The Book Jumper

The Book Jumper

by Mechthild Gläser

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250086679
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 4,067
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning author in her native Germany. The Book Jumper is her first book to be translated into English.
Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning author in her native Germany. The Book Jumper is her first book to be translated into English.

Read an Excerpt

The Book Jumper

By Mechthild Gläser, Romy Fursland

Feiwel and Friends

Copyright © 2015 Mechthild Gläser
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-08667-9



Once upon a time there we stood, Alexis and me, chucking things into suitcases. Socks, sweaters, pants. I tugged handfuls of clothes from my wardrobe and flung them into the wheeled suitcase that lay open behind me, and Alexis did the same in the next room. We barely even registered what we were packing, whether we'd included our favorite clothes or not. The main thing was to get it done quickly. That's what we'd agreed. Because if we'd taken our time over the packing and made a list, the way we usually did, we would surely have realized that what we were doing was completely and utterly crazy.

Everyone in my family was crazy. That's what my mum, Alexis, always said anyway, when I asked her why she'd run away from her home in Scotland at the age of seventeen with nothing but a suitcase in her hand and me in her belly. She'd upped sticks and left for Germany — pregnant and not even legally an adult yet — and ended up in Bochum. I think she felt too young to be a mum, so she wanted me to call her by her first name instead, which I always had and still did. And now I was nearly seventeen myself (well, in fourteen months I would be) and it was starting to look like I'd inherited the "crazy" gene. That morning at breakfast — an hour ago now — I, too, had spontaneously decided to leave the country. We'd gone online and booked ourselves flights on a budget airline, departing that same afternoon. All we had to do now was pack. I rooted around in a drawer and hurriedly dug out a few bras and pairs of underwear.

"Bring your warm jacket with you, Amy," said Alexis as she wheeled her suitcase (stuffed to bursting with clothes) into my bedroom and tried to squish my pillow in on top. Inside the case I could see her organic cotton corduroys and a shirt from Etsy decorated with a brightly colored apple print.

"I don't really think I need a parka in July," I muttered. My suitcase was pretty full by now, too — although mainly with books. Clotheswise I'd packed only what was strictly necessary. The way I saw it, it was better to take one less cardigan than have to do without one of my favorite books.

"I think you're underestimating the weather over there," said Alexis, eyeing the contents of my suitcase and shaking her mahogany-brown locks. Her eyes were red and swollen; she'd been up all night crying. "Just take your e-reader. Won't that do?"

"But I don't have Momo or Pride and Prejudice as e-books."

"You've read both those books about a hundred times each."

"And what if I want to read them for the hundred-and-first time while I'm there?"

"They've got more than enough books on that blessed island, Amy, believe me. You have no idea."

I ran my fingertips over the cover of my well-thumbed copy of Momo. I'd often wished I had an enchanted tortoise like the one in Momo to guide me on my journey through life. I needed this book. It comforted me when I was sad. I needed it now more than ever.

Alexis sighed. "Well, make sure you fit the jacket in somehow, OKAY? It can get pretty chilly there." She sat down on the suitcase and tugged at the zipper. "I'm worried this whole thing is a bad idea anyway," she fretted. "Are you sure that's the only place you'll be able to take your mind off things?"

I nodded.

* * *

The tiny boat pitched in the swell, tossed back and forth as though the sea were playing ball with it. Lightning flickered across the sky, where dark storm clouds were massing, shrouding the ocean in a cloak of surreal gray pierced by sudden flares of light and ominous rolls of thunder. The water had turned the color of slate and the rain was coming down in sheets — heavy, biting gray raindrops that hammered down on the waves and sharpened their crests. What with the thunderstorm and the giant waves smashing against the cliffs that loomed on the horizon, Mother Nature was putting on a pretty formidable display. It was terrifying, awe-inspiring, and wonderful all at the same time.

