- Hardcover: 372 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA) (10 Sept. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763662801
- ISBN-13: 978-0763662806
- Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,909,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Living with Jackie Chan Hardcover – 10 Sep 2013
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Affecting. ... [T]here's something undeniably powerful about the stripped-down world that Jo Knowles has created.
--The New York Times Book Review
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) [A]n especially well-crafted sequel.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review) As the emotional core of the book, Josh is a complex yet incredibly likable character with whom readers will empathize. ... Divided into four parts, the compelling narrative offers an honest and frank look at teen pregnancy from the male's perspective, and while the book could have been a depressing read in another author's hands, Knowles succeeds in writing a character-driven story that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking
--School Library Journal (starred review) With dexterous character and relationship drafting, Knowles pulls Josh's parents through their own reactions to Josh's mistakes to a fresh start, and Josh is credibly resentful in his initial understanding that his absence seems to be the catalyst for their healing. .... Real grace comes through Larry, however, whose goodness, couched as it is in genial goofiness, helps Josh move from silent but perpetual self-recrimination to ownership of his faults and forgiveness.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Knowles compassionately depicts the consequences of teen pregnancy from the boy's perspective, and Josh's journey -- aided in no small part by the kind (and perky) wisdom of his uncle -- is touching and honest. Josh's anger, sadness, and regret are palpable, but his ultimate steps forward are quietly triumphant.
--Booklist This is a story about forgiving yourself for mistakes made in the past and how those choices don't have to define you. Readers of Knowles' first novel will enjoy hearing things from Josh's side, but you don't have to read the first one to get attached to Josh as a character and have sympathy for him.
--Library Media Connection Knowles is once again eloquent in her portrayal of real teens struggling to work through circumstance to better understand the liminal place between being a child and an adult. ... Living with Jackie Chan meets that elusive goal of filling a hole in young adult literature without preaching while still appealing to fans and being a hopeful, gratifying read.
About the Author
Jo Knowles is the author of Lessons from a Dead Girl, Jumping Off Swings, and See You at Harry's. She lives in Vermont with her family.
Top customer reviews
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One of my main issues with Jumping off swings was that I felt the characters were not developed enough and as a result they came off as stereotypes. In those 4 years, Knowles has definitely grown a lot as a writer. With each book, I felt that she’s improved in fleshing out her characters, while at the same time not compromising in the ‘plot’ department. See you at Harry’s, especially left a big impression, because she managed to not only draw a very believable main character, but a very believable ‘family’ unit. Every family member was believable in his/her actions and grief about what happened (no spoilers…).
In Living With Jackie Chan, Jo Knowles continues this development. She has succeeded in showing a side of Josh that was almost completely absent in Jumping off Swings, because the focus was most on Ellie (despite the 4 different points of view) and not on him. It’s definitely a bonus that Knowles doesn’t experiment with different perspectives here, because this is really Josh’s book. Of course Josh has interactions with other people, like his Uncle Larry and Stella, the girl who lives in the same building and who does karate together with him, but since this is Josh’s story, it was not necessary to have any other perspectives, so props to Knowles here for being a smart writer. Also, the different (complex) topics that Knowles manages to include in her books in an almost effortless way – like teen pregnancy, single-sex parenting, problematic (teen and adult) relationships, alcoholism – vouches for her insight into the complex lives of a lot of teenagers today.
For people who haven’t read Jumping Off Swings, Living with Jackie Chan will be a little bit more challenging, because Knowles doesn’t really mention at the beginning of the book why Josh has moved in with his uncle Larry in his senior year, and is in a completely different town, and goes to a completely new school. However, if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort, it could also be read separate from Jumping Off Swings, I think.
In any case, I think Living with Jackie Chan will be another hit with my students, so I think that Knowles will firmly keep her place in the top 3 of authors whose books circulate the most in my school library.
Jo Knowles sets all her book firmly in the real world. Every character is someone who could live next door to you. It's never about the impossible happening, or even the improbable; it's about coping with the probable as best you can. This story has less of the claustrophobic nature of some of her other writings, such as Pearl and See You At Harry's; the characters get to move around a little, which a bit unnerving at first!
"Living With Jackie Chan" stands alone, you don't have to have read "Jumping Off Swings" first, but I would recommend that it would be worthwhile reading both in the order they were published.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I loved the story and Josh 's journey to maturity, but for the most part he was so unlikable that I almost abandoned him. While this shows the character's development, that character ought to be likeable enough that the reader cares about him and invested in the story.
Fortunately, this story held my attention and will keep me reading more from one of my favourite authors.