Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings #1)
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Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings)

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  3,676 ratings  ·  465 reviews
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, Ell...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Candlewick Press
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Chelsea
As someone who, at 17, has read more books than most people twice my age, it is rare that I say a book is 'one of my favorites' because it is too hard to pick favorites. However, Jumping Off Swings is one of the best books I've ever read-a blunt, raw look at teenage pregnancy as well as alcoholism, abortion, loyalty and the deep rooted problems teenagers face in their lives.

The novel is told from the perspectives of four characters: Ellie, an insecure girl who sleeps around in a misguided attemp...more
the golden witch.
This was a fairly quick read, as it was relatively short.

However, this book was fairly dull. No surprises, no new additions to the "teen gets pregnant and ruins her life" genre. It was incredibly drab and cliche in the characterization of teenagers as irresponsible when it comes to sex. If anything, that's what turned me off the most. It even angered me. Just what we need - another book like this about "these darn kids today".

I was quite disappointed, as the blurb had made it seem so much more...more
Kristi
Knowles did a fantastic job of depicting a delicate situation, very realistically and very emotionally, through the eyes of four characters. With so many different prominent characters, I'm sure it was no easy task making each of them three-dimensional and fully developed. Kudos to Knowles for that!

For me the novel was more than just a book about teenage pregnancy, it was the stark contrast between kids that come from a stable and loving home life, to ones that don't. Unfortunately, I think the...more
46milestogo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd
I really wanted to like this book. The multiple narrators, the difficult subject, and the numerous successful turns of phrase had me hopeful. I finished it and didn't feel it was a waste of my time. But I had so many issues with it, that I was quite happy when it was over. Among the four narrators are what most would call the primary "couple" (for lack of a better term... I realize they were not a couple at all!) and the secondary couple. When I am infinitely more interested in the characters ma...more
Kaitlyn Oruska
Jun 11, 2012 Kaitlyn Oruska rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Extremely disappointing.

With teenage pregnancy such an issue today and with the extreme popularity of shows like 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom, I can't understand why there isn't one novel out there that isn't at least somewhat realistic.

For the first few chapters, I thought this book had promise. I liked the way the author incorporated different character's point of views, but that was about it. My first problem with the book was when Ellie found out she was pregnant. There was no real panic,...more
Stephanie
I can't remember the last time a book made me sob this hard.

Jumping Off Swings is so beautifully written, so fiercely honest and so compelling. I read it in one intense session, because I Could Not Stop reading it. There are four different POV characters, some of whom hate or avoid each other now for really good, sympathetic reasons, and yet all four were equally compelling and real, and by the end, I cared desperately about all four of them. This is a book that never compromises the emotional t...more
Marjorie Light
Once I had the pleasure of hearing Jo Knowles present at the NESCBWI agent/author panel and she was simply lovely – intelligent, gentle, and giving. Then I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of her latest novel JUMPING OFF SWINGS and that forever imprinted her in my mind. Her talent is evident here – the prose straightforward, but powerful, while the dialogue is natural and emotionally charged. I stayed up until I finished it, because I couldn’t wait for morning to discover the ending.

This YA no...more
Jeni Bell
One “truth” is that it’s impossible to know how many people an unplanned pregnancy can affect, and all the complicated emotions that news of the pregnancy will be met with, until you’ve been there.



If you’re a teenager or a young adult, you can imagine just how difficult it might be to break the news to your parents, and the shame you might feel at the thought of telling your grandparents, or the aunt or uncle you’ve always admired, or perhaps your teacher, professor, or boss. But the reactions y...more
Lilibeth
I have to say up front that this is not a happily ever after book, and I'm slowly starting to realize that most books in general--excluding romance, of course--are not all going to end up that way. When it comes to facing the reality in life, and making hard decisions like choosing whether or not you want to keep your baby when you're so young, you must go through the grueling process of looking at what's led to you there and facing the truth about people you depend on. Jumping Off Swings tells...more
Trisha
This is not an easy topic. I picked this up for a challenge not really knowing what I would get myself into.

but I'm glad I did.

I think Jo Knowles does a great job of not victimizing OR shaming anyone in this book. It's a great example of the ultimate...oops. It does point out the inequalities - but these are things we already know. Does Ellie wear her proof every day while he just walks around with no one knowing. Does Ellie get to make all the choices and he has very few, if any. Yeah. but it'...more
Leah  (Simply Nerdy Book Reviews)
This book was . . . disappointing. I'll admit, I sort of picked it up at the library on a whim, simply because I needed something to read, but I still thought it would be good. Or moving. Or . . . something. But, honestly, it wasn't.

Most of the characters fell flat, and felt depressingly undernourished and uncared for. There were way too many plot jumps: I mean, let's face it, if you're reading a book about a teenage pregnancy, you actually want to find out what the teenager goes through during...more
Lena Hillbrand
Sep 02, 2011 Lena Hillbrand rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to die
Shelves: disturbing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
From my review site: http://yalibrariantales.blogspot.com

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles is a realistic portrayal of teen pregnancy and teen relationships that is gripping. Synopsis:

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: E...more
Kate
Full disclosure...I know and like author Jo Knowles, and I had already heard praise from some early readers of JUMPING OFF SWINGS, so I was ready to like this book. Even so, I was blown away by the characters and the spare, poignant prose.

JUMPING OFF SWINGS is a book about love and sex and friendship, about loss of innocence and how we all survive it. It's one of the most beautiful, most honest YA novels I've ever read and reminded me of Judy Blume's FOREVER in the way it approached the realitie...more
Kate
Ellie always thinks it will be different, but every time she hooks up with a guy, he's just using her for sex. Caleb has always liked Ellie, and can't believe his friend Josh hooked up with her. Now Ellie is pregnant, and that will affect them all...

I thought this book did a nice job of showing how a pregnancy can affect everyone around a person, not just the person having the baby. It was good to see guys reacting to a pregnancy and not just disowning any responsibility, and it was also good to...more
Luke
Pretty good read. Not quite as good as "Lessons from a Dead Girl", but amazing nonetheless. I don't know how Jo Knowles does it, but she can tug at your heartstrings like no other author can. This story had me on the verge of tears several times and this, unlike "Lessons from a Dead Girl" had a somewhat happy ending. Although I felt like the last chapter was a bit unnecessary, it made you feel like the story was complete. I look forward to reading her next book!
Katie
Ellie can't believe this is happening. She thought Josh was different than all the other boys. She thought he might actually care for her. Instead he proved that all he wanted was one thing and now that he's gotten what he wanted he has no more use for her.

Little does Ellie know, she's pregnant and Josh is the father. The only person she can tell is her best friend who doesn't know how to help her. Instead things get even more tangled when Corinne involves Josh's best friend, Caleb.

What will Ell...more
Jenni Arndt
You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.

Jumping off Swings was a book that I bought on a whim. I was perusing my local bookstore when I saw the cover and was drawn in by the empty feeling that it gave me. The cover is the perfect pretense for the novel. It's a very quick read, clocking in at 230 pages, I read it in a single 2 hour sitting and I was completely captivated from page 1 all the way to page 230. I wasn't too sure what to get out of this, all I knew was that it was about a tee...more
Sensitivemuse
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles covers a teenage pregnancy through the eyes of four characters: Ellie the would be mother, Corinne her best friend, Caleb the nice guy who's had a crush on Ellie, and Josh, the would be father. Throughout the story you go through Ellie's pregnancy and how each of these characters feel as they try to help her through her ordeal.

I found it a very sombre story. Ellie just wants to feel and be loved. Although she's going about it the wrong way, as you read more into...more
Briana
Full and orginal review on blog here: http://thebookpixie.blogspot.com/2009...

Jumping Off Swings is a poignant and genuine novel that goes inside the minds of 4 teenagers and how they are each affected by one pregnancy. This book sent me through a roller coaster of emotions. I've never cried as much reading a book as I did this one.

I really loved the characters. They were very well developed, their emotions and thoughts authentic. I found myself forming a special bond with each and every one of...more
alexis
Pub Date : August 11, 2009

Summary: It was supposed to be just a simple one night stand.

Ellie has hooked up with many guys.

Each time she hopes there will be more than the sex.

When she’s with them, she always feels loved.

But it never lasts.

When Josh, a virgin with a troubled life, leads Elle to the back of his van she follows.

Their “one-time-thing” comes with complications.

Ellie ends up pregnant.

Josh doesn’t know how to deal.

Caleb and Corinne, their close friends, deal with their own swirl of emot...more
Catherine
This is a fast read (seriously -- I read it in about 90 minutes when all was said and done) and a nice idea that was fairly well-executed.

