Jumping Off Swings Book Poster Image

Jumping Off Swings

(i)

 

Fast-moving coming-of-age tale with sex and consequences.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The novel moves swiftly, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. And because there are consequences for actions, it's a great book to start discussions with teens about sex and relationships.

Positive messages

This is a book about sex and its consequences. It will give readers a lot to think about, including what teens are looking for when they enter sexual relationships, and the different ways sexual rumors impact male and female reputations.

Positive role models

There are several positive adult and teen role models in this novel. Most of the teens, whether they've made bad decisions or not, are honest about their feelings, which is something that parents would love their kids to model.

Violence

A girl has a first sexual encounter that is rough and she bleeds after; she describes the blood as part of a memory. A man is known for beating up his wife and son.

Sex

There are discussions of multiple "hook-ups" between the main character and a variety of boys. One time a condom breaks, resulting in a pregnancy. A girl describes feeling semen. Reference to a girl who had an abortion.

Language

Some swear words like "a--hole" and "bitch" are used, plus a couple uses of "f--k."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

At least two adults engage in alcohol abuse, and teens are often seen drinking. One adult gives a teen a beer and they drink together.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book about unplanned pregnancy has frank talk about sex and relationship issues among teens. The main character sleeps with many boys and one "hook-up" results in pregnancy. There is some swearing (including "f--k"), copious drinking (adult alcoholism and teen drinking), and discussions of abortion and unplanned pregnancies. Parents and teachers can use this book to start discussions with teens about sex and relationships. It will give readers a lot to think about, including what teens are looking for when they enter sexual relationships, and the different ways sexual rumors impact male and female reputations.

What's the story?

Ellie keeps getting played by the guys she has sex with, including Josh. Hoping for a romantic relationship, she thinks each experience will be different and each time they use her. When Ellie finds out she's pregnant after her and Josh's "one time thing," her life changes and so does the lives of those around her, including Corinne, her best friend, Caleb, who's had a crush on her for years, and Josh. What is she going to do? What can she do?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Jo Knowles makes a common story more interesting by presenting it from four different perspectives: Ellie's, Josh's, Josh's friend Caleb's, and Ellie's best friend Corinne's. That gives layers, texture, and depth to what would have been a basic sex-and-teens novel. The characters all possess a vulnerability that rings true, and that readers will relate to.

The novel moves swiftly, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. And because there are consequences for actions, it's a great book to start discussions with teens about sex and relationships.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about books and other media about teen pregnancy. How is this one different? Did you find Ellie's attitude about sex to be realistic? What about her supportive friends?

  • After they have sex, Josh is celebrated by their peers while Ellie ends up with a bad reputation. Does that seem like something that would happen at your high school?

Book details

Author:Jo Knowles
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:August 11, 2009
Number of pages:240
Publisher's recommended age(s):13 - 17

This review of Jumping Off Swings was written by

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Quality

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Teen, 15 years old Written byrayg February 5, 2012

good OVERALL messge

It shows how pregnancy can effect you and would probibly encourage teens to "avoid it"
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 15, 2012

jumping swings

Families can talk about books and other media about teen pregnancy. How is this one different? Did you find Ellie's attitude about sex to be realistic? What about her supportive friends? After they have sex, Josh is celebrated by their peers while Ellie ends up with a bad reputation. Does that seem like something that would happen at your high school?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byhockey4life729 May 18, 2012

Positive Message

This book gave a postive message for teenagers. Even though Ellie got Pregnant she gave her baby to someone who deserved it more than her. This kind of made her reputation better and she was able to live her life differently. She learned from her experience and other will too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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