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Jumper

Captivating, complex sci-fi about teleporting teen.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Jumper deals with its outlandish premise thoughfully and with a great deal of intellectual rigor. Author Steven Gould takes pains to imagine the real consequences of someone being able to teleport to practically any place on the planet.

Positive messages

Jumper examines the question of whether revenge is ever justifiable. Davy initially wants to hurt his father as payback for all the beatings he endured as a child. He also is tempted to torture the terrorist responsible for the death of his mother. But he eventually realizes that there's a price to pay for indulging his worst impulses.

Positive role models

Davy Rice, the protagonist of Jumper, is a brave and resourceful young man who struggles to overcome the trauma he's received at the hands of his abusive father. When he discovers he has the ability to teleport, he at first uses his ability for illegal purposes, such as robbing a bank. In general, though, he struggles to do what's right and not hurt others, even when confronted by irrefutable evil.

Violence

The opening pages of Jumper are especially violent, with Davey being assaulted by his abusive father and then enduring a narrow escape from a gang rape at a truck stop. The level of violence drops significantly after those first chapters, but later in the book, a woman is killed in a plane hijacking. He seeks vengeance against the man responsible, but also begins to question whether he should be allowed to take a life for a life.

Sex

A boy loses his virginity and embarks on a serious romantic relationship with his slightly older girlfriend. Their relationship is one of mutual respect, and they practice safe sex (which is not describe in any clinical detail).

Language

The language in Jumper is strong, but not gratuitous. There are multiple uses of "damn," "hell, "s--t," and "piss," as well as perhaps a dozen instances of "f--k." Characters sometimes use "God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Because of his experience with his alcoholic father, Davey is a near tee-totaler, though he does bring a magnum of champagne to a hometown party and later has cocktails with his older girlfriend. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Jumper is a fast-paced science fiction adventure about a 17-year-old boy learning to use his ability to teleport. The opening chapters are unsettling -- featuring a beating by a parent and an attempted rape by a stranger -- but the level of violence decreases significantly, at least until a subplot about a terrorist hijacking, in which a woman is killed. Davy's father is an alcoholic, but Davy is a near-teetotaler. The book's language is realistic but can be rough, with multiple uses of "damn," "hell, "s--t," and "piss," as well as perhaps a dozen instances of "f--k."

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What's the story?

As he suddenly discovers during a beating from his alcoholic father, 17-year-old Davey Rice has the ability to \"jump,\" to teleport to any location he's been to before and can reconstruct in his memory with sufficient detail. Jumping allows him to escape from abuse at home, but it's not easy for a teenager to survive in a place like New York City with no money and no identification. Davey must learn to live safely and happily with an awesome talent, even though there will terrible tragedies that he can't avoid.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

JUMPER is a clever, captivating, suspenseful science fiction adventure with a troubled yet resourceful young protagonist. Author Steven Gould treats his outlandish premise with as much realism as possible, examining the physical and emotional consequences that an ability like teleportation might bring. The narrative zigzags in unexpected directions, but the complexity of the characters keeps the story grounded and compelling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about teleportation as a common theme in science fiction. What's so intriuguing about it? 

  • If you could commit a crime with an absolute guarantee that you would not get caught, would you?

  • Is revenge ever satisfying? What should an individual do in response to someone who hurts them deeply? 

Book details

Author:Steven Gould
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Tor Books
Publication date:October 13, 1992
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):13 - 17
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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