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.
In a fit of rebellion Elle cuts her hair, the one thing her mother really loves about her daughter. Unfortunately it also makes the students at Elle’s new school immediately label her “gay” and “queer”. Taken in by the other outcasts, Elle forms a unique and sudden friendship with Shane, the Bobs, and, surprisingly, Wilbur. I really liked all of Elle’s new friends. They may not have been the best people, but they cared for each other and respected each other’s differences. Readers got to see the most of Wilbur because he was also dealing with a lot at home and really connected with Elle.
The main plot line focused on Elle’s growing relationship with her new neighbor, Frank. Frank was sweet, caring, and understood Elle better than anyone. I loved how dedicated he was to making sure Elle was okay and caring for the orphaned (and sick) cat Elle brought home from the shelter. Soon Elle discovers something that completely changes everything she knew and believed about Frank, the man she had grown to love. Frank is transgendered. Or “FTM” as Shane and the Bobs say it. I’ve never read anything about a transgendered person before, so Catherine really made me realize how hard it is for people like Frank.
Jumpstart the World was an emotional and intense novel by a fabulous young adult author. She wrote about something I’ve never really thought about before and opened my eyes to how difficult it is for transgendered people. I definitely recommend picking this up. It’s a quick read (under 200 pages) and will leave a big impression on every reader.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars