Jumpstart the World

( 4 )

Overview

Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a ...

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Jumpstart the World

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Overview

Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down.  Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Just before Elle's 16th birthday, her mother dumps her in her own New York City apartment (her stepfather " want a teenager around"). Alone, except for a one-eyed cat who mostly hides, she is grateful for neighbors Frank and Molly, whom she grows close to. Elle develops a crush on kind and wise Frank, but when she learns he is transgender, she wonders what this means about her own identity. Readers will be moved by Elle's thoughtful and honest narration, which genuinely reads like someone sorting through a complex situation--and her complicated emotions (when Frank offers help with her sick cat, she thinks, "It's not that I didn't appreciate his help. And it's not like I was judging him for his life choices. It's more like... If I could just have more time to swallow things"). While some plotting seems clichéd, such as Elle's decision to become a photographer so she can "remind the world to be what it knows it should be," even these familiar turns underscore the author's message about a universal need for love and acceptance. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Teresa Copeland
Sixteen-year-old Elle's mother has chosen her boyfriend over her, and moved her across town into her own apartment, with only a cat for company. This means a new school, where her recently cut-off hair brings bullying and accusations of lesbianism. The school's group of queer kids adopts her, even though she declares loudly she is straight and regularly accidentally says offensive things. Elle befriends her next-door neighbors, Frank and Molly. Frank is nice and smart, and Elle develops a major crush. Her queer friends realize that Frank is transgendered which Elle at first denies. When it is confirmed, she freaks out. Frank lands in the hospital facing the prejudice many in the medical community have for transsexuals, and Elle has to get over her trauma to help her friend. Elle narrates her awkward journey from clueless-but-neutral, straight person to Frank's ally. Along the way she encounters the bullying gay teens face, the complex issues transsexual people must deal with, and she must confront her own issues with identity, her mother, and how she views the world. For a book loaded with issues—there is even treatment of mental illness—this is a plain good read. These characters are funny, complex, and engaging. No one feels like they are present just to introduce an issue. Elle's sarcastic inner monologue is fun. She blunders into her revelations about the struggles of queer people, but she deals, apologizes, and manages to repair the relationships. There are many teens today who need this book. Reviewer: Teresa Copeland
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Elle is on her own for the first time in her life. "And she's so young. Turned eighteen barely a minute ago," Elle's mother tells the young man who lives in the apartment next door, as she asks him to help look after Elle. But Elle is not eighteen; she is fifteen, and she is moving into own apartment because her mother has chosen her new boyfriend over her only daughter. And Frank, too, is not what he seems to be. He is genuinely wise, empathetic, gentle, and caring, yes; but he is not a young "man" pure and simple; he is a man in the process of female-to-male transgender transformation. Elle's discovery that the first male figure to whom she is attracted is ambiguous in his gender rocks her world and ultimately leads her to care for Frank in a new way, with an awakened sensitivity to the terrible vulnerabilities he faces in a prejudiced society. Elle's initial attraction to Frank does not seem deep or strong enough to trigger such a wrenching reaction to her discovery of his transitional gender identity: "This officially began the period in my life I tend to refer to as After." But Elle's first-person narration is quietly compelling, studded with powerful insights that should linger long after reading, and her desire to "jumpstart the world" to get it to be "what even the world admits it should be" will inspire thoughtful readers. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When her mother chooses her boyfriend over her own daughter, Elle, 16, is moved into an apartment across Manhattan. She develops a friendship with Frank, who lives next door, and with Molly, Frank's girlfriend. As her feelings toward Frank turn into a crush, Elle becomes conflicted over how to deal with them. At the same time, she is befriended by "Us," a group of kids who are gay, lesbian, or just different in some way. When they meet Frank at a party and tell her they think he is a "trans man," Elle becomes angry and abruptly asks them to leave. Then she learns that Frank is a woman in the process of becoming a man, and she withdraws. However, when Frank is hit by a car and Elle nearly loses her best friend, she begins to understand the importance of acceptance of both others and herself. The value of friendship and the struggle to be comfortable in one's own skin are issues brought to light in this novel. As Elle learns to deal with who she is, she also learns to deal with those who aren't just like her. Willing to admit her mistakes and growing stronger throughout the book, Elle is a likable, well-developed character with whom teens will identify.—Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375866654
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 699,301
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of Becoming Chloe,The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Diary of A Witness, The Day I Killed James, the national bestseller Pay It Forward, and Love in the Present Tense, amongst many other books.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Jumpstart the World

    I love to challenge myself as a reader. I love to take on books with characters entirely different than me, and see if I can relate at all. Being able to step in to someone else's shoes and see the world the way they do is one of my most favorite things about reading. I wasn't sure how much I would get out of this short of a read, but don't let the size fool you. Jumpstart the World packs an emotional punch.

    When we meet Elle, she is a fifteen year old moving into an apartment of her very own. Now, my inner teen was automatically thinking, "Cool! I would kill to have a place all my own at fifteen! My parents wouldn't ever give me enough space at fifteen. That would be the bomb!". And then my adult self was going "Her own apartment at fifteen? Not believable!". But then we learn the reason Elle is getting her own apartment is because of her mom's new relationship. Her boyfriend doesn't want to deal with a teenager, so her mom gets Elle her own apartment. I can only imagine how hurt and abandoned I would feel if my mom were to do that to me. My heart went out to Elle. The things she did to upset her obsessed-with-perfection mother (like choose the "ugly" cat and cut off her long hair she knew her mom loved), being the rebellious teen I was, I think I would find myself doing those same things.

