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Jumpstart the World    by Catherine Ryan Hyde order for
Jumpstart the World
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Fifteen-year-old Elle's mother moves her out of her home and into an apartment, because her mother's boyfriend doesn't want to deal with a teenager. She tells Elle that this will be good for her and that they'll still see each other frequently.

The first person Elle meets is her next door neighbor Frank. Her mom asks Frank to look after Elle, telling him Elle recently celebrated her eighteenth birthday. Frank offers his friendship and soon Elle has a crush on him even though she knows he's too old for her and has a live-in girlfriend.

The apartment is in a different school district so Elle must start a new school. She shows her frustration by chopping off all of her hair. In less than a day, someone paints queer on her locker. When a lesbian student helps her remove the paint, Elle has one friend and soon makes others. Her new friends include a mixture of gay, lesbian, and straight kids who don't fit into any school clique. She almost throws these new friendships away when one of them tells her something about Frank that she doesn't want to believe.

Even though Elle is too young to be on her own, readers will probably agree that it's less toxic than living at home. Gentle Frank makes a better mother than her own. Through sweet, wise Frank, Elle begins to see how important friendships are.

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