Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott
Author: Patrick Flores-Scott
Published August 27, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
Goodreads Summary: 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
My Review: This book is about depression, friendship, poetry, music, loyalty, teachers, and family.. It is amazing that through Sam’s interactions with Luis and introduction to poetry, he goes from trying to be invisible on purpose to having a whole different view of his surroundings. Luis changes how he sees the world because Luis ends up being everything he thought he wasn’t.
This book surprised me. I didn’t know what it was about when I started, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. At first Sam seems to just be a slacker that is hard to connect with, and I thought it was going to be similar to many other books with a bully that I’ve read. But it ended up being like Luis was to Sam–everything I thought it wasn’t going to be, and it was so unpredictable. From page 1, the author had me. The images just jumped out at me. And that was just the beginning of me being thoroughly impressed with the book. Both of the voices in this book resonated with me for a long time after (As much as I end up liking Sam in this book, I think Luis may be one of my favorite characters ever. He has a beautiful voice, and I felt privileged to meet him.). It was one of those books that I had to let marinate before I could pick up another one because it was still banging around inside of my head (and I couldn’t stop hearing Sam and Luis’s voices).
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This is a poetry-friendly book. First, although Sam is telling the story, throughout Luis’s voice is shared through his poetry. Beautiful poetry. Also, one of the main settings of the book is an English classroom with a pretty awesome English teacher talking about poetry. There are even examples of poems that she asks her students to write such as diamantes and nonets. All of her poetry unit (and writing process) activities would be perfect to use in the classroom.
Discussion Questions: Was there ever someone you judged by looking at them, but later learned that they were not what you thought?; Have you ever just tried to be invisible? Why?; Do you ever have “brain movies” like Sam when your brain just won’t stop thinking?; How does Luis’s friendship change Sam?; How is Luis different than what Sam assumed he would be?; How does Gilbert affect Sam?
We Flagged: “I pull away from everyone, and after a while, I pretty much quit talking altogether. It’s been two years. I’m a sophmore. I shouldn’t still be stuck like this. But the pit I’ve dug for myself feels so deep, I can’t climb out of it. I want to. I want to climb out and join the world. But I can’t. I don’t know how.” (Sam, p. 32)
Still waters, aguas quietas
But in school you have to speak
To be seen as running deep
To be thought of as more than
The tragic mask
I wear to put you off
I don’t know why, so don’t ask
Someday I’ll scrap the mask
I’ll let loose my new, crazy words
I’ll speak my piece
Without ceasing till you’ve learned…
That I’m as deep
As Everest is voluminous
I’m as thoughtful
As the sun is luminous
As Casanova is amorous
As a grizzly is carnivorous…” (Luis, p. 51)
Read This If You Loved: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Reality Boy by A.S. King, Wine Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin
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