Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jumpstart the World Review

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 12, 2010
Source: Publisher/Author for Blog Tour

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.


I'm ashamed to say this is my first Catherine Ryan Hyde novel. I've heard amazing things about her previous works and have been meaning to pick up one of them for a long time. Luckily Jumpstart the World was a refreshing, emotional, and poignant read that made certain I will be buying more of Catherine's books soon.

The characters were some of the most unique and well developed. The main character Elle made me feel for her so much. Considering we were the same age I could never imagine having to go through, and stay strong during, the things she did. When the book opens, Elle is moving into her own apartment because her mom’s new boyfriend can’t deal with teenagers. My heart truly went out to Elle. She was on her own. While this may seem like the biggest dream of most teenagers, once you’re living it, you realize there’s a lot more to living on your own than meets the eye. I have a great relationship with my parents, so reading about Elle’s family turmoil was especially upsetting. I could never imagine being kicked out of my home or even being able to handle living on my own at this age (sixteen). But through it all Elle stayed strong and determined. She went to school, made meals, shopped, and basically survived.

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


  1. I've never read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book before but this looks pretty amazing. I'm putting this on my to be read list. Great Review!

  2. You're ashamed. Well, you shouldn't least not in comparison to me. My first reaction to your comment was, "Catherine Ryan Hyde has written other books?" But this does sound like an intense, interesting book. Thanks!

  3. I've never read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book before but I really want to! So don't be ashamed ;D Especially this one because I found it really interesting.

  4. I think this book looks fabulous. I absolutely cannot wait to read it.

  5. This book looks soooo amazing! I've never heard of this author, but I'm officially intrigued :]

  6. This book sounds captivating ands intense. I like that it focuses on some very current, complex issues in an understandable & relatable way. Your review told me enough about the book to make me want to read it but left me wondering how/if everything gets resolved!

    Fantastic! Thanks :o)
    ~ Amy


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