Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review: Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Blog Tour Stop)


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.


The Short Version:
Poignant and honest, Jumpstart the World is a blend of a coming of age while thrusting LGBT issues to the forefront. Elle is relatable and holds some strong character development, going through some very understandable reactions and thoughts in response to not only Frank but the things happening in her life. Frank gives not only Elle but the reader a beautiful into not only the life but the fears and experiences of someone transgendered, keeping in line with the overall openness about this book. Pulling the title into the book itself and giving it strong meaning, Hyde has delivered a fine, smooth work.

The Extended Version:
Elle has her bratty moments, most of which are understandable, considering the book starts out with her mother dumping her in an apartment by herself because the new boyfriend doesn't want a teenager around. Rebellious and frustrated, Elle not only chooses a scruffy black cat with only one eye from the pound, but she makes friends with the man next door that the mom has a clear aversion to. Now also in a new school, Elle is forced to make friends but finds it difficult. She goes through some struggles that every one can relate to, with a few new ones mixed in as well.

Her reaction to finding out the truth about Frank is handled very poignantly, and while Elle doesn't have a personal or immediate detest because Frank is transgender, she had a hard time swallowing and accepting it. Intermixed with her feelings for Frank, and the blindsided way she feels, Hyde has done a fantastic job portraying what is likely a very common response to such news. It is almost hard to word why Elle had a problem with it, as she had difficulty with it as well.

Frank is gentle in nature, and strong in plenty of ways that come through well. He takes Ellie under his wing and feels for her, and an easy kinship forms between the two. After an accident, the real struggles that Frank goes through and has gone through come out, uncomfortable to face but important to understand. Hyde speaks some important messages with this book, but comes at every one of them from an indirect angle. The points aren't beaten into the reader's head nor are they blatantly said, but they are there and clear all the same. Toto, Elle's cat, adds some spice to the story and is certainly a character by himself, with some more of the strong messages coming through simply because of events related to him.

Elle's voice was distinct and clear, coming off more like the reader really is in her mind, rambles and all. The writing keeps with this, staying completely in character throughout, while building the world and the characters around Elle as well. The plot has a steady, lulling pace, with some bursts of big points but overall, it is character-centric and character driven and well done because of it.

Source: Received for review from author/publisher for promotional blog tour with The {Teen} Book Scene
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375866655
ISBN-13: 978-0375866654


  1. Jumpstart the World sounds like a beautiful book. I'm curious as to how Toto adds to the story!

    Great review, as always!

  2. I swear every review I read about this book I always hear about the cat! lol. I can't wait to read this one,it looks great. Awesome Review!