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4.5 11
by Elisa Carbone

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Jump. That is what P.K. has done. A totally wild, crazy jump from a restrictive life with her family into a life of total adventure—rock-climbing out west with a guy she barely knows. At first, everything’s amazing. Not only are they climbing in awesomely beautiful national parks like Yosemite but they seem awesomely made for one another. P.K. is in


Jump. That is what P.K. has done. A totally wild, crazy jump from a restrictive life with her family into a life of total adventure—rock-climbing out west with a guy she barely knows. At first, everything’s amazing. Not only are they climbing in awesomely beautiful national parks like Yosemite but they seem awesomely made for one another. P.K. is in heaven. And then the cops show up . . . with an arrest warrant. And P.K. has to decide who to believe: this amazing guy whom she trusts with her life—or the cops, who want her to believe that he may take her life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Told through the alternating present-tense perspectives of two runaways who connect through their love of rock climbing, Carbone’s (Blood on the River) picaresque novel is equal parts entertaining and provocative. Strong-willed 16-year-old P.K. runs away to avoid being shipped to boarding school, and gentle-natured Critter, who has the ability to see colors that indicate people’s emotions (for reasons he keeps to himself for some time), escapes from a psychiatric hospital. The teens hitchhike to Las Vegas and jump at the chance to make the first-ever ascent of a steep rock face. Chapters range from a few sentences to a few pages, and the descriptions of the pair’s climbs are riveting—especially a treacherous scramble up a cliff with police in pursuit. Yet the narrators’ psychological explorations are as exhilarating as their physical exploits. The allegedly unbalanced Critter takes serenity to new heights as he shares with P.K. logical, relatable coping mechanisms (“You’re scared of the future.... look at where you are now. Is there anything to be afraid of?”). An incisive reflection on endurance, independence, belonging, self-knowledge, and love, this story should find a wide audience. Ages 12-up. (May)
Bulletin for the Center of Childrens Books
"[B]oth the journey and the end result are extremely satisfying."
Ali Wilson
When PK's parents have finally had enough, they decide to send her to boarding school. PK decides differently. If she is going to be away from her family and friends, she is going to do it on her own terms. None of her friends will join her in an escape to the rock climbers' dream of Yosemite National Park, but she finds an unlikely partner in the mysterious Critter. Initially struggling with issues of trust, PK learns to appreciate Critter's strange insights into her feelings and moods. Together, they find peace in the act of climbing and a budding relationship, although they are never quite able to outrun their pasts that are quickly closing in. Readers with climbing experience will appreciate the authentic descriptions of climbs, falls, and the thrill of the summit as they root for PK and Critter to beat the odds. Reviewer: Ali Wilson
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Two teenage runaways meet at a climbing gym and, together, embark on a dangerous and revealing journey. P. K. lets Critter join her on a big climbing trip out West because she needs someone to accompany her, and he's the coolest-looking guy in the gym. Although their histories are very different, they have much in common and seem made for each other. They climb together in awe-inspiring, beautiful national parks, including Yosemite. Then the police show up with an arrest warrant for Critter. P. K. wants to believe that he is an amazing guy—not that he has taken another life and may take hers. This story is described as a "high adrenaline love story that will keep the pages flying." It is a very well-written young adult novel, of quality equal to Elisa Carbone's other excellent and educational works. There's always truth and learning to be found in the pages of her books. It is difficult to put each of her books down until it is finished—and this one is also like that. It is also a fine-looking book. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
VOYA - Betsy Fraser
While P. K. and Critter have very different problems, they have both determined that running away is their only option, especially as it will allow them to indulge in their love of rock climbing. P. K.'s parents have decided that she should go to boarding school, starting with a summer session designed to separate her from the friends of whom they do not approve. Unfortunately, none of her friends are willing to go with her. When a gorgeous stranger—an impossibly good climber—agrees to go with her, P. K. does not ask questions. Meanwhile Critter—who is not depressed but experiencing a newfound clarity that his family is unable to understand—escapes from a psych ward in which his parents committed him after a suicide attempt. The two teenagers join a team that is establishing a new route while traveling across the country, all the while being chased by security sent by their parents to bring them back. Carbone's familiarity with rock climbing roots this story in reality. The characters' love of their sport shines through and will broaden its appeal to readers of sports fiction. This tale told in alternating points of view moves quickly while the relationship between P. K. and Critter is reminiscent of Auden and Eli in Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride (Viking, 2009/VOYA June 2009). Reviewer: Betsy Fraser
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—P.K. has decided to run away before her parents can send her to boarding school. When her climbing friends at the local gym decline her invitation to come along, she enlists a handsome stranger to join her. What she doesn't know is that Critter, who is a gifted climber, has recently escaped from a mental institution, where his parents committed him following a suicide attempt. Thing is, Critter's near-death experience has left him feeling great. He sees people's auras, can feel their moods, and oftentimes intuit their thoughts. He believes that since the past has passed and the future can't be known, one might as well live as purely in the present as possible. His mantra is, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" Demonstrating these principles to P.K. as they cross the country, climbing first at Red Rocks in Nevada and later at Yosemite, they evade capture by the authorities when they can and escape when they can't. There is enough climbing lingo and action to interest gym rats, and it's hyped by the tension and passion of their developing relationship. All's well that ends well, and madness, at least in the case of Critter, seems not to be all that different from believing that one—anyone—might reasonably choose a road less traveled.—Joel Shoemaker, South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Kirkus Reviews
Two teenage runaways bond as they scale various challenging cliff faces in this romantic adventure that will please fans of both Anthony Horowitz and Meg Cabot. Critter is a fugitive from a mental institution to which he was committed after a suicide attempt. P.K. is desperate to escape her parents' plans to send her to boarding school. The two meet at a local gym, where Critter agrees to accompany P.K. on a spontaneous rock-climbing trip that will continue until they are captured or run out of cash. Critter's fresh enthusiasm for life, born from his near-death experience and based on a Buddhist-like philosophy, is positive and funny, deepening the plot and contrasting nicely with P.K.'s anxious personality. Soon they are sharing their life stories and falling in love. Suspense builds as they stay one step ahead of the authorities, and the climbing sequences are action-packed and intense. (Familiarity with rock-climbing terminology isn't essential, but it does help.) The short chapters, unusual topic and alternating first-person voices make this an exceptional choice for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Elisa Carbone knows the subject matter of Jump extremely well, having rock-climbed across the country, including in Yosemite National Park. She is the author of many award-winning books, including Stealing Freedom and Storm Warriors. The mother of two grown children, she lives with her husband in Maryland and West Virginia.

