Jumping Off Swings

Jumping Off Swings

by Jo Knowles

Hardcover

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763639495
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 08/11/2009
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL570L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jo Knowles is the author of the novel Lessons from a Dead Girl, an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers. The recipient of the 2005 PEN New England Children’s Book Discovery Award, Jo Knowles lives in Vermont.

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Jumping off Swings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Told alternately from the perspective of four life-long friends: Caleb, Corrine, Josh and Ellie, Jumping Off Swings is a book that deals with the consequences of teen pregnancy - and the fact that it affects the life of everyone, not just the young mother. Parents, friends, teachers, classmates, the father, mother, the child - everyone. Ellie and Corinne has been friends since elementary school but Corinne has been worried about her beautiful friend ever since she started sleeping with guys and feeling heartbroken when it didn't lead to anything long-term. Sporting a massive crush on Ellie ever since second grade, Caleb is disgusted to find out his friend Josh not only slept with Ellie at a party but then left her and bragged about it to his friends afterwards. Now all four are caught up in the aftermath of depression, anger and scorn as Ellie discovers she is pregnant at 16. This is a delicate topic all around and I felt like Jo Knowles handled it with all the acre it deserved. That said, I still wouldn't recommend it to just anyone: it was such a mature, emotional roller coaster which brought out so many feelings. It wasn't just a fluff story of a girl facing the scorn of family and friends while trying to decide what to do. There was very real character development. All four of the teens voices came across so clearly I understood the choices they made because I knew them. My only problem was I felt like every one of the teens portrayed had a terrible home life, minus one. Which of course can lead to someone making not so wise choices, but still, it seemed more than a little depressing at times. I was a little unsettled about the relationship between Ellie and her mom however. Ellie basically goes through the whole book with some serious self-esteem/self-worth issues. Coming from a family that isn't exactly the most loving or touchy-feely, she has tried to find that fulfillment in the boys she dates. Okay, I get it: teenager doesn't feel loved (especially by parents) and so turns to boys at a young age. What I have a problem with is the face that even though her mother is basically MIA from her entire life at one point she and Ellie have sort of a kodak moment which seems to ask the reader to believe that even though their relationship has been non-existent up to this point, it will be better in the future. Personally, I really don't see that happening. It wasn't even that grand of a peace offering on her mother's part in the first place and I just felt that Ellie's pain was perhaps a little too serious for her mom's 'too little, too late' gesture. That said, Jo Knowles could have just been illustrating the point that these two completely opposite people will probably struggle to connect for their entire lives. seemichelleread.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really love this book. As a foutreen year old who knows a girl who is pregnant, it really opened my eyes to the difficulty of going through teen pregnancy. This is a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book could not put it down it did a great job explaining things and it also explained how different things affect different people in different ways again great book would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a really good book i know i loved it.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles covers a teenage pregnancy through the eyes of four characters: Ellie the would be mother, Corinne her best friend, Caleb the nice guy who's had a crush on Ellie, and Josh, the would be father. Throughout the story you go through Ellie's pregnancy and how each of these characters feel as they try to help her through her ordeal. I found it a very sombre story. Ellie just wants to feel and be loved. Although she's going about it the wrong way, as you read more into her character, you see her family isn't your typical loving one. As you figure out how her family really is, you understand and start to sympathize with her as the story progresses. I have to admit I didn't really have much patience for Ellie. I just felt like shaking my head and slapping her across the face and telling her to wake up, grow up and do the responsible thing whatever it is. On the other hand, she's extremely scared. This sort of thing is very life changing, so her behaviour is understandable. The plot flows well throughout this story, each chapter is told in each of the character's perspective so you have a glimpse of how they live and they problems and issues they face even though it's all centralized with Ellie. I can't help but think this is like one of those made for TV after school specials for teens. It sure seems that way when I was reading this book. However, it does the job of engrossing me and kept me turning the pages to read on. Most of the time you just feel so sad for Ellie and what she's going through (once your initial anger phase goes away). I changed my mind about her more than halfway through the book and realized that she indeed is a very brave person to go through her decisions regarding her baby. The only thing that irks me is Josh. I don't know how the rest of the guys feel when they're having an unexpected surprise spring on them by a girlfriend. I suppose the pessimistic side of me expects them to just take a hike and leave. Although I know most guys probably aren't that way, you just hear about the bad ones more. So I'm not sure if Josh as a character is realistic but that's just me. You would think most guys would run away at the sound of "baby" and "yours" put together. Other than that, I thought all characters had a sense of realism to them. They weren't the cookie cutter ones you read in some of those teen books where everything is perfect. They each have their issues and problems too. It makes the characters almost "three dimensional" so to speak. The ending leaves with a sombre note too, but with a sense of optimism for some of the characters. Overall a good sombre, serious read, but a satisfying one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could't put this book down. I loved how it was told from four different characters point of view. That was interesting to know how different people viewed how Ellie got pregnant. The story was so good and amazing. I cried at the end. The ending was so sad! But it made the book good. I recommend this!