Saturday, July 16, 2011

Leap by Jodi Lundgren

Title: Leap
Author: Jodi Lundgren
Publisher: Second Story Press
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Date Read: July 4- 7, 2011
Rating: 2/5 stars 

When life is changing, sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith in yourself.

Natalie Ferguson has just turned fifteen, a momentous age that, happily, means that she's officially a grown-up. But while her mom doesn't seem to have got the memo, Kevin, her best friend Sasha's older brother, has. The school year is over, and Natalie is looking forward to a summer of perfecting her technique at dance camp. Caught up with the excitement of Kevin's attention, their relationship quickly becomes intimate and all-consuming.

Natalie's summer is a mix of amazing highs and dramatic lows. She goes from being in love and lust with Kevin to realizing that he is not the guy she thought he was, and she may have lost her friendship with Sasha in the process. Then, just when she's ready to turn to her single mom for advice, she learns that her mother is now in love with a woman. Losing her virginity, dealing with her new understanding of her mother, and trying to renegotiate her relationships, Natalie clings to her dancing as the only sure thing in a life suddenly full of questions
I hate when I start a book and have certain expectations of how the plot will turn out because usually they don't come true. In the case of Leap, it really tainted my opinion of the book when my predictions didn't turn out and I feel really bad writing a negative review about it. I assumed the book would be about one summer when Natalie finally grows up and gains independence, but Jodi Lundgren put a different spin on "growing up" and extended the book into the school year which I wasn't really expecting. I also assumed that the main topic of the book would be self-discovery but instead there were many smaller topics never expanded on like legalization of marijuana, divorce, teenage sexuality, and LGBTQ parenting.

I'm really conflicted about the language writing style in this book.  While it's true that there is no one "way" a teenager talks I'm annoyed when authors write only slang and swearing, because many of us actually have a vocabulary beyond that. I was really glad that Jodi Lundgren showed the repercussions of those words though because too often it goes uncritisized in YA literature. On the other hand, teenagers do use casual language and don't speak like "I did this and then I did this. It was jolly good."

I didn't connect to Natalie, the main character, at all. I found her to be a very naive, spoiled, disrespectful, and disobedient protagonist. While I'm glad that Jodi Lundgren didn't make her a "goody-two-shoes" I couldn't empathize with Natalie's lifestyle choices at all. I really struggled to conceptualize the dancing aspects of the book. As a non-dancer I didn't understand most of the vocabulary and found the descriptions of the dance sequences to be very long and melodramatic. I found it fascinating to watch dance affect Natalie in such a positive and inspiring way but I wish I could have fully understood and experienced that transformation with her. 

Quote: "Educators make sex sound like a dentist appointment, right down to the hygienic rubber gloves. They talk about 'getting swept away in the moment' like it's a health risk and not the point of the whole experience. I can't help it: I want sex to be romantic."

Recommended: Forever (Judy Blume), 
On Pointe (Lorie Ann Grover), Fractures (Budge Wilson)


  1. Aw, that's too bad that you didn't enjoy this one, but thanks for the honest review. I know it's always hard when you can't connect to the main character at all.

  2. Hmmm. This is on my 'to read' list. I guess I'll see my take. Thanks for the review. ;-)

  3. That sucks it was a disappointing read and that you weren't able to connect with the characters. Great honest review :)

  4. What a shame! I was actually pretty interested in this book, but I don't think it'd be for me either. Thanks for the honesty though.

    In reply to:

    If I was bothered to, I'd do weekly IMMs, but I get really lazy and tell myself "Eh, I'll do it next week." XD
    I wish I could do vlogs, but Youtube rejects my videos everytime so I've given up.

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