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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Title; Jumpstart the World
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Published: October 12th, 2010
Source: Received for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Though it's short, this is a powerful book. It raises some issues that I've not seen in YA literature before, and really made me think: about what makes a gender, about how intolerant the world is, about how we can all do something to jumpstart it just a little bit, to get people moving toward tolerance. 

Elle was a strong character. Very tell it like it is. And yet, she really doesn't know herself. She puts on a strong front, but inside she's hurt and confused about her entire situation. Enter Frank, who actually listens to her for a change. He's so kind and gentle, how could she not love him? Her world is rocked when she finds out that he's trans-gender. What does that say about her? She doesn't know and she has to find out.

Something that I wish there was more of in this book would be Elle's relationship with her mother. We start the book at the end of their traditional relationship, where her mother is leaving her on her own. There's some back-story given, and an explanation of her mother's character, but I think that I would have liked to know about their relationship before that point.

I loved how real this book was. Everything wasn't perfect. There were awkward moments, mistakes were made, people were hurt, but nothing completely catastrophic happened as a result. Nothing perfect happened to fix everything either. It was all about the decisions Elle made and how she chose to view and handle things. 

I do feel that in trying to make a statement the book got a little less personal than it could have been. I saw Elle's struggle with her feelings, but I really didn't see the feelings. I didn't feel her love for Frank. I think that it was expressed more through other emotions like jealousy and anger than the actual love, which I would have liked more of.
Basically I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to just about anyone, young adult or adult.

Characters: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 43/50 B
Cover Comments: The cat plays a pretty big part in the book, and I like the title font and the red. It doesn't really jump out at me though.

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