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. I read it in less than a day. Now all of my friends are reading it and loving it also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book read it in one night couldn't put it down!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Idont read a lot but this is a very good book. Very detailed i can connect with each character and see everything as i am there. I will totally recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im only 13 ( not prego) haha... but i when i was reading this book i pictured myself in her place(: this book is by far the best book ive ever read in my entire life.. i love it and if your not a very good reader and it takes you forever just read this book, i finished it in 1 and a half days! It was amazing, so touching, sad, cute, enspiring all in one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book that really just gets you into it&emotional. I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is just. Wow. There are no words to describe how great it is...I just wish the book ended a little different..
LRand More than 1 year ago
Jo Knowles' writing is simple and inviting. Yet the exploration of themes, and emotions of each of her characters is skillfully done. The book is about connection, or disconnection in most cases, communication and lack of communication. It also explores what it is like to feel all alone, ostracized and misunderstood by society, or the peer-normal world.One night two young people are together in a car. Afterward the boy brags about the act to please his friends. The girl sinks into depression as she didn't get the loving relationship she thought she would get.Through Knowles writing, we get to see how these actions affect the two young people, their best friends and their parents. We also see the critical need for a loving adult figure in a teen's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book, i felt like i could relate well to ellie since i got pregnant as a teen, this book made tear up several times, it is however a very short read like i feel they could have at least added an extra 50 pages to it, but i liked how it had differemt views on the situation other then just the girl who is pregnant, i thought that was pretty neat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The moment I read this book I couldn't put it down. It was actually one of my fastest books in a long time. I liked every second of it; the different point of views, Caleb's love for Ellie turning into something for Corinne. To me it shows the way that some of us teens act today, which makes it realistic with people's words and actions. The ending wasn't truly happy, but it makes you hope that there's something good out there for Ellie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book not too long ago and it turned out to be the best book in the work i hope she write another like this i would love to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive only read the sample and so fa its good. I think that most teens could relate to many of these problems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to teens its such a great book!(:
Alex Greco More than 1 year ago
The story was predictable and a little boring but the neat thing about this book is you get to read different sides to the same story. The four main characters who tell the story are likeable and the reader can relate to each of them easily. This isn't the greatest book ever written but it is a quick read and worth having.
tripleAgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure I'm a fan of the multiple viewpoint format for this book. At times, it makes Ellie seem petty, shallow and melodramatic. However, her friend, Corrine is a strong character and that makes up for a lot. Overall, Jo Knowles writing is strong, most of the dialogue feels realistic, and the story is emotionally powerful and riveting.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles covers a teenage pregnancy through the eyes of four characters: Ellie the would be mother, Corinne her best friend, Caleb the nice guy who's had a crush on Ellie, and Josh, the would be father. Throughout the story you go through Ellie's pregnancy and how each of these characters feel as they try to help her through her ordeal. I found it a very sombre story. Ellie just wants to feel and be loved. Although she's going about it the wrong way, as you read more into her character, you see her family isn't your typical loving one. As you figure out how her family really is, you understand and start to sympathize with her as the story progresses. I have to admit I didn't really have much patience for Ellie. I just felt like shaking my head and slapping her across the face and telling her to wake up, grow up and do the responsible thing whatever it is. On the other hand, she's extremely scared. This sort of thing is very life changing, so her behaviour is understandable. The plot flows well throughout this story, each chapter is told in each of the character's perspective so you have a glimpse of how they live and they problems and issues they face even though it's all centralized with Ellie. I can't help but think this is like one of those made for TV after school specials for teens. It sure seems that way when I was reading this book. However, it does the job of engrossing me and kept me turning the pages to read on. Most of the time you just feel so sad for Ellie and what