On second thought, "wonderful" was possibly a bit of an overstatement. The problem was that I happened to be sitting in this tiny little boat, in the middle of this thunderstorm, clinging onto my seat for dear life to keep myself from falling overboard. Spray shot into the air and into our faces. Alexis tried gamely to hold on to our luggage, while the man driving the boat cranked up the engine till it roared.

The rain had come down quite suddenly and within seconds I'd been soaked through. I was also freezing cold, and all I could think about was arriving — I didn't care where, as long as it was somewhere warm and dry. During our flight from Dortmund to Edinburgh, the sun had still been shining, in a bright, cloudless sky. And though a few clouds had appeared by the time we'd boarded the little plane to Sumburgh Airport on Mainland (the biggest of the Shetland Islands, off the Scottish coast), I certainly hadn't reckoned with this apocalyptic scene.

I blinked at the burning of the salt water in my eyes as another wave rocked our boat and nearly swallowed up Alexis's handmade felt handbag. It was getting harder and harder to hold on to my seat. The ice-cold wind had long since numbed my fingers to the point where I could barely control them. Reading about a storm like this in a book was a far more pleasurable experience. When I was reading — even when I was scared, when I shuddered in horror, when the story plunged me right into the midst of the most terrible disasters — I never entirely lost that warm, cozy tucked-up-on-the-sofa feeling. There was no trace of that feeling now, and I realized that real-life storms, unlike literary ones, were most definitely not my idea of fun.

The next wave was even more savage than the last, and it washed clean over my head. At the same moment I gulped frantically for breath — not the best idea, as it caused me to choke on a huge mouthful of water. Coughing and gasping, I tried to empty my lungs of seawater while Alexis landed a few hearty thumps on my sodden back. This sent her bag sailing overboard. Oh, crap! But Alexis seemed to have given up on the idea of bringing all our possessions safely ashore anyway, and didn't even spare a glance for this portion of her worldly goods.

"Nearly there, Amy. Nearly there!" she called — no sooner had the words crossed her lips than they were carried away on the wind. "We did want to come here, remember. I'm sure we're going to have a lovely holiday on Stormsay." It was probably supposed to sound cheerful, but her voice cracked with suppressed panic.

"We're here because we're running away," I replied, although too quietly for Alexis to hear. I didn't want to remind her or myself of the real reasons for our trip. After all, we were running away to forget. To forget that Dominik had broken up with Alexis and gone back to his wife and children. Completely out of the blue. And to forget that those stupid idiots in my year at school ... No — I'd promised myself not to even think about it anymore.

The boat's outboard motor howled as if trying to drown out the storm, and the rain grew heavier, beating down on my head and shoulders and lashing at my face. It was literally impossible for me to get any wetter. But I was relieved nonetheless to see that the island seemed to be drawing nearer. Stormsay, the home of my ancestors. Through a curtain of wet hair, I squinted at the shoreline and hoped the skipper knew what he was doing and that we were not about to get smashed to smithereens on the rocks.

The cliff face looked immense, jagged, and deadly. It towered nearly a hundred feet above the slate-gray waves and at its summit, way up high where the raging of the wind was at its most treacherous ...

... there was somebody standing at the cliff's edge.

At first I thought it was a tree. But then I realized it was a human being, leaning into the storm and looking out to sea. A figure with short hair, coat flapping in the wind, watching us from the clifftop. It had one hand raised to shield its eyes, and the other rested on the head of a huge black dog.

I stared back, shivering, as the boat hove to. We left the cliffs behind us and battled on, arcing around toward the eastern shore of the island. The figure receded into the distance, eventually disappearing from view.

And then, finally, we came to a jetty. It was half submerged and wobbled precariously, but our captain managed to moor the boat with a few deft movements and we tumbled out onto dry land. At last.

The embankment was slippery and the rain was still falling hard, but we'd reached our destination. Stormsay. The word tasted of secrets. It sounded somehow full of promise and slightly eerie at the same time. This was the first time I'd ever been to the island. For a long time Alexis had never even mentioned it to me — until at some point during primary school I'd realized that not all children learned both German and English from their parents, and that my name sounded different from everyone else's. Amy Lennox. And even then Alexis had been reluctant to admit that we came from Scotland. When she'd left, in fact, aged seventeen, she'd vowed never to go back. And now ...

