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Jumpstart the World Paperback – November 8, 2011

88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–When her mother chooses her boyfriend over her own daughter, Elle, 16, is moved into an apartment across Manhattan. She develops a friendship with Frank, who lives next door, and with Molly, Frank's girlfriend. As her feelings toward Frank turn into a crush, Elle becomes conflicted over how to deal with them. At the same time, she is befriended by “Us,” a group of kids who are gay, lesbian, or just different in some way. When they meet Frank at a party and tell her they think he is a “trans man,” Elle becomes angry and abruptly asks them to leave. Then she learns that Frank is a woman in the process of becoming a man, and she withdraws. However, when Frank is hit by a car and Elle nearly loses her best friend, she begins to understand the importance of acceptance of both others and herself. The value of friendship and the struggle to be comfortable in one's own skin are issues brought to light in this novel. As Elle learns to deal with who she is, she also learns to deal with those who aren't just like her. Willing to admit her mistakes and growing stronger throughout the book, Elle is a likable, well-developed character with whom teens will identify.–Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TNα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

At age 15, Elle lives alone in the apartment where her mother dumped her, since her boyfriend doesn’t like having teens around. But then Elle meets her next-door neighbor—sweet, gentle Frank—and she develops an immediate crush. When several of her new friends tell her Frank is a female-to-male transgender person, Elle is furious, dumps her friends (as Mom dumped her), and goes into deep denial. The rest of the story is about how she finally comes to terms with the truth of her friends’ observation. Unfortunately, Hyde (Pay It Forward, 2000) has written more of a therapeutic handbook than a novel; virtually every person Elle meets has a “problem” that must be resolved. Elle herself is not only deeply troubled but also an extremely unlikable character. What redeems the novel is the character of Frank, who is never a case study but a real human being who—though sometimes too saintly—belies every stereotype about transgender people. For that reason alone, the book deserves a wide readership. Grades 8-12. --Michael Cart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ember (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375866264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375866265
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 30 published and forthcoming books, including WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction.

An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has just released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her best-known novel, PAY IT FORWARD, was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at catherineryanhyde.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Vincent Zinke on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a universal story, an odyssey, a journey home:

A young person, feeling cast aside, finds hope, love, and meaning through her struggle to find herself. Along the way, people find her--people who accept and love her just as she is--but they are a surprising bunch. She learns about life and acceptance through learning to care for them. Especially for Frank. He's one of the most endearing of all CRH's characters; and our hero, Elle, through Frank (and others), learns how much of a capacity she has for giving and receiving love.

I love this book. It is warm-hearted, sad, funny, and has a lovely ending. CRH's intelligence shines through all her stories, but it doesn't get in the way of her humanity. I've heard writers say: if you want to know me, read my works. It's great to see the progression of CRH's inner journey through her works. She takes on issues that many wouldn't touch, and she gives her readers a safe way of learning and connecting. These are heart-connections. It takes a skilled, caring author to take her readers to new places with such tenderness and competence.

The only real journey home is the one to our true selves. CRH offers us hope of, no matter how hard it gets, finding the way home.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The thing that most draws me to Catherine Ryan Hyde's books is the identification I experience. No matter how different the character is from me, Hyde has a way of making me see through the character's eyes. She shows me what the world looks like from their point of view. Somehow, she also manages to show me more about myself through each of her characters. From the "aimless twenty-one-year-old pot farmer" in Walter's Purple Heart, to the teenage boy living on the streets of NYC in "Becoming Chloe", Hyde portrays her characters with an honest look into the human heart.

The same is true for "Jumpstart the World". Regardless from where her experience is drawn, Hyde shows me a piece of me in each of the characters in this book. In Molly, I see my jealous-tainted love for a certain child in my life - and I know why Molly chooses to practice patience instead of being harsh. In Frank, I explore the questioning of my own gender - and I remember the way I felt when mistaken for the wrong gender, or laughed at/stared at because I don't fit typical gender roles. In Elle, I see myself as I navigate through the pre-conditioned judgmentalism that has been bred into my being - the feelings/questions/concerns she feels and expresses are all mirrors of those that I have felt myself, and sometimes still feel, on my own journey. In Elle's mother, I see that part of me that chooses my own addiction over what's best for those around me - and I remember and cherish the pain I felt as I came to understand that pattern of mine. Perhaps it is Wilbur with whom I most relate. In him, I see the part of me that has always felt invisible - and I know that glimmer of hope he feels when he realizes Elle sees him just as he is, and accepts him unconditionally.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Elle is furious as she moves into her own apartment. She is just about to turn 16 and well knows she is too young to live away from her mother. But Donald, her mother's new boyfriend, doesn't care to deal with a teenager, so her mother is moving her out. Although her mother has tried to talk her into buying a beautiful pedigreed cat from a pet store to keep her company, Elle insists on choosing one from the local animal shelter. And, while her mother protests, she picks the ugliest feline she can find --- a one-eyed tom with chunks of fur missing and a "touch me not" manner.

Back at Elle's new apartment, she meets Frank for the first time. A small, slight guy in his 30s, who reminds Elle of a leprechaun, he lives in the apartment next door with his girlfriend, Molly. She notices that he has an odd voice, but also registers how kind his smile is as he welcomes her to the building and offers help. As Elle squirms with horror, her mother asks Frank to keep an eye on her, since she is on her own for the first time and "...Turned eighteen barely a minute ago."

After her liar of a mother heads off to a date with Donald, Elle's cat (soon to be named Toto) escapes. Frank helps her retrieve her new pet. Since he's a vet tech, he shows her how to hold the creature to avoid being clawed or bitten. Afterward, Elle shocks herself by confiding in Frank her true reason for picking out the unlovable Toto: to make her mother angry.

Elle finds herself in even more of a fury the next morning, thanks to an email message from her mother announcing she will be gone on a cruise with her boyfriend during Elle's birthday. She seeks retaliation before heading off to start classes in a new school. To goad her mother, she shaves off the long red hair that is so similar to her mother's.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Danielle M. Smith VINE VOICE on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Abandoned across town in a brand new apartment, Elle is left with a living room of boxes each full with items she could care less about, and a cat who would rather hide in the closet than come anywhere near a human being. Only when she meets her new neighbor, Frank, does she begin to feel a flicker of life return to her body. Although for Elle, the life she's about to embark on is one she couldn't have imagined if she tried. Forced to discover the importance of another's individual worth Elle is about to realize that she could impact not only her own life, but all who come in contact with her.

Elle's experiences are influenced heavily by the lack of concern and love her mother has for her. Pre-occupied with her most recent boyfriend, Elle's mother abandons her. It effects everything about how Elle interacts with people. From the distance she keeps to which words she chooses to speak and when to say them. The only acquaintances she allows herself to have are her new neighbor Frank and then later a few friends from school. Even their interest and subsequent kindness isn't enough to break down the walls she's built.

In ways that I haven't read before, Catherine Ryan Hyde captures what it means to be a teenager. Being one is such a multi-layered experience that, I think, as we get older we tend to peel away - leaving only our core-selves. We forget that to be a teenager is more than attending high school and plodding through homework; it's painful, enlightening, joyous, heart-wrenching, arduous, and much much more. As a teen we see things for the first time as we never have before and often we make mistakes that can feel like the end of the world because we've never experienced them before. We often grow numb as we age, forgetting the passions and anxieties we once had.
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