ father is one of the candidates. Chris convinces Jacob—who is among the students selected to question the candidates on live television—to expose his father for embezzling money to finance his reelection campaign. Only Mr. O’Leary, Wellington’s inquisitive history teacher, stands in the way of Chris’ influence over Jacob. He alone can stop the inevitable head-on father-son collision that Chris is guiding Jacob toward. But when tragedy strikes, Jacob is forced to journey into the past to reclaim a well-guarded family secret.

Product Details

  • File Size: 546 KB
  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Shadeflower Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009V7HOPW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,877 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of potential May 29, 2013
By Adri
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that the book is very well written. It is a coming of age novel and it keeps the reader interested from start to finish.

However, the are a few 'buts' on which I have to elaborate, namely:
What is the symbolism of the title? I thought I would be able to figure it out, but never succeeded.

I do not want to add spoilers so I will just say that the book left me with more questions than answers. And the epilogue also did not really add to the story, in my humble opinion. The story flows very well but at times the writing is a little bit florid. Simple English could have brought the meaning out ver eloquently. Meaning can so easily be obscured by verbosity and I think all new writers so be very careful with this.

I would certainly read more books by this author as I think he has a story-telling voice that should be nurtured and trained to tell his stories in exactly the right number of words.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
J. B. Hickman's THE KEEPER OF DAWN is a truly extraordinary novel, a deeply moving and starkly revealing study of a seventeen-year-old boy's overwhelming relationship with his powerful but distant father. Jake Hawthorne is sent to Wellington, an exclusive prep school located on desolate Raker Island, where he both hides from his family and longs for an understanding of his father, his mother, and his wandering older brother. The relationships he forms there with three other boys from similar families ultimately define who he will become and how he will move forward. One of Jake's three friends, Chris - the son of an ambitious politician - once says to him, "I'm willing to bet yours is the best story of all. You just haven't told it to anyone." THE KEEPER OF DAWN is Jake's story.

In many ways this is a mystery novel. Jake comes to Wellington from a wounded past, although at first we get only hints of what that past may be. His older brother has left the family, preferring to spend his time wandering the world rather than remaining connected to their father and the lifestyle he so vehemently pushed on his sons. His mother is a devote of endangered birds and spends most of her time on her various rescue projects, which keeps her distanced from Jake. And his father . . . well, his father is the one who wanted to send Jake away to school. He's present in everything Jack does. Whatever mystery surrounds Jake also surrounds his father.

Some of the best parts of THE KEEPER OF DAWN are the relationships Jake forms with peripheral characters he meets in the course of the story, including crusty caretaker Max (who loves the old Raker lighthouse as much as Jake does), teacher Mr.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will leave it's mark April 17, 2013
YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. No joke - pick it up from your local bookstore, download it onto your e-reading device, anything...just do it!

J.B. Hickman most definitely hit the proverbial nail on the head, in so many ways in THE KEEPER OF THE DAWN.

Sons of great men are sent to a belly-up island resort turned prep school, Wellington Academy, off the coast of Rhode Island. It rips away the prestige of privileged boys and exposes what lies behind them, both in their personal lives and their school/career lives. I've tried to capture all that I could in this review without spilling the beans, but let me tell you two things: Hickman's written a stellar novel, and you won't be disappointed! It is a phenomenal read about adolescence, rebellion, memories and pain. If I could give more than five stars, I would! This book belongs alongside other award-winning young adult novels about coming of-age, life lessons and facing demons of the past.

Rebellion is in the minds of adolescent boys, especially the flashy Governor's angry son, Chris, who detests his father's attitudes and tries to be everything his Governor father is not. He brings adventure, tumult, rebellion and danger to Wellington Academy.

Jacob Hawthorne, the main character, is a serious 15 year-old son of privilege. Yet he is nervous to meet his father, the "great vanisher" who continually disappears out of his life, on the celebratory parents' day at his school. His mother professes that he's a great man, but she's not entirely convinced herself. Indeed, Jacob is sent to Raker Island to Wellington, the same resort island his parents honeymooned on. He's been sent there so he won't follow in his older brother's footsteps, and he's determined not to enjoy a moment of it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars VERY detailed coming-of-age novel August 25, 2013
I received an e-copy of this book from the author after entering, but not winning, a First Reads giveaway. Thank you!

This was a very eloquently written coming-of-age book. Unfortunately I had a really hard time relating with the characters and the story line. Only the last 1/3 maybe 1/4 of the book actually kept me really engrossed.

This book is about four young boys at a boarding school that none of them really want to be at. All of their fathers hold prestigious positions which earns the boys the title "The Headliners." Between all of their shenanigans and getting in trouble it's also a story about them looking for the love they were missing from their families. A story about them trying to make it on their own rather than with their last names.

The story itself was very well written, very descriptive (although at times a little too much so), and I could easily imagine the surrounding island. J.B. Hickman is definitely a talented author and I think with a book I could more easily relate too I could be sucked into his world and never come out!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pace, good character development. Not very predictable. Great...
I really liked this book. It kept a good pace and kept me interested. Editing was great, and character development was pretty good as well. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Kelly C.
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend it.
I enjoyed this. It could have moved along a little faster maybe, but all in all it was a good read. The characters were well developed and likeable, most of them. Read more
Published 22 days ago by EM
5.0 out of 5 stars The Keeper of Dawn by J.B. Hickman
At first I wanted to put this book down and quit reading it. I didn't. It drew me in. It held me captive. It taught me that life is not always as you perceive it.
Published 22 days ago by Nancy Beal
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story
The Keeper of Dawn is a compelling story with a surprising ending. The reader is drawn into the world of Raker Island & the boys who grew up there.
Published 22 days ago by Nancy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This is a good read. Has a lot of interesting characters and the surprise ingredient was completely unexpected. It's not often that a book surprises me.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bok.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It broke my heart and buoyed my spirit. Very well written. A wonderful coming of age,celebration of youth and friendship and dealing with grief... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Melanie
5.0 out of 5 stars What a book!!!
I'm such a sucker for nostalgia that I couldn't do anything but give this book 5 well-deserved stars. I really enjoyed the prose and never found the story dull or slow. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Remi Zagari
4.0 out of 5 stars An "Epic" novel covering one year of time
You might call this an epic novel. It only covers a span of about one year but during this small time the main character has a life full of experiences as he begins his studies at... Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. Meyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written and good development of characters. But like a lot of coming of age books I have read
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting concept, but slow reading.
Published 5 months ago by sue
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More About the Author

J.B. Hickman lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife and two children. In 2013, he was nominated as a finalist for the Midwest Book Award for Young Adult fiction. Later this year he will be publishing a travel memoir, "Latitudes", that details a trip of a lifetime in which he quit his job and moved all of his possessions into storage to backpack around the globe. Five continents and seven months later, he returned home with a journal written aboard trains, planes, buses, impossibly small automobiles, feluccas, and overnight ferries.

Visit J.B. Hickman's website at

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