Published by Candlewick on 11 August 2009
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Also by this author: Living with Jackie Chan
Place(s) Traveled to: Unnamed – Somewhere in the Northeast USA
First Line(s): I can still feel a trace of his warm lips against mine as he slips away from me and fumbles for the door to his father’s van.
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles is one of those books that I’ve been hearing a lot about off and on since I started blogging. Most people seem to love it and praise its discussion potential. Its not an over hyped book but at the same time I was a bit wary of it but when I got approved for its companion novel, Living with Jackie Chan, I thought now was a good time to give it a try. And my first thoughts? For such a short book it felt so very long. This one was a tough book for me to get into and with the narrative switching between four characters it just seemed as if we never really got to know any of them.
It also didn’t help that there were these random jumps in time every few chapters which should have helped to speed the story up but always made me feel like I was missing something. For me, it just seemed like nothing ever happened in this book. All the characters were so passive and this lack of action or drama just made the story seem so slow. Perhaps I would have liked this better if this book was just between Josh and Ellie. The other narratives never added anything to the story and only took away from the main series of events that were going on.
The ending was also so inconclusive and I felt that there just should have been more to close out the story. I can be okay with open ended books when they are done right but there wasn’t the case here. For me, Jumping Off Swings was a bit of a let down and its not one that I can really recommend it to others. It just lacked depth and emotion and it leaves me sad as the subject could have been a really powerful one.