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Jumping Off Swings [Kindle Edition]

Jo Knowles
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Ellie has sex with boys who make her feel wanted and beautiful and then never call again. Even seemingly decent Josh, a virgin, leaves right after their tryst and never speaks to her again. It turns out the condom "slipped off" (?) and she gets pregnant. The next nine months are narrated by four charaters—Ellie, Josh, and their best friends, Corinne and Caleb. Ellie's and Josh's families are filled with stock dysfunction—from Ellie's shrill, uptight mother and perfect-on-the-outside home to Josh's washed-up, hard-drinking father and hapless mother. The plot of this novel is tired, but Corinne and Caleb, at least, are mercifully convincing and thoughtful. Each, of course, comes from a stable family. Caleb's single mother is the novel's moral center. The blaring contrast between stable kids from loving families versus lost kids from dysfunctional families oversimplifies a complex subject. Knowles writes fluidly, and though Caleb's and Corinne's scenes shine, Ellie and Josh never engage enough to set Jumping Off Swings apart in the genre.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Absorbing from first page to last, this sensitively written novel explores how a teenager's crisis rocks her life as well as the lives of others. (starred review) --Publishers Weekly, August 10, 2009

Product Details

  • File Size: 342 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0763639494
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003BX08K0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,733 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Look at the Life of a Teenager September 13, 2009
I am typically a slow reader because it takes a LOT to capture my attention. I read this book in one sitting!

Jo Knowles is absolutely brilliant! By alternating this story from four characters' perspectives, this book moved at a quick pace. Often, we only see how one or two characters' actions affect themselves. In Jumping Off Swings, we see how the decision made by two characters affects the lives of many people.

In this novel, the characters are truly brought to life. I was very emotionally involved while reading Swings. I could sympathize with each of the characters and their personal battles. It was almost as though I was placed in their shoes. As one would assume, the character I felt most connected with was Ellie, the teenager who becomes pregnant. She faces many interpersonal conflicts, and while I was reading I actually cried (with real tears) for her.

In Swings, Jo Knowles tackles not only teen pregnancy, but she brings to surface issues of peer pressure, family issues, friendship, romantic relationships, and the importance of confidence in one's self. She has articulately written a book that should be discussed. Not only is it captivating, but it causes you to think at a deeper level.

In my opinion, Jumping Off Swings is one of the best books of 2009, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jo Knowles writes the truth October 5, 2009
I picked up this book on a Friday night. I only intended to read for 20 minutes. An hour and a half later, I had to force myself to put the book down. I finished the rest in one gulp on Saturday.

I write entertainment. Jo Knowles writes the truth.

Jumping Off Swings is about what happens when a high school girl gets pregnant after a one-night stand (more like a five-minute stand). The choices she made and makes affect her, the father of the child, and their friends. The book is told from their alternating first-person points of view. It made me cry. I think many girls and women can relate to Ellie, who is looking for love but finds sex instead. And I think guys could relate to Josh, who isn't a jerk, but instead trying to figure out what it means to be a man.

I understand there have been some challenges to the book. I am unhesitatingly giving this to my 14 year old.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read: Not Your Average Teen Pregnancy Novel August 29, 2010
A Kid's Review
Excellent book; I read it in one sitting! Knowles weaves the story through different view points, creating lots of depth. Her characters are realistic and complex unlike many one-sided teenage characters in other novels. It's a quick read, but nonetheless a good one. I would highly recommend it along with her debut novel Lessons from a Dead Girl.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: JUMPING OFF SWINGS September 16, 2009
Ellie (in September) "I can still feel a trace of his warm lips against mine as he slips away from me and fumbles for the door to his father's van. I stay lying under the scratchy wool blanket on the backseat, wishing he'd stay. When he slides the door open, the ceiling light blinks on and exposes our faces to each other. His hair is rumpled. His brown eyes avoid mine.

"'Thanks, Ellie. See you inside?' "I nod. "He slides the door shut and leaves me in the dark."

Who can forget the exhilarating sensation of jumping off a swing and soaring through the air? Of course, the trick is to then land safely.

The four teens who narrate JUMPING OFF SWINGS -- Ellie, Josh, Caleb, and Corinne -- have grown up knowing each other and are now together in high school. The one constant and common denominator in their lives is the park that lies at the center of their neighborhood.

