Paperback, 344 pages.
Read from September 17 to 28, 2015.
This book was given to me by a good friend of mine and it was one of his favourite books growing up. The book was originally published in 1992 and was republished with the release of the movie in 2008. No, I have not seen the movie and I have no plans to. For one, I heard it was terrible, and two it’s apparently nothing at all like the book (all the more reason to avoid it).
Jumper follows the story of Davy, a teenager who learns that he has the ability to teleport. He discovers his abilities during an episode of abuse from his drunken father. Having practiced and worked out new found his ability he decides to leave his abusive home and set off on his own to see where it takes him. The first half of the novel is quite dark and graphic, but realistic. After further hardship, Davy realizes he isn’t going to get very far without money so he “jumps” into a bank in New York to make ends meet. Davy however, is a teenager and starts to make some big mistakes after Davy learns more about the mother who abandoned him. From there he delves into the worlds of espionage, politics and terrorism. He wants to use his abilities for good and to know if there are others out there that are like him, but he is also exposing himself to the authorities and they’ve discovered his weak point, his new girlfriend Millie.
What was refreshing about this book is how realistic Davy’s character is. He faces real-life struggles and even with his super-human abilities but it still didn’t change the fact his decisions are those of an impulsive teenage boy. The dark and graphic side of the book is not something that is prevalent in YA books anymore, as I’m sure some parent or board would make a big stink about it, but the facts are that Davy’s situation, in terms of his abusive home life, are a reality for far too many kids. Books like this provide insights and outlets for readers. That’s the beauty of a book and why books shouldn’t ever be banned or altered. This book was one of the biggest banned children’s books in the 90s. I had heard, though I can’t confirm if this is true or not, that this book was at some point republished and that some of the graphic content was removed and that the original edition that I read, is hard to come by. If that’s the case, I’m thankful for this edition.
I also feel that the emotion that Davy expresses in this book isn’t commonly written about. Davy gets emotional over some of the very tragic incidents that he has to deal with and the author doesn’t hold back in showing the reader Davy’s sadness or tears. Lots of readers didn’t like this, but that’s probably because we’re all acclimatized to having our male characters be borderline macho. Realistically, most people who went through what Davy did would shed quite a few tears, so he shouldn’t be any exception.
It’s easy to see why this would be a favourite for YA reader’s. Davy is an approachable character with feasible struggles and some badass abilities that we all wish we had. Overall a decent read for YA’s or adults, even if you’re not all that into sci-fi.