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JUMPING OFF SWINGS by Jo Knowles

JUMPING OFF SWINGS

By Jo Knowles

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3949-5
Publisher: Candlewick

A heartbreakingly honest, measured work of fiction about a teen’s unintended pregnancy is narrated in four voices in this latest from Knowles (Lessons from a Dead Girl, 2007). Ellie, Josh and their respective best friends Corinne and Caleb have known each other since they were young kids playing together at the park. Caleb, in fact, has nursed a quiet crush on Ellie for years and has been troubled by her worsening reputation as she ping-pongs from one guy to the next in a futile attempt to feel loved. He is both angry and hurt when Josh suddenly pursues her at a party and then casts her aside literally the minute after they have sex. With so many protagonists in the mix, it is no small feat that each character is fully developed and multidimensional—there are no villains or heroes here, only kids groping their way through a desperate situation. While the story never completely succeeds in shedding its problem-novel tone, it is nonetheless finely executed—a moving tale with a realistically unresolved ending. (Fiction. 13 & up)