Book Review: Jumping off Swings

Jumping off Swings

Jo Knowles

Candlewick

240 pages

You always know at least one girl like Ellie in high school.  The one that is called “easy”, who will seemingly hook up with anyone.  Josh is just one boy amongst quite a few that Ellie has had sex with.  They hook up in the back of a van and then, it’s over.  Josh leaves as if nothing has just happened, and once again, Ellie is devastated.  She knows what her peers are saying about her behind her back, but she is compelled to have sex with boys in an attempt to form a meaningful connection with someone.

Jumping off Swings is told from four different viewpoints.  Ellie, who is struggling to form a connection with a guy.  Josh, who was only interested in losing his virginity and used Ellie to accomplish that.  Caleb is in love with Ellie but hasn’t let on, so instead they are just friends.  Corinne is Ellie’s best friend and she’s frustrated over Ellie’s behavior.  Then comes the even bigger problem: Ellie is pregnant.

Ellie refuses to acknowledge her pregnancy at first.  She turns a blind eye in the hopes that the problem will go away if she ignores it.  Once the truth finally comes out, she is torn by the choices available.  Many books that deal with teen pregnancy focus on one outcome, but Jumping off Swings looks in depth at abortion, adoption and child rearing as Ellie tries to make a life changing decision.

All four narrators were genuine and compelling.  Even Josh was a particularly sympathetic character.  On paper he sounds like a real jerk, but he was just as confused as Ellie.  The peer pressure he felt as a result of his friends was overwhelming, so he went ahead and lost his virginity in order to appease them.  He only realized the ramifications later, once Ellie became more sullen and remote.  Then he comes to realize he is going to be a father, and consequences of his actions are even more obvious.

I read Jumping off Swings in one sitting.  I was in a weird mood one night and nothing seemed to grab my attention, so I decided to browse the Amazon Kindle deals and this one popped up.  I started reading it and was instantly drawn into the story.  I think this would be a great choice for the readathon!

Other Reviews:

The Story Siren

A Bookish Way of Life

I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon for my Kindle.

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10 Responses

  1. I haven’t heard of this one before, but it sounds like a good I would really enjoy. It sounds complicating and real. I’ll have to add this to my wish list.

  2. Oh, this one does sound really good, and very realistic as well. I think there are a lot of girls out there like Ellie, and it sounds like the author handles her topic really well. Great review on this one. I need to check this out.

  3. I’m glad to hear all four narrators are portrayed sympathetically, since that isn’t always the case with this kind of story. I’ve heard good things about Knowles before and will keep this book in mind.

  4. This sounds interesting. I will have to check it out.

  5. That’s one of the great things about e-readers… It’s like having all of the bookstore available to you whenever you want! I like how this book explores all the different options rather than pushing just one agenda.

  6. This does sound interesting, but mostly I just think that cover is really awesome. I would have picked it up based on that alone 🙂

  7. Love your blog….the side panels are awesome.

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    Elizabeth

    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

  8. Maybe I should start browsing Amazon Kindle deals too. Sounds like you lucked out with this one.

  9. Great review- it sounds like a really thought-provoking, compelling read.

  10. I have this one on my shelf, and I haven’t been too sure about it. I guess I should give it a try – it does sound like a light read but not fluff.

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