Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don’t be late to class. Don’t ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest—Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option—Luis will destroy him. Told in Sam’s raw voice and interspersed with vivid poems, Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott is a stunning debut novel about differences, friendship, loss, and the power of words.
I can only say one thing about JUMPED IN: wow. It is a stunning story about growing- and this growth takes two paths. We follow Sam as he finds his own voice that has been quiet ever since his mom dumped him at his grandparents’ and disappeared. It is about letting go of the past and reaching out. And hope. Because the other character, Luis, tells his story in poems that reach forward into you as you learn about his life. His dad died in a gang fight and his brother follows his father's path. He wishes to be something else, something different. This book is sad but written with so much raw emotion and terrible beauty that I personally rank it right up there with WONDER and find it even better than COUNTING BY SEVENS. It is a remarkable, breathtaking story that is worthy of a 6 out of 5.