Lena's Reviews > Jumping Off Swings

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
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Sep 02, 11

liked it
bookshelves: disturbing
Recommended for: people who want to die
Read on September 02, 2011 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Okay, wow. I read this book in a few hours. I couldn't put it down, although it was incredibly sad. The kind of sad that's sort of like watching mangled victims being pulled from a car crash with limbs missing. You really don't want to see what's happening, but you can't quite look away, and you can't decide if you want to vomit or sob.

This is a YA book, but the sex is very graphic, describing everything from how his fingers felt inside her (from both points of view), to the way his hand smelled afterwards. It's the most graphic and scandalous YA book I've read in terms of sexual content. Also, the language is very crude. If there's a nasty or dirty word invented, it's probably in this book. So, not for the faint of heart.

The book is about a girl who sleeps with guys at parties, and they all just walk out afterwards and let their friends smell their fingers to prove they hooked up. It's pretty vomit-inducting, the way the guys in this book behave. And of course they talk about her in the locker room and share their stories with each other, since they've all hooked up with this girl who thinks that if she lets a guy have sex with her (and she never seems to do much participating) that one of them will like her. Or, that THIS one will like her. This one being Josh, who takes her to the back seat of his alcoholic father's van and tells her all this stuff so she thinks he likes her, then leaves her covered by his dog blanket without even looking at her so he can go drink w/ his friends and brag about how she was all about it, "easy come, easy go." Meanwhile, the girl feels horrible (obviously) when she sees him doing the whole hand-smelling thing, so she goes and pukes and gets a ride home w/ her friend, too humiliated to show her face at the party. Josh, meanwhile, never notices that she disappeared, and never speaks to her again throughout the book. Although the author tries to make us feel sympathy for him when the girl ends up pregnant, but mostly I just wanted to kick him in the nuts. He never speaks to her again, although he supposedly feels guilty. Even when she's pregnant and he knows it's his through their mutual friend (oh yeah, this is a girl he's known since kindergarten that he's treating like this). Josh is just glad she's not asking him for money, that she's taking care of it. Actually, he says he feels guilty about that, but he never even says sorry or says one word to her. Nice guy. Really. I felt SO sorry for HIM having to see her walking around pregnant and alone.

Mostly, this book just made me hate guys a whole lot. The only good people in it are the girl's friend and the guy-friend's mom. Everyone is totally screwed up and the main girl goes through her whole pregnancy completely alone. It made me want to cry a lot, for a long, long time. Even the good-guy who was her friend only feels sorry for Josh and never tries to make anything better or get Josh to be a man and at least help the girl out when she goes to get an abortion. Or talk to her or something. Anyway, every guy in this book is completely evil, not active evil, but like evil inside by not doing anything to stop the awful things going on. At least the friend's mom and the friend are somewhat supportive. And the main girl is just pretty much pathetic and heartbreakingly needy, but pretty transparent. She was not as well-developed as the others. You never really feel like you know her, only that she wants love so desperately and never gets it from anyone. And she never seems to get mad about the guys using her and leaving her crying or puking from being so upset. I really wanted someone to stand up to Josh and put him in his place, but everyone just felt sorry for him, most of all himself. He constantly says how he's such a screw-up and he didn't come through for Ellie or be there for her, but he never even tries! Not even to maybe say hi to her in the hall. He just avoids her and brags about their hookup to his buddies and gets drunk a lot. Then he feels sorry for himself b/c he wasn't there for her, even though she would probably have let him if he tried anything. But no, he never even attempts to do one.single.thing. Oh, right, he DOES apparently write her an apology note, although we never see it. Really? A NOTE!!??

Gaaa! This book made me so mad, mostly because it was very realistic as to who is held responsible and who ends up taking the fall and bearing the burder when two people have sex. The girl gets labeled a slut b/c she's pregnant and it's like a badge on her stomach, and the guys who just used her so they could say they got laid just laugh about it in the locker room and smell each other's fingers. Disgusting and tragic, but not untrue.
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Reading Progress

09/02/2011 page 180
78.0% "OMG this book is the most disturbing, depressing, graphically sexual YA book I've ever read."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz Uh. Wow! Having a teenage son and a tween daughter...this makes me shudder!


Lena OMG--it was SO awful!!!


message 3: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz To think it's life-like...don't know whether I want to know what's going on out there, or whether I want to keep my head in the sand. :)


Lena I know it's going on out there...i just don't want to read it in a book that's so relentlessly morbid with no redemption anywhere from beginning to end. Bleh...it made my stomach hurt.


message 5: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz Yeah...I think I'll pass on this one!


Alicia I agree with your review like 100%!


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