Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

Try getting through these halls without elbows, backpacks, attitude, a lot of running, and now dancing. There are thirty-five hundred students in this school . . . from period three to period eight you have the weight of the world marching in this cereal box.

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia is about girl-on-girl violence that takes place from “zero” period to the end of the day at 2:45. It is told from three teenagers’ points of view: Leticia, Trina, and Dominique. All three girls have very distinct personalities, and perspectives of the world, which collide in Jumped.

Nothing is going right for Dominique. She loves basketball more than anything else, but she’s been benched for the season because of her low grades. She is upset by her situation and everything feels out of her control. She says, “The grades I get. The classes on my schedule. When I come and go. I don’t control none of that. All of that’s controlling me. Boxing me in.” ‘Nique is mad and she wants to prove it.

Trina, on the other hand, is having a perfect day. She feels complete in her hot pink jump suit that says, “Hot Chick.” She’s just finished viewing her artwork on display in the ‘C’ Corridor for African History Month, and she is pleased with her accomplishments. Life couldn’t be better . . . until she unknowingly crosses paths with Dominique.

Leticia is the character that many readers will find themselves relating to the most. She witnesses the interaction between Dominique and Trina between zero and first period. She knows that Trina is going to be jumped at 2:45, yet it’s not a clear-cut decision for her to alert anyone to the looming violence. Leticia’s character forces readers to think about what they would do in a similar situation. What is ethical and what is minding your own business?

Jumped is a quick book to read because of the changing points of view and the fact that it’s only 169 pages. The language and some scenes are gritty. Rita Williams-Garcia spent time observing classes and hallway interactions to get the characters right. The Des Moines Public Library has Jumped both in print and electronic format. Click here to reserve a copy.

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