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Jumpstart the World
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–When her mother chooses her boyfriend over her own daughter, Elle, 16, is moved into an apartment across Manhattan. She develops a friendship with Frank, who lives next door, and with Molly, Frank’s girlfriend. As her feelings toward Frank turn into a crush, Elle becomes conflicted over how to deal with them. At the same time, she is befriended by “Us,” a group of kids who are gay, lesbian, or just different in some way. When they meet Frank at a party and tell her they think he is a “trans man,” Elle becomes angry and abruptly asks them to leave. Then she learns that Frank is a woman in the process of becoming a man, and she withdraws. However, when Frank is hit by a car and Elle nearly loses her best friend, she begins to understand the importance of acceptance of both others and herself. The value of friendship and the struggle to be comfortable in one’s own skin are issues brought to light in this novel. As Elle learns to deal with who she is, she also learns to deal with those who aren’t just like her. Willing to admit her mistakes and growing stronger throughout the book, Elle is a likable, well-developed character with whom teens will identify.