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Jumping Off Swings
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Jumping Off Swings
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One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel. (Age 14 and up)Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they...
One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel. (Age 14 and up)Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they...
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  • One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel. (Age 14 and up)

    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: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character's point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl's life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind.

 

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 10, 2009
    Absorbing from first page to last, this sensitively written novel explores how a teenager’s crisis rocks her life as well as the lives of others. Ellie wants a boyfriend, but what she gets instead is a series of meaningless hookups, the fourth of which leaves her pregnant. Unable to go to her parents for comfort and guidance, she turns to her best friend, Corinne, and Liz, the compassionate mother of Ellie’s childhood friend, Caleb. While rumors about her condition spread, Ellie has no idea how profoundly her pregnancy and her decision about whether to have the baby affects the baby’s father, Josh, whom she has avoided ever since he abandoned her after their only sexual encounter. Meanwhile, Corinne and Caleb are drawn together by their shared concern for Ellie. Offering four equally sympathetic viewpoints, Knowles (Lessons from a Dead Girl
    ) eloquently expresses the pain of lost innocence (“Their words made me feel beautiful. Irresistible. Even powerful for that one brief moment before it was over. But I was none of those things. I was nothing”) and the longing to feel loved. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2009
    Gr 9 Up-Ellie has sex with boys who make her feel wanted and beautiful and then never call again. Even seemingly decent Josh, a virgin, leaves right after their tryst and never speaks to her again. It turns out the condom "slipped off" (?) and she gets pregnant. The next nine months are narrated by four charatersEllie, Josh, and their best friends, Corinne and Caleb. Ellie's and Josh's families are filled with stock dysfunctionfrom Ellie's shrill, uptight mother and perfect-on-the-outside home to Josh's washed-up, hard-drinking father and hapless mother. The plot of this novel is tired, but Corinne and Caleb, at least, are mercifully convincing and thoughtful. Each, of course, comes from a stable family. Caleb's single mother is the novel's moral center. The blaring contrast between stable kids from loving families versus lost kids from dysfunctional families oversimplifies a complex subject. Knowles writes fluidly, and though Caleb's and Corinne's scenes shine, Ellie and Josh never engage enough to set "Jumping Off Swings" apart in the genre."Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    July 1, 2009
    Grades 9-12 When Josh, 16, has sex with Ellie, it is his first time, and he is thrilled to boast to his mates that he is now elevated from virgin geek to ultrastud. But after Joshs condom falls off, Ellie finds herself pregnant. At first she plans to have an abortion. Then she changes her mind, goes through the pregnancy and painful childbirth, and gives the baby up for adoption. At school the word slut is scratched on her locker, but she does get support from her best friend, Corinne, who calls herself Miss Horny Forever Virgin, even as she has a fun romance with Caleb. Told in the alternating first-person narratives of four high-schoolers over nine months, Knowles novel unveils surprises to the very end about family, friends, love, and sex. The simple words are eloquent about being together and alone at the same time, and because there is no easy resolution, readers, whatever their personal choices and values, will be caught up in the contemporary drama of strength, shame, and heartbreak.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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    Candlewick Press
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