I’m so excited to be apart of the Jump When Ready blog tour. Thank you Book Nerd Tours for organizing this amazing tour.
Since he drowned, Henry has remained isolated with the same group of teenagers and he keeps wondering why. After all, what could he possibly have in common with a Mohawk-sporting punker from the 80s, a roller skater from the 70s with a thing for kimonos, and an English “rocker” from the 60s? Henry can hear the other groups but he never sees them. Soon, Henry learns that his new friends all possess unique skills for making themselves noticed by the living. Is Henry’s group kept isolated because of their abilities? If so, are they considered gifted or seen only as a potential bad influence?
Before Henry can reach any conclusions, he witnesses his sister being kidnapped. He knows who did it, where she’s being held and what will happen if the kidnappers don’t get what they want. As the police chase false leads, Henry comes to realize that he’s his sister’s only hope. But for Henry to even have a chance, he has to convince a group of teenagers that dead doesn’t mean helpless.
I read this book in one sitting. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Originally I thought this would be a depressing book since the main character is dead and stuck “in-between” worlds, but it wasn’t doom and gloom. There is witty banter and strong bonds between characters. And speaking of characters, I loved all of the characters that Henry meets upon his arrival to the in-between world. They are realistic and each have their own quirkiness that makes me want to be their friend (Yes, even Curtis). The pacing was fast and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was exciting to get to know each kid in the in-between world and the group dynamics. It was even more exciting to watch Henry try to save his sister Bethany from the world beyond. The combination of coming-of-age, philosophical and thriller story comes together to make a fascinating and engaging book. It makes you think about what the afterlife will be like and if the “in-between” world will be as frustrating as it is for Henry. I can’t wait for my students to read this book in the fall. I think there will be many amazing conversations that come from reading this book.
I’m looking forward to David’s next novel!
David Pandolfe has been a bartender in Seattle, the front man for an alternative rock band in Los Angeles and a college writing teacher in Richmond (among other things).
One day, it occurred to him that sometimes these experiences felt like completely different lives altogether. Which got him to writing Jump When Ready, a novel about of bunch of teenagers trying to get over their past lives while getting ready to jump into their next.
While he’s still writing about himself in third person, David Pandolfe should probably mention that at one point he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has had short stories published in Millennium and the Georgetown Review. Jump When Ready is his first YA novel but he’s currently working on another, to be released in the fall of 2013.
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