    In her new apartment building, Elle meets Frank. A guy who is cute and sweet and...already has a girlfriend, but Elle still develops feelings for him. When Elle finds out from her new group of LGBT friends that Frank is a transgender, she goes threw a whirlwind of emotions. Most of the story deals with Elle sorting out those emotions. I learned how life is for someone who is transgender right along with Elle. I would have never thought before how terrible a hospital stay could be for someone. Hyde did an excellent job with Frank's character. She didn't have to push anything on to him, he just...was who he was, and that showed to me as a reader. I loved how Elle's journey to learn compassion and love for others was realistic. She didn't just become all PC over night, she did and said some pretty stupid things along the way. Another character worth mentioning is Elle's cat, Toby. I enjoyed the role this little cat played, and how he helped Elle learn to care for others.

    Jumpstart the World is a character driven story that made me laugh in parts, cry in the others, and all the while made me think. Hyde once again succeeds at showing just how much we can learn and accomplish from opening our hearts to others. This is a book I hope finds its way in many reader's hands.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    Elle is a girl who doesn¿t belong anyplace--not even in her own

    Elle is a girl who doesn’t belong anyplace--not even in her own home, after her mother sends her packing to accommodate her latest boyfriend. Elle finds herself thrust into a new apartment, facing the prospect of a new school, and she’s alone. But she’s used to being alone.

    Then she meets Frank and Molly, and a gang of friends at school, who are Different. Or are they? Elle’s friendship and interactions with them deftly changes what it means to be beautiful, what it means to be special, and what it means to be true to the person that resides inside.

    Catherine Ryan Hyde’s style reads is as if we have been given someone’s diary and for just a few hours, we are allowed entrance into their secret world. We sit alongside Elle as she rides through the bumps, bruises and highs of her journey. More than that, Ms. Ryan Hyde captures silence like very few writers can. She takes the moments where everything is still, and she lets them just hold.

    Because we read a diary, the exposition does not preach like it might in someone else’s hands. With Ms. Ryan Hyde, the events, feelings and conclusions simply are. The way everything plays out is the only way it ever could; the way we would expect it to if this indeed was a journal capturing a snapshot of someone else’s life.

    "Jumpstart the World" is the story you read in a Saturday afternoon, so you can spend all day Sunday mulling over the imagery and the moments that rang true. Then the people and their lives creep into your heart and get absorbed into your lifeblood and stay with you in ways you can’t begin to imagine a few thousand words possibly can.

    Catherine Ryan Hyde delivers yet another deeply honest and raw rendition of what it means to be alive in our current times; it is haunting and exquisite to see how the lives of the characters intertwine, and how they find their own kind of happy ending. Not the fairy tale kind, but the kinds that are around us, waiting to be realized, in the world we can reach out and make our own.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo

    As the book opens, a mother is helping her young daughter move into her own apartment, even taking time to make a visit to the animal shelter to select a cat to provide company during the sometimes lonely transition of living on one's own. This not-so-unusual scene turns very unusual when the reader learns that the new tenant is only fifteen. Elle is actually happy to move into her own place, even if the reason is that her mother's current boyfriend doesn't want to deal with a teenager. Her mother always wanted Elle to fit into a certain mold - wear the "right" clothes and have the "right" friends. That's just not Elle. Elle's neighbors include a young couple, Frank and Molly. Frank immediately offers to help with whatever Elle needs. His eagerness to help and his calm, gentle manner make him instantly attractive to Elle. She is soon chatting with him and heading to the couple's apartment for homemade chicken noodle soup. Elle doesn't like to admit it out loud, but she has a crush on Frank. Starting in a new school on the first day of the year has its challenges, but when Elle impulsively decides to cut her hair the night before that first day, she takes a risk she later regrets. The day has hardly begun when Elle discovers the word "Queer" painted down the entire length of her locker. She is furious and humiliated but pleasantly surprised when a girl named Shane offers her the needed supplies to remove the offending word. With Shane's help, Elle makes friends with a group of misfits. At least she now has a table to eat at in the cafeteria, and she quickly finds that the group wants to include her in all their activities. They make her feel less lonely, and at a party they convince her to have at her apartment, they meet Frank. The judgment of the group is that Frank is a "trans-man" and probably preparing for transgender surgery. Elle is stunned and reacts by sending her friends home and avoiding them at school. As much as she likes Frank, Elle just isn't certain how finding out about his secret makes her feel. She questions if perhaps she isn't who she thinks she is and worries about her own possible sexuality. At the same time, she fears she will lose the friendship of the only person she has felt close to in a long, long time. JUMPSTART THE WORLD is Catherine Ryan Hyde's fifth novel for young adults. Elle is not your typical fifteen-year-old. Hyde portrays Elle's tenuous relationship with her mother as a possible reason for her more mature attitude, which allows her to handle herself in her own apartment and relate to the world with a much more tolerant view than most adults. Readers will become attached to the misfit friends surrounding Elle and admire their courage in the face of potentially cruel treatment and prejudice. As always, this Hyde novel is well worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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