she's going through (once your initial anger phase goes away). I changed my mind about her more than halfway through the book and realized that she indeed is a very brave person to go through her decisions regarding her baby. The only thing that irks me is Josh. I don't know how the rest of the guys feel when they're having an unexpected surprise spring on them by a girlfriend. I suppose the pessimistic side of me expects them to just take a hike and leave. Although I know most guys probably aren't that way, you just hear about the bad ones more. So I'm not sure if Josh as a character is realistic but that's just me. You would think most guys would run away at the sound of "baby" and "yours" put together. Other than that, I thought all characters had a sense of realism to them. They weren't the cookie cutter ones you read in some of those teen books where everything is perfect. They each have their issues and problems too. It makes the characters almost "three dimensional" so to speak. The ending leaves with a sombre note too, but with a sense of optimism for some of the characters.Overall a good sombre, serious read, but a satisfying one.
donitaremy1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Could immediately make connections to students I work with every day. This book deals with issues that really take place in teen life--today and in the past. I can see a lot of teens relating to this storyline.
bigorangemichael on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ellie and Josh are two teenagers who have a one-night stand in the back of Josh's van. The novel starts off in the awkward moments after their coupling and explores their reaction to events as well as that of two close friends. Told from the first-person perspective of each character, the story switches points of view, allowing us inside the heads of each character and offering a fascinating, compelling and (at times) frightening look at what it's like to grow up today.Of course, ...more Ellie and Josh are two teenagers who have a one-night stand in the back of Josh's van. The novel starts off in the awkward moments after their coupling and explores their reaction to events as well as that of two close friends. Told from the first-person perspective of each character, the story switches points of view, allowing us inside the heads of each character and offering a fascinating, compelling and (at times) frightening look at what it's like to grow up today.Of course, Ellie ends up pregnant after a mishap with the birth control and the story begins to examine the impact of that on all the players involved. By going inside the minds of the various characters, we get an interesting view and Jo Knowles captures a lot of the angst and uncertainty of being a teenager without being over the top or overly angsty about it. The novel does look at the decisions made and their impact on each of the characters in an honest, refreshing way.
mosylu1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Ellie gets pregnant after a one-time encounter with Josh at a party, she's not the only one affected. This book looks at teen pregnancy from multiple viewpoints--Ellie, Josh, and their respective best friends--as they confront the end to all their innocence.While I liked the multiple POV and the honest acknowledgement of the teen father's emotions as well as the teen mother's, there was a troubling undertone of "If you have sex, your life will be ruined. Ruined!!!!" The two best friends, who hooked up but hung onto their virginity, finish the book happy and positive, while the two teen parents are lost and depressed. Ellie drifts along, looking at every baby and missing her own, while Josh actually changes schools to get away from Ellie and the reminder of what he lost without ever really having it. I'm not saying they should have forgotten the whole thing and gone back to algebra class, but some kind of epilogue that shows the way the experience changed them without totally destroying their lives would have satisfied me.
1402069 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I started reading this book, I was thinking, "oh, great, a book about a teenage slut," But then you learned Ellie's story, and how her home life is, and how she just wants love. This book was good, and had an unexpected ending - not the ending I wanted exactly, but still a good book.
ericajsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book, Knowles manages to dig into a difficult subject without weighing down the reader with an overbearing sense of importance. The premise is simple: a high school girl discovers she's pregnant, and the choices she makes after that discovery affect others around her. There's not much deviation from that simplicity, but the result is far from simplistic. Because the book is told from four perspectives, there is a more panoramic picture of the events taking place than if it had only been told from Ellie's point of view. Although Ellie is at the center of all that is happening, her voice seems like a whisper compared to the other three. It is through this softness that you see the heartbreak and confusion; her narration has an almost dreamlike quality to it, as if she's watching everything through a haze. In contrast, Josh's voice has a hard edge to it, tinged with the pain of his home life and the shame of his own behavior toward Ellie. These extremes are tempered, and ultimately shadowed by, the narratives of their respective best friends, Corinne and Caleb, who often feel ill-equipped to support Ellie and Josh. However, the use of four different narrators was, at times, confusing. While Josh and Caleb's voices are mostly distinct, there were moments when they were so similar I had to go back and figure out who was narrating the chapter.The construct of the book, told in four parts, allows the story to move through its major points without lingering too long at any one point. Within these parts, Knowles skillfully weaves a secondary storyline involving Corinne and Caleb's complicated friendship without detracting from the larger tale. Although I would've liked to see a little more depth to the characters, the trade-off is a succinctly told story that doesn't get bogged down in details.