Living with Jackie Chan

Living with Jackie Chan

4.0 2
by Jo Knowles
     
 

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After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive. This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new

Overview

After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive. This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in Jumping Off Swings which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In this companion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Josh expected to be hanging out with his friends and going to parties during his senior year, but all that changed after a one-night stand ended in an unexpected pregnancy. Afraid to face the girl whose life he believes he ruined, Josh moves in with his Jackie Chan-loving Uncle Larry and begins a new life at a new school. Yet no matter how hard he tries, he can't escape his past. Overcome with guilt and regret, Josh concentrates on helping his uncle with his karate class. His growing friendship with his neighbor, Stella, forces Josh to face his past in an attempt to find forgiveness, especially from his own worst enemy: himself. In this companion to Jumping Off Swings (Candlewick, 2009), Knowles provides readers with an intimate look at Josh a year after the events of the first book. Tormented by his past actions, Josh is constantly at war with his feelings, denying himself any happiness as penance. As the emotional core of the book, Josh is a complex yet incredibly likable character with whom readers will empathize. Similarly, both Larry and Stella possess dynamic, well-developed personalities, making it easy to believe how crucial a role they play in Josh's recovery. Divided into four parts, the compelling narrative offers an honest and frank look at teen pregnancy from the male's perspective, and while the book could have been a depressing read in another author's hands, Knowles succeeds in writing a character-driven story that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking.—Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH
Publishers Weekly
In an afterword, Knowles writes that this companion to Jumping Off Swings (2009) sprang from readers asking what happened to Josh, whose one-night stand with Ellie led to a baby given up for adoption. Teen pregnancy stories from a male perspective are few and far between, and this one deals with regrets rather than responsibility, since Josh bails completely, never speaking to Ellie about their encounter and changing high schools to avoid seeing her after she gives birth. He moves in with his über-energetic Uncle Larry and agrees to help him teach karate summer camp at the Y, where he’s paired up with Stella, a pretty classmate who lives in their building. This is an especially well-crafted sequel—readers need not have read the first book to get caught up in Josh’s agony—but there isn’t a lot of plot. It follows Josh’s interior journey from self-hatred to self-forgiveness, as he slowly accepts that he’s a good person who made a bad choice, and takes the first step toward moving forward from it. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
[A]n especially well-crafted sequel.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

As the emotional core of the book, Josh is a complex yet incredibly likable character with whom readers will empathize. ... Divided into four parts, the compelling narrative offers an honest and frank look at teen pregnancy from the male’s perspective, and while the book could have been a depressing read in another author’s hands, Knowles succeeds in writing a character-driven story that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Knowles is once again eloquent in her portrayal of real teens struggling to work through circumstance to better understand the liminal place between being a child and an adult. ... Living with Jackie Chan meets that elusive goal of filling a hole in young adult literature without preaching while still appealing to fans and being a hopeful, gratifying read.
—VOYA

Affecting. ... [T]here's something undeniably powerful about the stripped-down world that Jo Knowles has created.
—The New York Times Book Review

