In the last few years of teaching I've noticed a bit of an increase in the amount of "girl" fights at my school. Not that they're out of control or anything, but there's definitely been more bullying, both at school and cell phones and online.
When writing a grant to purchase some good titles for teen girls, Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia stood out to me. I think that there is no better way to talk about issues of bullying, harassment, and violence than to present them in a realistic YA book. And, this book is totally realistic.
Jumped is narrated by three teen girls and the story goes back and forth between the three voices. Here is a breakdown of the three personalities:
Trina: Thinks she's all that. Is so wrapped up in herself and her good looks that she doesn't notice how her attitude affects other students.
Dominique: Is angry. Plays sports, but has been benched because of her grades. Dominique is looking for someone to take out her anger on. Trina cuts her off in front of her friends and that's all she needs. Trina has no idea what's going to happen after school.
Leticia: Finds herself in the middle of the fight between Trina and Dominique. She sees and hears Dominique's threat to Trina and knows that Trina is oblivious. One friend says that she should tell Trina so that the fight will be more fair. Leticia doesn't want to get involved, though, especially where Dominique is involved. What is her responsibility as a bystander?
This is a gripping read. I read it in one sitting because I absolutely had to find out how this story ended. No wonder it was a finalist for the National Book Award. I look forward to reading more from this author!