- Library Binding: 192 pages
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 037596665X
- ISBN-13: 978-0375966651
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,056,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jumpstart the World Library Binding – October 12, 2010
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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.
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 the Paperback edition.
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I'm sort of winding my way through some books featuring trans characters, just to get an idea of what's out there and how writers are portraying transgender people and situations. Jumpstart the World did a phenomenal job of having a non-activist trans character, who was not the protagonist, be present to demonstrate that trans people are just people, like the rest of us - but also the author managed to show in simple but clear ways some of the frightening things about being trans. The fear of friends leaving, the fear of being helpless. And all of this without direct trans character POV, all of this without the sense of the reader being taught to or lectured.
Honestly? Everyone should read this book.
Then she meets Frank and Molly, and a gang of friends at school, who are Different. Or are they? Elle's friendship and interactions with them deftly changes what it means to be beautiful, what it means to be special, and what it means to be true to the person that resides inside.
Catherine Ryan Hyde's style reads is as if we have been given someone's diary and for just a few hours, we are allowed entrance into their secret world. We sit alongside Elle as she rides through the bumps, bruises and highs of her journey. More than that, Ms. Ryan Hyde captures silence like very few writers can. She takes the moments where everything is still, and she lets them just hold.
Because we read a diary, the exposition does not preach like it might in someone else's hands. With Ms. Ryan Hyde, the events, feelings and conclusions simply are. The way everything plays out is the only way it ever could; the way we would expect it to if this indeed was a journal capturing a snapshot of someone else's life.
"Jumpstart the World" is the story you read in a Saturday afternoon, so you can spend all day Sunday mulling over the imagery and the moments that rang true. Then the people and their lives creep into your heart and get absorbed into your lifeblood and stay with you in ways you can't begin to imagine a few thousand words possibly can.
Catherine Ryan Hyde delivers yet another deeply honest and raw rendition of what it means to be alive in our current times; somehow she can pull this off for eighteen books straight and it is always haunting and exquisite to see how the lives intertwine, and how the characters find their own kind of happy ending. Not the fairy tale kind, but the kinds that are around us, waiting to be realized, in the world we can reach out and make our own.