We trudged along a muddy street, the wheels of our suitcases sinking into the sludge. On either side of us, scattered at intervals along the road, were little houses — no more than a handful of cottages, really, with crooked roofs and cob walls and windows of bulging glass, some of which flickered with yellow light. I wondered which one my grandmother lived in, and hoped that the little houses were more weatherproof on the inside than they looked from the outside.

The man who'd ferried us across to the island mumbled something about the pub and beer and disappeared through a doorway. Alexis, however, plowed straight on past the last of the cottages. She seemed determined to leave even these meager remnants of civilization behind us, and it was all I could do just to keep up with her. My suitcase had gotten stuck in yet another muddy puddle and I had to tug at the handle with all my strength to get it out.

"Your mum does live in an actual, like ... house, right?" I grumbled, wondering why I hadn't questioned Alexis more closely as to what exactly it was that was so crazy about my grandmother. After all, "crazy" might mean she ate tree bark and wore clothes made of pinecones and lived out in the wild with the creatures of the forest. ...

Alexis didn't answer but simply gestured toward something in the darkness ahead of us and beckoned to me to follow her. At that moment my suitcase suddenly came unstuck with unexpected force. I was splattered from head to toe with mud. Brilliant!

While Alexis still looked gorgeous, even with her wet hair (as if she'd stepped straight out of a shampoo ad), I was starting to feel more and more like a drowned rat. I muttered away to myself crossly as I trudged on.

The road soon narrowed into a track and grew even muddier. The lights were far behind us now. We could barely see the little village at all anymore, though the icy wind still blew alongside us like a faithful friend and wormed its way through all the little gaps in the knit of my woolly sweater. Raindrops whipped into my face as I caught up with Alexis. We really were heading out into the wilderness.

"There was somebody up on the clifftop. Did you see?" I said breathlessly, trying to distract myself from the feeling that any minute now I was going to freeze to death.

"On Shakespeare's Seat? In this weather? I'd be very surprised," murmured Alexis, so quietly I could barely hear her. Then, from the top of a steep little slope she'd just clambered up, she offered, "Here — let me take your suitcase."

I heaved the case into her arms and scrambled up after it. When I reached the top, I realized we were standing on a sort of plateau. In the distance I could see another cluster of lights, and towers that looked like the turrets of a castle etched against the night sky. And there were lights close by, too, in some of the windows of a huge mansion to our right. We were standing at a fork in the path. Straight ahead, the track carried on across the moor.

But Alexis took the right-hand fork and marched up to a wrought-iron gate between two hedges, behind which I glimpsed something like a park or a gravel drive with a fountain in the middle. These big houses (in the movies, at least) almost always had gravel paths flanked by crisply clipped shrubs, statues, climbing roses, and often a classic convertible for good measure. You had to have an imposing backdrop for the lovers' kiss, or the tracking down of the murderer. ... The house behind the gate looked pretty grand, at any rate, even from this distance. The walls were studded with countless bay windows, and a whole host of little towers and chimneys jutted into the sky, grazing the storm clouds. Behind the windowpanes hung heavy curtains, with flickering candlelight shining through the gaps between them.

The rain grew heavier again now and the individual raindrops merged to form a veil as if trying, at the last moment, to hide the mansion from view. But it was far too late for that. We'd landed on the island, and there was no going back now.

Alexis laid her fingertips on the ornate handle of the gate and took a deep breath. "All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," she murmured at last, pushing open the gate.

"What?" I said.

"Oh — it's just the first line of a novel I often used to ... read here." She sighed.

"I see," I said, though I didn't really. My teeth were chattering so loudly by this time that I could hardly think straight.

We hefted and hauled our luggage across a small park made up of gravel paths and crisply clipped shrubs, past a fountain and several climbing roses, and up a flight of marble steps. The only thing missing was the classic convertible. Without further ado, Alexis rang the doorbell.