Knowles treats us to the standard high school sex politics (boy sleeps around and he's pimp of the year, girl sleeps around and she's tramp of the century) as well as the age-old poor little rich girl who seeks the love her parents never give her in the arms of boys who believe that there is really such a thing as sex with no strings attached in a suburban hig...more
Sarah
Told from the point of view of 4 teens effected by an accidental pregnancy caused by a one night encounter between "love starved loose Ellie" and "lonely family life Josh". Despite the flat, one note characters, or maybe partially because of them, YALSA correctly selected this title as a Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers. It's fast moving, with short chapters, lots of drama (sex, drugs,boy peer pressure, but all in a safe/ afterschool special way), and avoids complications to the simple emo-ang...more
Lexi
This book is about how a girl named Ellie has sex a lot. She had sex with Josh a boy from her school and she got pregnant. She was at a party and he wanted to lose his virginity so she did it with him. Her friend Corinne helps her through it and so does Caleb and his mom. She doesn't want anyone but Corinne to know. When she starts hanging out with Caleb his mom notices and says something through a note. Ellie reads it in class and starts to ball her eyes out. She goes to talk to Caleb's mom to...more
Lori
**REVIEW UPDATED AS OF 1/28/12**

JUMPING OFF SWINGS is a quick read that follows four teenagers through one's unexpected pregnancy. I imagine this is very popular amongst teenage girls, and for good reason. It deals with some of the major issues that plague teens today: Finding your place, outgrowing your childhood friends, parent/teen relationships, and of course, romantic relationships and sex.

I was reminded of Sara Zarr's STORY OF A GIRL while reading this one, not just in content but also in...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

Ellie doesn't wonder why she keeps ending up in the same situation with so many guys. She knows that she likes the way they touch her and treat her like she's special, and each time, she hopes that she'll end up with someone who can love her.

But she only ends up heartbroken, and, after the last time with fumbling virgin, Josh, she ends up with much more than just the emotional aftereffects of a one night stand. A baby is now on the way, and Ellie...more
Cristina
This book captivated me from the very beginning; it had me hanging on every word, had me feeling every emotion, and had me trying to get into the brain of the characters so I could figure out why they did what did. Basically, it was great and I enjoyed it.

The alternating from the perspectives of Ellie, Josh, Corine, and Caleb as they are each affected by one situation, one decision was perfect. I could see into the lives of each character and get into why and how they are who they are. It really...more
Michelle
Told alternately from the perspective of four life-long friends: Caleb, Corrine, Josh and Ellie, Jumping Off Swings is a book that deals with the consequences of teen pregnancy - and the fact that it affects the life of everyone, not just the young mother. Parents, friends, teachers, classmates, the father, mother, the child - everyone. Ellie and Corinne has been friends since elementary school but Corinne has been worried about her beautiful friend ever since she started sleeping with guys and...more
Raquel
Another great novel by Jo Knowles. I was very moved by her first book Lessons from a Dead Girl and was excited to read this. It's getting all sorts of negative attention which I think is uncalled for!

It's a story of Ellie, a 16-year old high school student who tries to fill the void in her life by having sex with boys. She seeks love and acceptance from them but they just discard her after they've had her fill of her as a sexual object. Her last tryst with Josh results in a pregnancy. The story...more
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  • I Know It's Over
  • Nothing Like You
  • This Is What I Want to Tell You
  • One Night
  • The Best and Hardest Thing
  • How It Ends
  • Breathing
  • Dancing Naked
  • Secrets of Truth and Beauty
  • Giving Up the V
  • Flash Burnout
  • Beautiful
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • The Pull of Gravity
  • Safe
  • All Unquiet Things
  • Tell Me a Secret
  • Break
253326
Hi! I'm the author of Living With Jackie Chan, See You At Harry's, Pearl, Jumping Off Swings, and Lessons From A Dead Girl. If you'd like to purchase one of my books, please consider doing so through a local independent bookseller. You can find one near you by going to www.indiebound.org and asking them to order a copy if they don't have the one you'd like in stock. Or, you can ask your local libr...more
More about Jo Knowles...
See You at Harry's Lessons from a Dead Girl Pearl Living with Jackie Chan (Jumping Off Swings #2) Read Between the Lines

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“I stretch my fingers across my belly and glide my hand back and forth, waving softly. Sometimes I think I feel a hand reaching out for mine. Or it could be a foot, kicking my hand away. I wish I could tell the difference.” 6 likes
“I'm lying in my room listening to the birds outside. I used to think they sang because they were happy. But then I learned on a nature show they're really showing off. Trying to lure in some other bird so they can mate with it. Or let the other birds know not to get too close to their turf. I wish I never watched that show, because now all I think about is what those pretty sounds mean. And how they're not pretty at all.” 2 likes
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