- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
- Publication date: 8/27/2013
- Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don’t be late to class. Don’t ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest—Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option—Luis will destroy him. Told in Sam’s raw voice and interspersed with vivid poems, Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott is a stunning debut novel about differences, friendship, loss, and the power of words.
I'm not a big poetry person, but this sounded really interesting so I decided to give it a try. I'm really glad I did. I actually loved getting to know Luis through his poems, and I loved seeing Sam open up a little and finally let people in. This book tackles many different issues. Stereotyping, friendship, family, and learning to find yourself. This was a book I was very unsure about and ended up really enjoying. It was a pleasant surprise.
Sam is the type of person who keeps to himself. Abandoned by his mom, and expecting her to return to bring him back to his old home, he never wanted to get close to people. Didn't want to form relationships with anyone if he was just leaving soon anyways. After it was apparent his mom wasn't coming back, he just didn't care to be friends with anyone. It's easier for him to just be by himself. He won't have to ever subject himself to that feeling of loss again. It isn't until Luis becomes an unexpected and unwelcome part of his life that he starts to see things differently. He finds an unlikely friendship with Luis. He discovers that his stereotyping may have been wrong, and that people aren't always who they seem on the outside.
I found the writing in this to be fabulous. At first I wasn't sure about hearing Sam tell us a bit about what is happening, then getting a poem written by Luis, but soon it really flowed and I was flying through the book. I wanted to know more about both of them, about where their story was going. I loved that this tackled the issue of stereotypes in such a cool way. I loved that everyone was so much more than meets the eye. Besides Luis and Sam, I loved all of the characters. I thought they were all well developed, especially their English teacher. Every character had a reason to be part of the story. There were no side characters just for the sake of moving the story along.
Upon finishing this book, I was surprised how much I felt. I started off not really feeling any sort of connection or emotions at all, and I'm not sure when they developed, but by the end I was aware of all the feels I had. It really caught me off guard, and I love that! This book was just so well rounded. It covers so many issues, it's so real, and it also gives a few little lessons on poetry that I found really cool. I think this is the type of book that all high school (or even middle school) kids should read. I am so glad that I decided to read something different from what I usually do. This was a great book.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.