Carrie's Reviews > Jumping Off Swings

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
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Aug 05, 12

Read from August 04 to 05, 2012

Ellie comes from a good, if strict, family. Her parents are still married and her mother is the quintessential housewife. But, while her family looks perfect from the outside, it is definitely lacking from the inside. Ellie’s mother is nice but distant – emotionally and physically. Her father is a busy breadwinner. So, in a cloud of romantic idealism, Ellie goes seeking love and acceptance and validation in the arms of teenage boys at parties. Boys who say all of the right things and hold her the right way… and then leave her when it’s over. The last boy to “love” and leave Ellie is Josh. Ellie’s actions do not earn her the affection she seeks; they instead earn her the label of “slut” and an unplanned pregnancy. Ellie’s friends, Corinne and Caleb, want to stand by her and help her through this difficult time, but they are dealing with their own feelings and challenges related to Ellie’s circumstances. Ellie must decide how to “deal” with the situation she has found herself in. But, regardless of what she does, Ellie, Corinne, Caleb, and Josh will all be left viewing the world a little bit differently.

“Jumping Off Swings” was a good book. Not great, but good. It was a quick read that held my interest. The setting was unremarkable… just any ol’ town in the U.S. of A. The characters were believable and relate-able. The plot, told from four alternating points of view, developed quickly and steadily. I was left feeling a little unsatisfied with the ending – it felt kind of abrupt – but it was real and honest. I’m not sure that this book adds a great deal to the general “teenage pregnancy” narrative, but it is a good, solid story. It is one that I think most teens would find engaging, easy to read, and honest.

For me, “Jumping Off Swings” is a three-star read; it’s good, but not great. I read it in a matter of a few hours, teared up a time or two, wished the best for the characters, but closed the book ready to move on to the next. One thing that I think is a big plus for this book, though, is that I think both boys and girls could like it. The two female narrators and two male narrators provide a balanced telling, offering both perspectives to readers for contemplation. Not all books can boast appeal to both genders.
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