I did hear some stories but was never a witness to those adolescent male bonding "rituals" through which guys encourage each other to follow through on their hormonal urges at the cost of whichever vulnerable, gullible, exploitable female is at hand. To Caleb's horror, his best friend Josh has succumbed to that peer pressure and has not only taken advantage of Ellie, but has returned to the party to be enthusiastically congratulated on his conquest. He is unaware that Ellie sees some of the celebrating as she escapes the scene. And little does Josh know what the cost of losing his virginity in the van will be for the quartet.

Josh (in December)

"The swings and slide and other playground stuff are covered with snow. I stand there like an idiot, wondering how this all happened. Cars go by, splashing slush at the backs of my legs. My right hand is throbbing inside my pocket.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and emotionally honest September 10, 2009
I can't remember the last time a book made me sob this hard.

Jumping Off Swings is so beautifully written, so fiercely honest and so compelling. I read it in one intense session, because I Could Not Stop reading it. There are four different POV characters, some of whom hate or avoid each other now for really good, sympathetic reasons, and yet all four were equally compelling and real, and by the end, I cared desperately about all four of them. This is a book that never compromises the emotional truth of the very difficult situation, but it's not a grim read at all - it's just right.

I loved it, and I want to push it on everyone I know. It really is that good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic and Moving August 21, 2009
Jumping Off Swings is the story of Ellie, Josh, Caleb, and Corinne. Ellie just wants to be loved. She has hooked up with quite a few boys. Each time, she is sure that it will be more then just sex. While Ellie is with them, she feels loved for a bit. Well, something that happened with Josh that wasn't suppose to happened, Ellie gets pregnant. Josh doesn't have a reaction, when Ellie tells him. He has a hard home life and feels shame and heartbreak. Caleb and Corinne deal with emotions, about Ellie and Josh. All four teenagers are forced to grow up a little faster, and make impossible decisions.
Ellie, Josh, Caleb, and Corinne are all amazing characters. I liked Ellie. She had a hard time accepting it as anyone in that situation would. It was good to see it in Josh's view. About the regret for how he acted and how he wish he could take it back. Caleb was so sweet and lovely. Corinne was strong and independent. Caleb and Corinne's relationship was sweet and similar to any teen romance. Jumping Off Swings didn't have a very fast plot, but it was still interesting and intense at times. It wasn't the most original novel on pregnancy, but it was presented well. Knowles is an amazing writer. I was well described and amazing. Jumping Off Swings was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. You should definitely check it out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for teens and patents too
Great story. Superbly written. I highly recommend this book. I am a forty-something mother of a 13 year old boy. I plan to put it on his reading list for next summer. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Galen W.
2.0 out of 5 stars KDH Reviews: Jumping Off Swings
The blurb for Jumping Off Swings oversells the book, in my opinion. I expected so much more than what I got. To say it was disappointing is a bit of an understatement. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kayla Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tough Life of a Teen
Let's face it teens have tough lives. They're growing up and dealing with hormone changes and then add to that girl problems and guy problems and you have a huge mess to sort... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ashley Pasco
5.0 out of 5 stars so touching
I really felt in touch with Ellie. This book was written beautifully and had me near tears, I definitely recommend it.
Published 3 months ago by reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt
This and the next book combined are enough to take these characters places and help them. With every word I almost cried these are certainly the best books I have ever read, along... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amy epperly amy epperly
3.0 out of 5 stars Hum..
It was a good book. It ended differently then I thought it would. But I didn't like the ending. I know not everything has a happy ending but I was just kinda left like "umm, this... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alexandria Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars 1:25am
1:25 am and I have work in the morning at 8:00 am but I couldn't stop reading until I read it all. I love this book so much <3<3<3<3
Published 4 months ago by Shelby Nicole Harding
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book
this is my favorite book it came for a cheap price and looks brand new. i would recommend reading it and buying it off amazon.
Published 4 months ago by Kbent94
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read
I absolutely loved this book. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.I am usually one of the slowest readers in the world. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by darci dhuivetter
4.0 out of 5 stars Teenage Pregnancy
A common problem in teens is the unexpected pregnancy thanks to a failure of communicating clearly to the frequent occurrence and necessity of effective protection. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Roger D. Paterson
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