Rummanah Aasi
  Bullying is often seen as a rite of passage. A little harmless event that everyone, at some point in their lives, has experienced and it's usually a case of "kids just being kids". It's not until recently that bullying has been more closely examined and taken seriously after a rush of school violence and/or youth suicides. What I think we fail to understand that bullying is much more complex than just having a bully and a victim. Rita Williams-Garcia shows us how we perpetuate the cycle of bullying in our daily lives in her National Book Award Finalist title appropriately called Jumped.

Description: Meet Leticia, Trina, and Dominique. Leticia is your typical gossip-loving high school student. Trina is a hyper, over confident, high school student who has artistic talents. Dominique is a tough as nails basketball player, who is unable to play on the team due to her low grades. Jumped tells the story of how these three lives intersect in a small moment: Trina has obliviously cut Dominique in a hallway. Dominique swears revenge by fighting Trina at 2:45pm. While Leticia, who skips class on a bathroom excuse, overhears Dominique's intention. Will Leticia get involved and stop the girl fight before it's too late?

Review: I enjoyed Jumped. The book's content is relative and unfortunately realistic. Although the school setting is urban, I think it can be transferred into a rural school setting as well. The story is told in 38 short chapters that switches narratives between the three main characters. Even though each voice is authentic and distinct, I didn't feel like I got to know Leticia or Trina beyond their surfaces. Leticia comes off as a girl who seeks attention by finding out the latest news. Trina is a little too irritating in her hyper, confident mood. I was easily turned off by her personality, but I was still able to feel sorry for her towards the end of the book. The only character that I felt was fully developed was Dominique, whose tension and anger built upon in each of her chapters.
  Although the impetus of the fight is trivial and small to the reader, it is the last straw for Dominique, who feels as if this one act will successfully fill the void she has been feeling by not playing basketball. She obviously has some anger issues that needs to be resolved. References to other works such as A Separate Peace and Of Mice and Men are obvious and will alert the reader on how this book will end. Readers who are looking for a happy ending will be disappointed and shocked. A great choice for reluctant readers.  

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is language throughout the book and a scene of violence. Although the scene of violence isn't graphic, the reactions of others who witness the scene tells the reader what is happening.

If you like this book, try: Shattering Glass by Gail Giles or The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier 
2 Responses
  1. Safoora Says:

    When you say that Trina has cut Dominique in the hallway, do you mean that she's gone in front of her (like how you would cut off cars when driving)?
    And also it seems like a minor incident to cause a fight...does Dominique have other issues besides not being able to play on team?

  2. Yes, that's what I exactly mean, Safoora. And I do agree this incident is so minor, but that's where the power of the book comes from. As for Dominique's other issues, there's not much information given to the reader. If you're to take "Of Mice and Men"'s context into consideration, one can say that Dominique comes from poverty where violence is the answer to every conflict.

    One of my main issues with "Jump" is that you only get half of a book. There's no additional information besides what happens in the book.

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