* I received an ARC of Leap by Jodi Lundgren from Second Story Press

My first comment is that I really hope the back cover is completely different on the finished copy. At the top it says in huge writing “when life is changing, sometimes you have to take a LEAP of faith in yourself” and there’s a cheesy image to go with the cheesy words.  Then the “blurb” tells basically the entire story, ruining any surprises the book may have offered, had I not read the back first. This is like when movie trailers give away the best jokes, it drives me crazy.

The book itself spent a lot of time making fun of books and readers. I thought that was a bit odd considering the medium of the story. Some of that was amusing, like the description of the library book sale;

“They’d traveled into beds, onto the backs of toilets, and under the edges of plates, to be water-marked and food-stained. Their plastic jackets were cracked and peeling, and their sides were stamped in red: Greater Victoria Public Library. Like tattooed convicts, they could leave the prison, but they would never really escape their past.”

Most of the parts about books involved Natalie comparing her mother’s reading to the binges of an alcoholic or person with an eating disorder. It rubbed me the wrong way, probably because I read about as much as her mother.

Truthfully, for the most part of the book I was very aware it was an adult writing about young characters. It didn’t feel like genuine teen dialogue and the cautionary tale of a good girl who goes very wild and then regrets it felt forced. Natalie was an inconsistent character, who seemed completely different one moment to the next. I liked the part where Natalie talks about how around fifteen we realize the adults in our lives don’t have everything under control, and we are left feeling like we have adult responsibilities without the resources adults have. That was about the only time where I felt connected with Natalie.

On the plus side:

  • The dancing parts are pretty cool
  • this book makes teens aware of birth control and STI prevention, something I don’t think schools do enough
  • having things set in Canada was nice, I’m not used to recognizing locations so much
  • deals with divorce in a pretty realistic manner
  • deals with homosexuality of a parent, something not done enough in YA

I gave away 2 advanced reading copies of Leap to Canadians fill out the form