Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings, #1)” as Want to Read:
Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,708 Ratings  ·  535 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, E
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Candlewick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyTote Mädchen lügen nicht by Jay AsherLooking for Alaska by John GreenSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Best Teen Books About Real Problems
162nd out of 2,244 books — 11,606 voters
Someone Like You by Sarah DessenForever by Judy BlumeDreamland by Sarah DessenGo Ask Alice by Beatrice SparksPerfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
YA Sex & Pregnancy Novels
19th out of 281 books — 575 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 25, 2011 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
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
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
Aug 16, 2009 Kristi rated it liked it
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
Oct 08, 2009 46milestogo rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2009 Todd rated it it was ok
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
Sep 02, 2011 Lena rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to die
Shelves: disturbing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2015 RitaSkeeter rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary-ya, 2015
I love the author's concept with this book. She tackles a subject that seems, surprisingly, rarely touched on in YA literature. I've read quite a lot in the genre, and this is the first book I've read that has addressed teen pregnancy. The author explores this subject matter through the eyes of four adolescents affected but the pregnancy; the pregnant young woman; her best friend; the baby's father; and the father's best friend.

This had the makings of an intriguing and interesting book. Unfortu
Kaitlyn Oruska
Jun 11, 2012 Kaitlyn Oruska rated it did not like it
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,
Sep 10, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
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
Marjorie Light
Jul 22, 2009 Marjorie Light rated it it was amazing
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
Jeni Bell
Feb 12, 2010 Jeni Bell rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 12, 2011 Lilibeth rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2013 Trisha rated it liked it
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'
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
Nov 30, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
From my review site:

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
Jul 19, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 07, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-ya, 2012, realistic
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
Magg {Morgan} Paukner
Jan 09, 2016 Magg {Morgan} Paukner rated it really liked it
Honestly, I think the ending was unfufilling but this book was absolutely amazing. Thoughts to come.
Sep 04, 2009 Luke rated it really liked it
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!
Nov 08, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: yal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2009 Katie rated it liked it
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
Jenni Arndt
Oct 30, 2012 Jenni Arndt rated it really liked it
Shelves: purchased-own
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
Aug 29, 2009 Sensitivemuse rated it liked it
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
Aug 24, 2009 Briana rated it it was amazing
Full and orginal review on blog here:

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
Oct 17, 2009 alexis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-books, arcs
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 emo
Apr 13, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it
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
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
Apr 01, 2012 Lexi rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Reluctant teen readers

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
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for

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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Knowles when you make your office 1 1 Jul 15, 2015 07:27PM  
Theme 2 11 Jul 09, 2014 08:29AM  
question 3 26 Dec 06, 2011 08:02AM  
  • I Know It's Over
  • Nothing Like You
  • Secrets of Truth and Beauty
  • This Is What I Want to Tell You
  • Flash Burnout
  • Hooked
  • One Night
  • Love You Hate You Miss You
  • All Unquiet Things
  • The Pull of Gravity
  • Dancing Naked
  • Heartbreak River
  • Hanging on to Max
  • The Uninvited
  • But I Love Him
  • Crazy Beautiful
  • Tell Me a Secret
  • The Lost Summer
Hi! I'm the author of Still A Work In Progress, Read Between The Lines, Living With Jackie Chan, See You At Harry's, Pearl, Jumping Off Swings, and Lessons From A Dead Girl. I'm available for school, library and book club visits either in person or via skype. For more info, please visit Thanks! :-)
More about Jo Knowles...

Other Books in the Series

Jumping Off Swings (2 books)
  • Living with Jackie Chan (Jumping Off Swings, #2)

Share This Book

“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.” 11 likes
“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.” 7 likes
More quotes…