Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jumping Off Swings

I read this book out of order.

I read Living With Jackie Chan, the sequel, before this one. So, I already knew what happened to the characters, but it turned out not to matter because Jumping Off Swings is fantastic whenever you read it.

Told from the perspective of four teens, the reader learns about how Josh and Ellie have one sexual encounter, which leads to pregnancy and many difficult feelings and consequences. Their best friends, Caleb and Corinne, struggle to support them, even when they don't agree with their decisions. While it's a short novel, the emotions are heavy and stick with the reader.

I found that the best friends were better written than the two young parents. I loved how Knowles portrayed their conflict, and how they were reluctant to admit their own romantic feelings in light of Ellie and Josh's pregnancy. So much of this book felt realistic to me: the small town where you can see the teenage boys turning into their fathers, the mother who refuses to believe her daughter isn't a "good girl", the slut-bashing of the teenage mother. At times, the language was crude, but teenage life can be crude, so that added to the authenticity. Knowles doesn't shy away from tough topics and unhappy truths. That's why I keep coming back for more of her books.

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