If you have spent even 5 minutes with a child you are certain to have noticed what interesting creatures they are. They are as equally lovable as they are fickle and more than anything they are painfully honest (not yet forming that diplomatic catch-net we acquire as adults.) but unfortunately all of these endearing qualities start to disappear as the years pass and eventually, instead of your little princess who thought boys were icky and playing in mud was a good time, you end up with a tween. The 1 hour in the bathroom, more make-up than a MAC store, “Mom” do these pants make my butt look fat” mini-divas. Suddenly it takes more than location to be best friends, and peer pressure and first impressions are part of the game.
In “Leap” by Jane Breskin Zalben, 2 sixth graders (and childhood friends) Krista and Daniel, are forced to decide between their “inner child” beauty, and their blossoming teen alliances. After a devastating accident that leaves, the once popular Daniel, without the use of his legs, Krista is at a loss. Does she continue to be friends with the boy she has known and acknowledged her whole life, or does she pretend he isn’t there… like everyone else? Daniel on the other hand has a entirely different set of problems. His best friend is AWOL, his mother is non-existent and even the simplest of things, like walking, is relatively impossible. Will humanities light shine through these two young hearts and compel them to walk down the road of compassion and understanding… or will all of the pressure and sideways glances just be to much to bare?
This is not necessarily a novel for adults, it is written in the simplistic dialogue of two very confused 13 year olds, however if you have a budding teenager in your family this would make a fantastic gift. The lessons in this dual narrative story are important…character building if you will… and if in the end they get nothing more than “don’t jump to conclusions” as their great revelation… 1 life lesson is better than none.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “Leap of Faith” isn’t just a fantastic quote… is a brilliant motto.
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