Saturday, August 15, 2009
Traveling to Teens: Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Summary: (from amazon.com)
One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel.
Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they begged for more. And when she gave it to them, she felt loved. For a while anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their "one-time thing" is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character’s point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl’s life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind.
When you read the summary, you think that this book is going to be a deep, moving novel. Now, it is kind of moving, but it isn't as "deep" as I hoped it would be. It seems like it's going to be this hard novel to read because of the topic and the summary, when in reality, it's actually a quick, fast paced novel -- I read it in one sitting.
The one thing that is really good about the book is that it tackles the idea of teen pregnancy from four perspectives. There's Ellie, the girl who got pregnant, and Josh, the baby's father. But then there's the two other perspectives: Corinne, Ellie's best friend, and Caleb, Josh's best friend. The book shows the reality of teen pregnancy from all of these four perspectives wonderfully. It doesn't just show how it affects the teen mom, but also the father and the two best friends. It shows how Ellie was treated by her family and her school for mistake and how she, as well as all her friends, handled it. This was definitely the best part of the novel - the perspectives that Knowles shows.
However, I wish the book would've been a little longer. At one moment, it seems like Ellie's just getting pregnant, and then it seems like the next second, she's giving birth to her child. If I could've improved one thing about the book, that's what I would change.
Overall, Jumping Off Swings is a great book that deals with the effects of teen pregnancy. It's very down-to-earth and just a great read. Four out of five hearts.