Jumpstart the WorldHardback
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- Paperback $6.55
- Publisher: Random House USA Inc
- Format: Hardback | 186 pages
- Dimensions: 144mm x 212mm x 22mm | 340g
- Publication date: 12 October 2010
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 0375866655
- ISBN 13: 9780375866654
- Sales rank: 807,559
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.
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Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of "Becoming Chloe," "The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance," "Diary of A Witness," "The Day I Killed Jame"s, the national bestseller "Pay It Forward," and "Love in the Present Tense," amongst many other books.
By Julie Smith 02 May 2011
At 15, Elle isn't old enough to be on her own, but her mother's boyfriend doesn't want her around. Rather than being a good mom and telling the boyfriend to take a hike, Elle's mom rents an apartment across town for her to live in. In defiance, Elle chops off her hair and heads to her new high school looking a bit worse for the wear. She also chooses the ugliest cat she could find at the pound to irritate her beauty-obsessed mother. Toto is scraggly and only has one eye, but Elle grows to love him.
Her neighbor Frank helps her with her unpacking, and Elle develops a bit of a crush on him. Then she finds out he has a partner, Molly, but the crush endures. When Molly goes to her locker at school, someone has scrawled the word "QUEER" across it (probably due to her chopped off hair), and that lets her know that she will probably not be making many new friends. She does, however, end up getting to know a group of LGBT kids, and, while she's not certain exactly how she feels about them, they take her in with open arms. At a get-together at Elle's apartment, her new friends tell her that they think Frank is transgender, and Elle is flabbergasted at even the thought, especially since she's crushing so much on him. If he's transgender, what does that say about HER, especially since all of her new friends have varying sexual identities?
This novel is brilliant; I love Ms. Hyde's writing style. She totally gets into the mind of a teenager who is going through a heck of a lot. Knowing that your mother prefers being with her boyfriend over taking care of you would throw anyone into a tailspin, and finding yourself seriously crushing on someone who is or was a woman at the same time?
This book is not about sexual identity, although that theme runs through the book. It's about friendship, and acceptance, and knowing that being different isn't a bad thing. There is a lot of punch packed into this short novel, and I would highly recommend it to any reader, not just YA readers. I really loved it, and I'm passing it on to my Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn, who I think will love it too.
I took it kind of hard. Hearing that he wasn't around much. But then again, I don't have tons and tons of friends. And only one ever offered to look after me. Even my mother isn't entirely committed to that.
I didn't want to look at him. Because I didn't want to do that thing. That obvious thing. Where you look at him in a whole new light. Use the new information to look at him and see something entirely different. I didn't care to try on any new views of Frank.
It struck me suddenly how utterly ridiculous it is to ever think you know anybody. Or to ever think you've found anybody you can love.
Because you don't know anybody.
Especially when you haven't even known them all that long. But, really, not even when you've known them all your life. I never thought my mother would trade me for some dork named Donald. And I sure as hell never thought Frank was anything other than a guy.
Writing: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars
BOOK RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars
By TeensReadToo 24 Apr 2011
As the book opens, a mother is helping her young daughter move into her own apartment, even taking time to make a visit to the animal shelter to select a cat to provide company during the sometimes lonely transition of living on one's own. This not-so-unusual scene turns very unusual when the reader learns that the new tenant is only fifteen.
Elle is actually happy to move into her own place, even if the reason is that her mother's current boyfriend doesn't want to deal with a teenager. Her mother always wanted Elle to fit into a certain mold - wear the "right" clothes and have the "right" friends. That's just not Elle.
Elle's neighbors include a young couple, Frank and Molly. Frank immediately offers to help with whatever Elle needs. His eagerness to help and his calm, gentle manner make him instantly attractive to Elle. She is soon chatting with him and heading to the couple's apartment for homemade chicken noodle soup. Elle doesn't like to admit it out loud, but she has a crush on Frank.
Starting in a new school on the first day of the year has its challenges, but when Elle impulsively decides to cut her hair the night before that first day, she takes a risk she later regrets. The day has hardly begun when Elle discovers the word "Queer" painted down the entire length of her locker. She is furious and humiliated but pleasantly surprised when a girl named Shane offers her the needed supplies to remove the offending word.
With Shane's help, Elle makes friends with a group of misfits. At least she now has a table to eat at in the cafeteria, and she quickly finds that the group wants to include her in all their activities. They make her feel less lonely, and at a party they convince her to have at her apartment, they meet Frank. The judgment of the group is that Frank is a "trans-man" and probably preparing for transgender surgery. Elle is stunned and reacts by sending her friends home and avoiding them at school.
As much as she likes Frank, Elle just isn't certain how finding out about his secret makes her feel. She questions if perhaps she isn't who she thinks she is and worries about her own possible sexuality. At the same time, she fears she will lose the friendship of the only person she has felt close to in a long, long time.
JUMPSTART THE WORLD is Catherine Ryan Hyde's fifth novel for young adults. Elle is not your typical fifteen-year-old. Hyde portrays Elle's tenuous relationship with her mother as a possible reason for her more mature attitude, which allows her to handle herself in her own apartment and relate to the world with a much more tolerant view than most adults. Readers will become attached to the misfit friends surrounding Elle and admire their courage in the face of potentially cruel treatment and prejudice. As always, this Hyde novel is well worth reading.