Review: Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles

Jumping Off SwingsJumping off Swings by Jo Knowles

  • ISBN-13: 9780763652968
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Source: From Publisher for Review

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, 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.

My Thoughts:

Jumping off Swings was a reality that was hard for me to face.  This story just made me sad for every girl out there like Ellie who faced the decision of keeping a baby to give up for adoption or having an abortion.  Not only just the decision but going through the mean words and judgement of others at the same time.  For a girl that was already in doubt about herself, Ellie faced this challenge and for a while goes it alone until her tell her best friend, Corinne, and then Caleb find out from Corinne.  In turn, Caleb’s mom figures out what is going on and get the topic out in the open but not before Ellie breaks down in school.  And then there is Josh who is the father and his treatment of Ellie.

I like that this story is written from not just Ellie’s point of view but each of the four teens.  It was an unique stance to take and really allowed the reader to see all of the different points of view in a situation like this and not how it affect the pregnant teen but those around her as well.  The coping and challenges are not just for one person but it is an emotional roller coaster for all involved.  

As sad as this book made me, there were good parts to.  The fact that there are adults who will be there as support, even if they are the teen’s parent was a key for me in this story.  I think that it is important that teens know and understand that there are people out there who will help and offer support in difficult time so even if you can’t go to a parent please find someone you can turn too.

This book is about a hard topic but was written in a manner that made the topic approachable.

My Rating:


Demonstrates different points of view

Open and Honest

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