Jumping Off Swings Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Jumping Off Swings

Ellie finds out she is pregnant from a one night stand and she has to decide whether she wants to have an abortion or not and whether she wants the father of the child to be involved in this decision. Ellie is a regular teenage girl who has a tendency to sleep with guys on her first date because she's so desperate for love. Most of the guys end up dumping her and she's viewed in school as a slut who will sleep with anyone. One night at a party, Ellie decides to sleep with Josh, who was a virgin and was cute. She hoped Josh might be different because he wasn't a jerk towards her. But, after sleeping with him, Josh leaves, assuming that she would be okay with just casual sex and a no strings relationship. Ellie is crushed and depressed. Josh's friend, Caleb, is angry and jealous that Josh manipulated Ellie so that she would sleep with him. He has had a crush on Ellie for as long as he can remember and despite the fact that she has a reputation as a school slut who will sleep with anyone for a good time. He remembers when they were younger and more innocent and Ellie was nice to him.   
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One day, a few weeks later, Ellie finds out that she might be pregnant. She doesn't want to tell Josh that he might be the father because she doesn't want him to be involved and potentially get hurt if she decides to abort the baby. Ellie's best friend Corinne decides to take her over to see Caleb, who might be able to help discuss what to do about the situation. Corinne also just wanted to see Caleb again, since she has a secret crush on him but knows he only has eyes for Ellie. At their discussion meeting, they are interrupted by Caleb's mom. They try to keep the topic of discussion under wraps but a few days later, Ellie gets a note from Caleb's mom asking to speak to Ellie privately about her pregnancy. Ellie is mad that someone might have told Caleb's mom. After she calms down, Corinne tries to convince her to talk to a school counselor about her situation but Ellie decides she'd rather talk to Caleb's mom after all. Ellie also finally tells her own mom the truth. Her mom doesn't take the news well and is severely disappointed in her daughter. In the end, Ellie decides she wants to get an abortion. When she gets to the clinic, however, she suddenly changes her mind and decides she can't go through with it.

Meanwhile, Caleb finally tells Josh what he knows and Josh is shocked that Ellie didn't tell him. He feels helpless to do anything and wishes the whole issue would just go away. He starts drinking away his misery. He finaly decides to tell his father and is surprised that his father is so supportive of him. Ellie refuses to talk to him, however, so he can only follow her from a distance and get updates from Caleb as to her situation. There are also rumors spreading through the school that Ellie is pregnant. Some of the meaner girls are harassing Ellie, scratching vile things on her locker. Corinne tries to defend her friend but she only gets herself in more trouble with the school. Ellie is just depressed that her life is all screwed up.

Meanwhile Caleb and Corinne, having been brought together due to trying to help their respective friends, have fallen in love with each other.

On the day Ellie is due to give birth, the doctors find that they will have to do a C-section on her, which is a dangerous operation. Everyone is tense but the surgery goes smoothly. After giving birth, Ellie's baby is taken away even though Ellie changes her mind at the last minute and wishes to keep her baby. After finding out the news that Ellie's given birth to his baby, Josh rushes to the hospital to see the baby before it is given away. He finds himself crying and confused over the whole situation. He has mixed feelings towards the new baby and his guilt over putting Ellie through the ordeal of giving birth. The story ends with Ellie walking through a grocery store and coming across a baby boy who looks like it might be hers.
Best part of story, including ending: I thought the author did a very good job portraying the chaos and confusion of teens having to deal with adult responsibilities before their time.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Ellie sees the baby in the grocery store that might be hers. It was a nice moment of closure for Ellie to see that the baby was well taken care of and it assuaged her guilt over giving birth to a baby and not taking care of it.

Opinion about the main character: I didn't like that Ellie had such a low self-esteem that she would sleep with just any guy in order to feel beautiful and loved. But, the author did a good job making me sympathetic to Ellie's character. Due to her portrayal, I kind of understood how lonely and confusing it can be for a teenager with low self-esteem.

The review of this Book prepared by Sharon C. a Level 12 Black-Throated Green Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of Jumping Off Swings

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Pregnancy/Child rearing    -   Yes Major part of story:    -   dealing with unexpected pregnancy

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   1 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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