Thursday, July 26, 2012
Interest Level: 6th Grade and Up
Reviewed by Mrs. Schauer
I first got this book as an ARC at Net Galley. I started reading it, but only read the first few pages before life got in my way and I never finished it. I have this problem where I have a hard time putting a book down once I pick it up. I have to read the entire thing in one sitting, and nothing else in my life gets any attention. For the past week, I've done nothing but read....and last night, I finally read this wonderful book...yep, in one sitting. :)
I fell in love with the characters immediately. How could I not? Four children, ages 3-18, who are named after some of my favorite book characters:
Sara, the oldest: She's named after Sara Crewe, from The Little Princess. She longs to have been born in the age of dead-heads. She couldn't get into any good colleges, so she's taking a year off to work in her parents' restaurant. She's blunt and honest at all times, and has dreadlocks.
Holden: He's the second child, aptly named in honor of Salinger's angst-filled protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is fourteen years old , and the reader is allowed the privilege of growing with him, championing his strength and bravery as he comes to terms with his sexuality.
Fern: Her mom named her after Fern Arable from Charlotte's Web, because she knew, from the moment she was born, that she had a special soul. In her own words, she knew Fern would be a good friend....a hero. The story is told from Fern's point of view, and she is indeed, possessed of an incredibly special soul.
Charlie: Ah, Charlie...perfectly named after Charlie Bucket, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie is three years old, a "surprise" addition to the family fold, and he is the light of their lives. Charlie is full of life and finds joy in everything around him.
I will not give away too much of this family's story, because it's just something that readers need to experience for themselves. I will only say that I fell in love with this quirky family, as they dealt with running a family business and the joys and sorrows of life. I laughed, I cried, my heart soared, as well as broke into a hundred pieces. By the end of the book, I was a blubbering mess of tears and snot....but in a very good way....a way that does the heart good.
Jo Knowles is one of my favorite authors because she writes about subjects that are tough...and she does it in a way that is just so REAL. She writes important books for teens and young adults...books that bring healing and hope. I applaud her!
For my review of Knowles' Lessons from a Dead Girl, click here.
To view a trailer, created by Kaycee, one of our Pettus middle school students,for Jumping Off Swings, click here.
Posted by Mrs. Schauer at 7/26/2012 01:26:00 PM