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Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 192

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down.  Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

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. Jumpstart the World wipes away that desensitization and opens your eyes to things once forgotten.

One of my favorite scenes from the story happens just after Elle’s discovery that her cat is suddenly quite ill, leading her to seek Frank’s help in which she also learns he’s transgender. In one fell swoop she feels unsettled and unsure of how to handle the situation. Are they friends still? Is she now gay? With no instructions and the absence of love in her life up to this point she’s finds it nearly impossible to process what’s happening to her.

For me, my Frank was a boy by the name of Dirk. It was my junior year of high school and we’d just moved to a new town with a new school. I knew no one. He was the first person to say hello to me and the last to say goodbye before we moved back to our hometown a year later. Completely smitten, I ignored what was so blatantly obvious to so many others. In the end I only discovered Dirk was gay three days before we moved and in so many ways I was just like Elle in Jumpstart the World, devastated and scared. This was my first personal encounter with anyone gay and I had no idea what it meant for our future friendship. Much like Elle I discovered that it changed nearly nothing, except it did. He was still a huge part of my life and someone who had made a difference when no one else had. He made me aware of others in a way no one else could have, from how he regarded me to how he was(and had been) treated himself. It was a defining moment in my life, one in which enabled me to look on another with new eyes, an open mind and most of all…love.

Love. It’s power to move forces for good and it’s debilitating effect when it is lacking is tremendous. In Jumpstart the World love could quite possibly be considered another character, it encapsulates everything that Elle experiences, the good and the bad. Her mother, her new circle of friends, and most especially her relationship with Frank. Though Elle doesn’t realize it initially, love is something that’s a driving force in her life, and unfortunately it’s due to a lack thereof.  Thankfully with the help of her friends, most importantly her relationships with Frank and Wilbur, she is able to thrive in her new life. A life that has the potential to “jumpstart the world.”

For me, Jumpstart the World is a must read. Not only will it help adults in regaining a sense of appreciation and understanding of this difficult time of life, it may also help others to become more tolerant and kind. In a day when teens often feel abandoned and completely alone they need books like Jumpstart the World that show them there is love in the world. With an eloquence I have yet to read elsewhere, Catherine Ryan Hyde illustrates precisely the impact one individual can have on another, especially when the motive is love.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 12 and up. A powerful story about love and the impact it can have for good.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the wonderful author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, and the fact that I live within just a short drive from her my readers have the opportunity to win signed copies of Jumpstart the World! In addition to this, because I’m planning to see Catherine after the contest closes the winners will have the opportunity of having the book personalized. I’m also picking up an additional copy so that I can send one internationally as well.

To enter you need to fill out the form below AND leave a comment!

Details: Two winners will be chosen at random after the contest closes. One in the US/Canada and another outside the US/Canada (ie. Internationally). You MUST fill out the form below, comments will not count as entries. Only one entry per household. Giveaway is open WORLDWIDE. The giveaway will run from October 23, 2010 until November 07, 2010 midnight EST.

Thank you so much to the author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, for providing a copy of her book for review and giveaway!
Stop by The Teen {Book} Scene for more details and other tour stop locations!

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This giveaway has now closed. Thank you so much to all who entered! Please check back often for more great giveaways!

54 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  1. numol says:

    If you’re gonna talk about this book, I think you should mention Leslie Feinberg’s post here:

    http://leslie-feinberg.tumblr.com/post/2748305376/while-a-hostile-relative-re-writes-my-life-who-is

  2. Pam says:

    Numol, last I checked the internet was public domain and you don’t HAVE to mention every small thing on the subject…

  3. […] by now you are all wondering what book and what author. The book that has recently been attacked is Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde. A book about a young girl, Elle and her first encounter/relationship with someone who is […]

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