Chelsea's Reviews > Jumping Off Swings

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
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F_50x66
's review
Dec 25, 11

bookshelves: to-buy
Read in January, 2009

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 attempt to gain self esteem; Corinne, who despite being a thoroughly decent person is often overlooked by both boys and girls for being shy and reserved; Josh, a boy with a tough home life who is genuinely good at heart, but a little lost; and Caleb, a closed off boy struggling with his own identity. The four teens are thrown together when Josh gets Ellie pregnant. What follows is a very stark look at how many lives are affected by one action.

What makes this novel an important book for teenagers to read is the fact that it is about much more than a pregnancy. It is about how one catalyst can drastically change a young person's life. Most teens will relate to at least one of the four vastly unique narrators. The novel brings to light the hard truth that mistakes can change us, for better or worse. It's about refusing to let a bad home life affect us (Josh). Staying true to our own values (Corinne). Accepting that we cannot control everything (Caleb). And not letting our pasts define us (Ellie). This novel is important. It speaks to teenagers in a way that is clear and open.
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