VOYA - Allison Hill
In the sequel to Jumping Off Swings (Candlewick, 2009/VOYA December 2009), Josh leaves his best friends behind to move in with his karate-obsessed Uncle Larry for his senior year. It is not Dave or Caleb that Josh is running from, though—it is Ellie, the girl he got pregnant, and the resulting baby that she gave up for adoption. While Josh's uncle is able to supply the structure that Josh needs, in part by making him his assistant karate coach at the Y, it is up to Josh to take control of his past regrets and become the kind of person his uncle calls "a true karate man." Training with his sometimes-friend Stella complicates Josh's struggle to move on and forces him to consider if moving on will ever be okay. This is the rarely told story of teen pregnancy from the other side—post-baby and from the guy's perspective. Knowles is once again eloquent in her portrayal of real teens struggling to work through circumstance to better understand the liminal place between being a child and an adult. Rather than being an action-filled plot like the title suggests, the book is quiet yet fraught with the uncertainty Josh feels about having used Ellie, given up the baby, and still wanting to move on. Living with Jackie Chan meets that elusive goal of filling a hole in young adult literature without preaching while still appealing to fans and being a hopeful, gratifying read. Reviewer: Allison Hill
Children's Literature - Denise Hartzler
Josh is spending his senior year with his Uncle Larry--a Jackie Chan obsessed karate instructor--rather than spending it at home with his close friends. This is not how Josh expected to live out his senior year. However, he does know it is for the best to relocate in order to forget the terrible decision he made last year. However, when you make a decision that has life changing consequences, Josh quickly realizes that he cannot run to forget. As Josh is plagued by what he did, he does find small moments of peace in his Uncle Larry’s karate class and with his one true friend, Stella. Josh wonders if he and Stella could move beyond friendship, but he doubts that she will ever get away from her jealous boyfriend and she might simply not want to know him after hearing what he did last year. The more time Josh spends with his Uncle and Stella, the more he realizes that he must drum up the courage and find his maturity in order to take responsibility. Taking a leap of faith Josh tells Stella the truth. She does not run. She stands by his side and encourages him to do the right thing. His relationship with Stella changes in that moment but not in the way either of them expected. In the Jo Knowles novel, Jumping Off Swings, Knowles told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all their lives. Living with Jackie Chan is an emotionally heartfelt companion. Readers who have not read Jumping Off Swings will not be lost with the story line here. If anything, Living with Jackie Chan will make readers want to read the preceding novel. Reviewer: Denise Hartzler AGERANGE: Ages 16 up.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-08-15
In this delightful and moving follow-up to Jumping Off Swings (2009), 17-year-old Josh moves away from his hometown and in with his ever-sanguine uncle to avoid confronting a crisis of his own making. He's been tormented by immeasurable guilt after a one-night stand resulted in a teen girl's pregnancy and, ultimately, the delivery of his baby. Uncle Larry, corny and sentimental, opens his arms to his troubled nephew, hoping to give him both guidance and room. As an avid Jackie Chan fan and a sensei, Larry spouts daily tenets about what makes a "true karate man"--which in its simplest terms means being a kind, decent person who unflinchingly helps those in need. But Josh's escape to the city isn't without frequent reminders of his indiscretion, and every time he passes a stroller or hears a baby wailing, he experiences severe anxiety attacks--which makes it especially difficult when Stella, a girl of intrigue for Josh, turns out to be the nanny for his upstairs neighbor's baby. As their friendship grows, Josh struggles to keep his moral transgression under wraps, but he soon discovers that Stella has baggage of her own. Josh's first-person, present-tense narration brings readers into his anguish and incrementally charts his recovery. Knowles' knack for developing relationships and creating authentic and memorable characters is truly superior, and the story positively brims with intelligence, sensitivity and humor. Readers will be behind Josh all the way. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763667160
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
520,116
Lexile:
530L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Jo Knowles is the author of Lessons from a Dead Girl, Jumping Off Swings, and See You at Harry’s. She lives in Vermont with her family.

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Living with Jackie Chan 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Living with Jackie Chan was an emotional read. From the beginning when Josh was first introduced in Jumping Off Swings to the very ending of Living with Jackie Chan, Each and every character showed a different emotion towards Josh when he needed it the most, and knew the right words to say to help him. With each character living with their own issues, they all join together to have each other's backs and to create an environment that will bring Josh out of his misery. Throughout the novel Josh transforms right before our eyes, for the best of course, into someone he never thought he would be a year ago.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I don't really remember much about Jumping off of Swings besides I liked it, and was a little nervous because of that going into this one since it is a companion novel. But I worried for nothing because I connected with Josh and though I didn't remember small details, we get the big picture from being in his head.     I really enjoyed Uncle Larry, he is happy, perky, supportive and a little strange, quirky, but still awesome. He really cares for others especially Josh, and I got really confused because he called him Sam all the time because of a childhood joke, but it became natural before too long and got used to it especially since his friend Stella picks up on it. I really appreciated extended family and the close and supportive relationship in this one. Although Josh's relationship with his parents is strained, I appreciate the efforts on both sides, and even acknowledging that things were rough for a while and nothing will be fixed over night.      The other secondary characters especially Stella bring so much to the story. She has a heap of her own issues with a possessive boyfriend. And as she becomes close with Josh, their friendship has to remain on the down low. But I enjoyed the easy nature and banter between them and the conversations that make them closer. Although I am in no way a fan of cheating, I so wanted them to be together because they are so good for each other.      Karate also plays a big role in this one and I was surprised how well it was tied in and made nature. As a fellow martial artist (well, at least I was before I had kids) I totally connected to those parts and understood how he liked to be a part of the group all doing the same thing at the same time and the power that can draw.  Bottom Line: Quick but emotional journey to forgiving yourself and finding acceptance with others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kind of freaks me out it looks like it would be about mr.chan being all alone with emotional problems and the omnly friend he has is a cat thats lame by its self.