Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review + Book Giveaway: Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde


I read this book in one sitting. I had been saving it for a Sunday afternoon because I knew that it was going to be an easy-to-get-into read and that I wouldn't have to put it down. What I didn't plan on were the range of emotions and the huge revelations that I'd have about relationships and identity and human nature. I guess you just can't schedule that stuff in.

I've never read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book before, but now I want to read all of them. She created some of the most realistic teens that I'd ever read about in the space of less than 200 pages. Not that there is a page length requirement for reality, but I was just impressed at how quickly I recognized these characters as real people.

Jumpstart the World is the story of a teen girl named Elle who is struggling and lonely. She is alone in a way that a lot of teens I know are: Her mother is otherwise occupied in her own life, and friends don't come easy. Even more, Elle doesn't seem to be very comfortable in her own body or in her thoughts and feelings. She's a little emotionally bankrupt at the start of the book. So, when she meets her new neighbor, a kind man named Frank, she is surprised at how quickly she feels a connection with him.

Frank is a great listener. He's in his thirties and is interesting. He works as a vet tech and eats homemade chicken noodle soup made by his girlfriend. Quickly, Elle and Frank forge a friendship and a habit of good talks out on the fire escape.

And Elle starts to make friends at school. Sure, they're a little different. Outcasts, even. But they genuinely seem to like Elle and accept her for her eccentricities. She even has them over for a little "party". But, when Frank comes over for a quick hello, Elle's view of him changes. Her friends point out that Frank may be transgendered. Elle cannot deal with this, and the fact that she may have a crush on Frank. Because what does that say about her?

This cast of characters, this setting, this set of issues and problems seems very real to me. Yes, there are some less-than-plausible situations and parts of this story, but it rings true on the whole. I am happy to have this book on my classroom shelves and hope that it makes its way into the hands of someone who needs it. Whether that person be someone who's questioning their own sexuality, or thinking about identity in a much more general sense, I think that it has the potential to help.

And, I have one copy of this book for one of you! To enter, simply leave a comment with an email address. This contest is open to US residents only. Sorry to my international friends! A winner will be drawn on Monday, Nov. 15th.


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+1 Follower

16 comments:

  1. Hey! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! Please enter me in the contest! :)

    Also, am a follower!
    Thanks!

    apereiraorama @ gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the chance to win! I've been looking forward to this one :)
    melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've heard such wonderful things about this book. I can't wait to read it. I'm off to read Pay It Forward too. :)
    +1 follower
    +1 Commenting on guest post
    Thanks!
    lisadgibson@live.com
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for this :)

    oodlesofbooks@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This book sounds pretty amazing, so thank you for the review, guest post, and the chance to win it!
    +1 follower
    +1 comment on guest post
    geekonthebrink14@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've been seeing this book all over the place! Please enter me. :)

    +1 Follower

    arallison (at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, Jumpstart the World sounds wonderful! I'd love the chance to win a copy: erinreadsblog {at} gmail {dot} com.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like a good book. I like when the protag takes the road less traveled, so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This book sounds like it would be a fun and eye opening read. I'd love to have a copy! I could donate it to my local library after reading so that more people would discover it! (I am a volunteer at our community library here in Grants Pass, OR)

    Theresa at
    theresabush@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I recently featured a book on my WoW dealing with a transgender issue. I like that this book also deals with it along with what sounds like some other hefty issues too.

    Thanks for the chance to win the book, please count me in on the giveaway.

    vonharzj@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am glad this book has been written,
    it is very difficult for transgenders
    to find acceptance in our society.

    +1 New GLC follower
    +2 Comment

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for a great giveaway.

    +1 GFC follower
    +1 comment

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a follower +1
    -Danna
    adannabanana@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm surprised that such a short book can bring such strong emotions. But I'm glad that Catherine can capture teens like they are in real life. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

    Sarah L
    two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!
    +1 I'm a follower

    horselovercutie@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. This reminds me of the movie TransAmerica. I will definitely be checking this out. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete

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