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Jumping Off Swings

(Jumping Off Swings #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  5,549 ratings  ·  601 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
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Candlewick Press
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Mary LaPointe I am reading this now to decide if it should be on my high school shelves. I am leaning toward yes. Many girls in that age group are grappling with…moreI am reading this now to decide if it should be on my high school shelves. I am leaning toward yes. Many girls in that age group are grappling with the same identity issues and learning to use their voice. I'm sure there will be some who say no, but you really have to think about how many high school girls are dealing with these tough concepts. If it helps one girl it should be there. I would say maybe not for 15 unless you are providing a cautionary tale.(less)

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Dec 25, 2011 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 misg
usagi ☆ミ
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 s
May 01, 2009 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,
Oct 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2009 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
Kaitlyn Oruska
May 03, 2012 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
Sep 02, 2011 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.
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: may-reads
This was a fast-paced and short book warns us against teen pregnancy and what abortion can do in a small town. I liked it for what it was, but I think there was a lot missing from the plot. Josh seemed like a bland character. He has sec with Ellie, finishes too fast and runs away? That bit when he goes back to his friends is pretty gross, and to me unnecessary. He was pretty inconsistent throughout the book and I think he could have done a better job at being supportive.
Corinne & Caleb were
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 thr
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 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
Oct 14, 2012 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. Y
Sep 09, 2009 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
Jeni Bell
Feb 12, 2010 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 th
Marjorie Light
Jul 22, 2009 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.
Nov 30, 2009 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: Elli
Feb 12, 2011 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
Jan 27, 2012 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 18, 2009 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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic, age-ya, 2012
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
Jan 01, 2009 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!
Morgan  Paukner
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I think the ending was unfufilling but this book was absolutely amazing. Thoughts to come.
Kim Lemmon
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What happens when a teenage girl gets pregnant? In the preface, the author, Jo Knowles, reveals that Ellie has been with multiple guys and the only outcome of it is heartbreak. After hooking up with Josh, everything changes. She gets pregnant. It doesn’t just affect Ellie and Josh, but their closest friends as well. After reading this it makes me think two ways. Either Ellie and Josh will get together and will take care of the baby or Josh won’t want anything to do with the baby and she’ll have ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was okay. I did not really appreciate how all over the place it was and the way it was written but the storyline itself was okay. The book pretty much told me that Ellie, the main character, was going to get pregnant but if I had not known I would not have been surprised. This young lady is obviously confused and should not be going out and having sex if she can not identify the difference between love and a one time thing. It got annoying and irritating when she would cry after every ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unpopular opinion: this book was amazing.

I probably think that because in school... I was Ellie. I literally had a guy chase me around, innocent at first, I remember laughing as he caught me against the lockers and I also remember the horror and embarrassment as he shoved his hands between my legs and rubbed my crotch. He then went around asking other guys did they want to smell me. I was labeled a slut by the age of 11, when I was still a virgin. I don't know... I lived it.

Ellie breaks my hea
Nicky Rigsby
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Jumping Off Swings is about four friends dealing with a high school pregnancy and the feelings and tough choices that come along with being pregnant in high school. Now what do I think, that is a tough question because when reading this I kept thinking back to my senior year in high school and what experiences I went through with my best friend, so this book hit close to home with the topic of high school pregnancy, and the choices that come along with that. However, I was unsure of the quality ...more
Taylar Bryant
May 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly Langert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, 2009, contemp
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
Aug 29, 2009 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
Jenni Arndt
Sep 02, 2012 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
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Jumping Off Swings (Jumping Off Swings #1) by Jo Knowles - Starting May 10th 2017 5 13 May 21, 2017 06:31PM  
Knowles when you make your office 1 1 Jul 15, 2015 07:27PM  
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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. My newest book, Where The Heart Is, comes out on April 2! I'm available for school, library and book club visits either in person or via skype. For more info, please visit Thanks! :-)

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