A gong sounded loudly inside the house.

But it was still a long time before the oak door swung open and a large wrinkly nose emerged from behind it. The nose belonged to an old man in a suit, who eyed us keenly over the top of his glasses.

"Good evening, Mr. Stevens. It's me, Alexis."

Mr. Stevens gave a curt nod. "Of course, ma'am. I can see that," he said, stepping aside. "Were we expecting you?"

"No. But I'd like to speak to my mother," said Alexis. Mr. Stevens nodded again and helped her heave her battered suitcase over the threshold. When he reached for my case with his liver-spotted hands, I quickly sidestepped him. I'd lugged the thing this far, I could carry it the last few feet without dumping it on an old man who must surely be even more of a weakling than I was! But Mr. Stevens gave me such a stern and un-old-mannish look that in the end I let him take the suitcase and stuffed my hands in my jacket pockets instead. And indeed, the weight of our luggage seemed to give him no trouble at all.

"Wow," I gasped the moment we stepped in out of the rain.

The entrance hall to the mansion was bigger than our entire flat. When you stepped into our hallway at home, you found yourself in a dark, narrow tunnel with ancient daisy-patterned wallpaper peeling off the walls. Alexis had tried to spruce it up a bit with a beaded curtain and an indoor palm tree but the tower block apartment remained stubbornly unglamorous. The living room, which also served as Alexis's bedroom, the kitchen with its '70s tiles, the bathroom, and my bedroom, where the carpet had bunched up with age — they all felt like boxes. Concrete boxes with tiny windows, in which even bookshelves and colorful polka-dot teapots couldn't counteract the gray.

My grandmother's hallway, on the other hand, was incredible. The ceiling arched so high above our heads that looking up at the paintings on it almost made me dizzy. Instead of fat naked angels on clouds and other such popular motifs, the artist had painted pictures of people with books. Some of them were reading, some were pointing toward bulging bookcases, and others had placed open books across their faces. Interspersed with the pictures of people, the same coat of arms appeared again and again: a green stag with huge antlers, perched proudly atop a pile of books against a wine-red background. A chandelier hung at the center of the entrance hall, its arms made up of strings of golden letters. Matching lamps were mounted at regular intervals along the wood-paneled walls, and between them were more stag coats of arms. The floor was spread with brightly colored Oriental rugs, with letters woven into them that I'd never seen before, and on the opposite wall a staircase swept upward, its oak banister fashioned from carved books. It was just possible I'd inherited my love of reading from my grandmother, I reflected.

"Follow me, if you please. I shall attend to your luggage shortly," said Mr. Stevens. For a man of his age, his back was remarkably straight, and his polished shoes made not the slightest sound on the opulent rugs.


Excerpted from The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser, Romy Fursland. Copyright © 2015 Mechthild Gläser. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Book Jumper 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Kaits_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
I’ll be honest, I totally judged this book by its cover…and I was right! This book was very creative and is basically a bibliophile’s dream. What book lover hasn’t wished at some point that he or she could jump into the book of his or her choice? (A trip to Hogwarts anyone?) Mechthild’s protagonist is a teenager named Amy. Anyone who ever had a rough time in high school will relate to Amy and her adolescent woes. Add a mansion on an island, an ancient hidden library, distant relatives who seem to be guarding family secrets, oh and the ability to jump inside books, and I was hooked! Also featured are Amy’s mother, grandmother, and of course a potential love interest, Will, and the mean girl, Betsy. All of these characters’ lives intertwine in what starts out to be an adventure for Amy but quickly turns into a matter of life or death. There is a mystery woven throughout the story, which I enjoyed unraveling. I also loved all of the classic stories and characters that Mechthild wove into the story by combining the “real” world with the literary world. Several classic stories and famous book characters are mentioned throughout this book, and I think readers will enjoy the book more if they are familiar with at least some of them (Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Oliver Twist), though I think you can enjoy the book even if you are not. Read full review at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago