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Jumped - Rita Williams-Garcia This book sounds like an after-school special: tough basketball girl wants to beat up fluffy clueless girl and only spoiled self-absorbed girl can stop it, if only she's brave enough. Outdated, right?

Wrong!

This book is really about identity and perception. We have Dominique, the girl jock who believes she has no choices in life: all the power is held by her coach, her teachers, and her environment. She refuses to see that she has any choice in her actions. Then there's Trina, who steadfastly forces herself to believe she is prettier, more popular, and more talented than any other girl in the world, mainly to protect herself from the knowledge that her father abandoned her and her mother before she was even born. Finally, there is Leticia, who isn't interested in choices, only her manicure and cellular phone. To her, choices are too much effort, are something her parents should do for her. The real world is simply one more television show, there for her amusement, not her participation.

When Trina unknowingly provokes Dominique on a bad morning, Leticia is the only observer, the only one who can tell Trina or an adult that Dominique plans to "jump" Trina after school. As the day progresses, the reader spends time learning the inside story of each girl, until finally school lets out and events come to a head. "Let's all learn something, we can get along" feel-good story? Sorry. This is a wonderfully sketched out little drama where even the shallow character has hidden depths.

Recommend to: Age 14+ (one sex scene), girls or boys who don't mind female protagonists