cover image Living with Jackie Chan

Living with Jackie Chan

Jo Knowles. Candlewick, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6280-6

In an afterword, Knowles writes that this companion to Jumping Off Swings (2009) sprang from readers asking what happened to Josh, whose one-night stand with Ellie led to a baby given up for adoption. Teen pregnancy stories from a male perspective are few and far between, and this one deals with regrets rather than responsibility, since Josh bails completely, never speaking to Ellie about their encounter and changing high schools to avoid seeing her after she gives birth. He moves in with his über-energetic Uncle Larry and agrees to help him teach karate summer camp at the Y, where he’s paired up with Stella, a pretty classmate who lives in their building. This is an especially well-crafted sequel—readers need not have read the first book to get caught up in Josh’s agony—but there isn’t a lot of plot. It follows Josh’s interior journey from self-hatred to self-forgiveness, as he slowly accepts that he’s a good person who made a bad choice, and takes the first step toward moving forward from it. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)