Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Case you Missed It - Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles

Published: August 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 230
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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.

Jumping off Swings is a title that has been on my TBR list for quite some time.  Teenage pregnancy.  We all know someone who has gone through it or have heard of someone who has gone though it.  We all speculate and judge and make assumptions but do we really know what it was like and how the teen Mom and Dad are coping with it?  

I enjoyed this title and I think it was because of the simple yet sensitive way Jo Knowles wrote the story from 4 different viewpoints.  It touched me how this pregnancy was a huge deal but even the adults were trying to avoid the issue and no one communicated like they should except for a single mom who didn't want Ellie to go through things alone as she had.  

I was broken-hearted to see how Ellie's parents abandoned her in her time of need.  But people hurt one another.  Especially the ones they love.  Knowles took a very difficult subject and made it more identifiable for teens.  She also stripped away the judgments we admonish on those who break societal rules.  Josh knocked Ellie up.  But it wasn't like he didn't have feelings for his actions.  We read about his voice and how he deals with his actions and who he turns to.  I was expecting this read to be more raw but the word poignant as in the summary description by Goodreads is the perfect word

I would recommend this title to a reluctant reader who is going through some teenage angst.  It was a quick read with a lower reading level but would make a great ISU project.

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