Snap Summary & Study Guide

Belinda Bauer
This Study Guide consists of approximately 67 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Snap.
This section contains 952 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Snap Summary & Study Guide Description

Snap Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Snap by Belinda Bauer.

The following version of the novel was used to create this study guide: Bauer, Belinda. Snap. Atlantic Monthly Press, July 3, 2018. Kindle.

In the novel Snap by Belinda Bauer, 11-year-old Jack Bright and his sisters, Joy and Merry, waited in the car for their pregnant mother to find a phone and call for help because their car had broken down. After an hour, Jack knew his mother had been too long and took his sisters to look for her. When they reached the emergency phone where she had called the police, the phone's receiver dangled from the cord.

Three years later, Jack, then only 14-years-old, found himself in charge of taking care of his younger sisters after his father abandoned them because of his grief. Unable to get a legitimate job or ask for help because he did not want his family to be split up, Jack became the burglar known by police as Goldilocks. He broke into houses and stole valuables he could sell for cash. He also took clothing, books for Merry, and healthy foods. He slept in one of the children’s beds, and the only time he got the sense that everything in his life was okay was when he was in the cusp of sleep in a house that smelled like a family. Jack’s house was full of the newspapers that Joy insisted on hoarding. She made such a scene when Jack tried to dispose of any of the papers that he feared someone would notify the police. Mice and other creatures made their homes in the piles of papers.

One night, while thinking that Adam and Catherine While were on vacation, Jack broke into their home. Ironically, he found a knife in Adam's hunting boot. Jack believed the knife had been used to kill his mother. When he discovered that Catherine was alone in the house, Jack left the knife on her bedside table along with a noted that read: “I could have killed you” (17). He intended for Catherine to call the police and believed they would connect the knife to his mother’s murder, but Catherine did not call the police.

Meanwhile, homicide detective John Marvel had been demoted to work in the rural Somerset County after a suspect was killed during a chase. Although he thought working a burglary case was below him, Marvel worked with detectives Reynolds and Elizabeth Rice to set up a house to try to catch Goldilocks, believing he could redeem himself by catching this serial burglar. The burglar visited the house as they had hoped but was spooked once inside and left before he could be caught. Marvel decided to gloss over the failure by keeping the capture house running for a few more weeks. Jack returned to the house and stayed there until the officers returned. He told Marvel later that he had intended to be caught.

Jack was certain enough that it was Adam who murdered his mother that he told Marvel he was willing to confess to the Goldilocks burglaries if officers would investigate Adam. In the event that Adam was found guilty of Jack's mother’s murder, Jack asked that he be allowed to go free. At first, it appeared that Jack had made the wrong choice when it was discovered the knife that killed his mother was actually in a police evidence locker. However, Marvel also learned when he talked to the original investigating officer that Adam had been questioned in relation to Eileen’s death because he had been spotted at the place where her body was found the day that crime scene was re-opened to the public.

Marvel was intrigued by the coincidences in the case, especially when he visited Adam and saw that his knife was just like the one used the kill Eileen. It was identified as a one-of-a-kind knife made by an exclusive company. After some research and detective work by Marvel, Reynolds, and Jack, the three learned that Adam had the second knife made just a couple of months after Eileen was killed.

Because Marvel had made a deal with Jack that he would let him walk free if Adam was arrested for Eileen’s murder, Marvel let Jack go. On his way home, Jack was confronted by Catherine, who asked him to get in her car so that they could talk. It was not until there was a knife at his throat that Jack realized Adam was in the car as well. Jack used his cunning to outsmart the larger man, leaving Adam bleeding in the backseat of the car. When Jack recognized that Catherine was driving them along the same road where his mother had disappeared, Jack asked her to let him out of the car. When Jack was gone, Adam begged Catherine to take him to the hospital, but she refused. She decided to keep on driving. It is assumed that Adam bled to death in the car.

Jack, meanwhile, retraced his steps from where his mother’s car broke down to an apple tree where he and Joy hid Merry’s diaper bag. To Jack’s surprise, the bag was still there. Memories floated back to him as he went through the things inside, including his mother’s purse. Inside her wallet was a picture of the family together at the seaside, a picture that Jack had looked for but had been unable to find. He recognized the love on his mother’s face and realized that she has really loved him. The anger he had felt for three years finally passed. He was able to sleep without dreaming about his mother’s death for the first time that night.

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