Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review by Lauren - Jumping Off Swings

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

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 awhile 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.

First Impression: I was interested in reading this, intrigued by the change in characters and the plot, but there wasn't anything grabbing me and pulling me in.

So no, I didn't love Jumping Off Swings. It was a good book though, there was more than one thing that I did enjoy, but nothing I loved.

First was the change in character. We have four people, all different, connected in various ways to this pregnancy. Ellie, of course, is having this baby, and she has enough problems as it is. Caleb, who's been in love with Ellie for years, is simply adorable. I'm pretty sure most guys are not quite like Caleb, but he was a cutie. There's Corinne, Ellie's best friend who's always there for her, but is completely different, and finally Josh, a one-night thing that broke Ellie's heart and is totally confused by the whole "I'm-about-to-be-a-dad" thing. They each had their own issues to face relating to the pregnancy and I liked being able to experience each one from their own point of view.

The chapters were short & a little brief, alternating between characters, and I will tell you, it was a fast read. I got through it in a little less than two hours. This, I found, made the story kindof whiz by, but I don't think it would have worked to drag it out. There simply wasn't enough. I think what really gets you about Jumping Off Swings is just the emotion behind it. Being the same age as Ellie, it really hit me just how hard it would be to get pregnant at my age and have to deal with all that kind of stuff. I can't imagine it.

Final Impression: It made me explore an idea I hadn't really thought about much/hadn't really taken the time to think deeply about. This also coincides with a French presentation I had to do last week about abortion - so that got me thinking too. There was nothing incredibly amazing, but I liked the different dimensions it brought.

4/6 shelves.


  1. This looks interesting. I've read a lot of mixed reviews of it, so I'm looking forward to reading it myself.Thanks for the review(:

  2. I have a really hard time with teen pregnancy stories... I think the only one I've ever really enjoyed is Juno.

  3. Hmm. This sounds like it would be an interesting book, but I dont know how I would feel about the character changes, I dont really like those kind of books. But I might just give it a try. Good review :)


  4. Indeed this book sounds interesting. I love the cover, it's mysterious in it's own way.
    thank you for the review.


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