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Jump 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Michelle St. John More than 1 year ago
So unique and inspiring great book (FYI this book is available at most library) ;-)
harstan More than 1 year ago
After he tried and failed at suicide, Critter was locked away at a mental institution. However, he didn't hang around; long because he was able to escape from the asylum. Over her objections, her parents plan to send P.K. to boarding school. She refuses to hang around so she runs away from home. Critter and P.K. meet at a rock gym and recognize in each other a similar lost soul mentality. She invites him on a rock-climbing trip that he accepts. Both understand that their freedom sojourn will end once the authorities catch them or funds run out. As the pair begins to fall in love mounting one rock at a time, each finds a renewed élan for life. Targeting middle school readers, this is a terrific tale of two teens on the run together staying one jump ahead of the authorities chasing after them. Critter and P.K. find a common bond with one another. Fast-paced with ultra short chapters that rotate perspective mostly between the lead pair, fans will root for the runaways who find each other on rocks and a dumpster, but can they sustain it when both has issues that cage them. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it could of had a beater ending but very very very good i love how u dont no how critter got in the wored till later on in the book. O the cop undercover was awesome. U will have 2 read the book 2 know what i am talking about. Awesome book sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short and to the point. But holds reader till the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a test&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786&#9786 wow so much joy in the world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It waas one of my favorite love books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Running away with someone u dont know and falling in love.... beautiful!!!!!!!!!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, this book was amazing from start to finish. With all of critters thoughts on living,it makes the reader question and take into thought his points on the matter. I'd tell anyone i kniw to read this book and i will. Trust me, read it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sup ;)