Ellie is insecure when it comes to romance. She's always looking for the one perfect guy who will love her and be with her forever, but her relationships never work out. And Josh is no different. Their one night stand was awkward, embarrassing, and painful. Ellie wants nothing more than to forget it. But she can't...because she gets pregnant. Her friend Corinne doesn't understand why Ellie is so willing to sleep with guys she barely knows, but is supportive and sticks with Ellie, and during that time becomes friends with Caleb, Josh's friend who has had a crush on Ellie for years. Together, Caleb, Corrine, and Caleb's mother help Ellie through her pregnancy, and all four teens are affected in surprising ways.
Jumping off Swings is the story of an average girl faced with a life-altering decision. The novel is told from four different perspectives—Ellie's, Corinne's, Caleb's, and Josh's. The ever-changing points of view allow the story to move quickly and Caleb and Corinne's relationship is especially interesting and a nice break from Ellie's issues with guys and her pregnancy, and Josh’s ever-mounting guilt.
The downside of the four different points of view is that there seems to be two too many narrators with their own set of issues crowding into the story, and it didn't allow the reader to get quite as attached to each character, especially as the story leaps by in three month increments. The emotions and issues of each character were not touched upon quite as deeply as they might have been if Knowles had limited herself to only two narrators.
However, Jumping off Swings is quite a realistic look at an issue that many teens continue to face. Josh was affected emotionally by the baby, even if he never had to directly deal with him, and Knowles really emphasized how the pregnancy changed Ellie, even long after her baby was born. Readers looking for a realistic and emotion-wrought book the subject will be pleased with Jumping off Swings.
Cover Comments: This cover is very appropriate, given the title. Though the girl on the cover is not quite how I imagine Ellie is, she fits. This is a nice cover, and I really like the font that the title is in.
Review copy received from Candlewick.