LeapCoverA new review from an incredibly inspiring young woman! Marathon Amy’s Review of Leap.

“Here’s what I love about Leap by Jodi Lundgren. While some teen fiction books are about a teen’s definitive coming-of-age experience, Natalie’s road to adulthood is not so clear cut. There are challenges and setbacks, times when she is vastly more mature than her fifteen years and others when she seems like a child. Because that’s usually the way growing up is, something that happens in fits and starts. […]The beautiful part is how Natalie finds her sense of self through her dancing. There it isn’t about relationships, parents or secrets, it’s only about expressing herself through the use of movement in a wholly authentic way.”

Check out Amy’s marathon project below:

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What struck me the most about the novel was its emotional rawness. By the book’s end, the reader feels that a transformation has taken place—but not without a struggle. The dance scenes are vividly drawn and do a wonderful job of letting us see the transformation-in-progress. All in all, a great read.—Gayle Friesen, author of Janey’s Girl and The Isabel Factor

If you’ve ever felt like dance is the only thing keeping you sane, be sure to add Leap… to your reading list. Leap tells the story of Natalie Ferguson, a 15-year-old dancer who falls in, then out of, love with her best friend’s brother. Natalie clings to dance as the only sure thing in her changing world. —Sarah Badger, Dance Spirit Magazine

This book was very descriptive and you could understand everything that was happening. One thing I really liked was that even if you don’t like the book, you’ll still want to read it because you would want to know what was coming next and if Natalie was OK.
A part that I didn’t like was when Kevin takes advantage of her. It’s like he had more authority in one way, but poor Natalie is so absorbed in her love for Kevin, that she couldn’t see who he was truly. In all honesty I think Kevin should have been sad instead of angry when Natalie said no. He also has to realize what he’s doing to Natalie is hurting her. —Sienna Marks-Grant, age 12, The National Post

Kevin is off-limits to 15-year-old Natalie, who documents her coming-of-age summer in notebook entries. Not only is he the older brother of her best friend, Sasha, he’s also 19. But Kevin’s advances are hard to ignore…. Natalie persuasively develops from naïve and resentful after Kevin spurns her to hypercritical about others’ transgressions (like Sasha’s shoplifting and smoking) and, finally, to poised. In the end, Natalie declares her support for her mother’s relationship, befriends a shy girl with dance aspirations, and pauses to contemplate a drug legalization rally—a passage that underscores Natalie’s growing awareness that the world exists in shades of gray. –Publisher’s Weekly

Jodi Lundgren has written a sometimes startlingly realistic and heart-wrenching novel in Leap. Readers will alternately be cheering Natalie on while, at other moments, they will be wanting to shake some sense into her. The overwhelming confusion and loneliness of navigating first loves and first sexual encounters ring true in this book as do the grim realities of unprotected sex. … The plot lines that have to do with Natalie’s dealing with her friends, family, and the overwhelming confusion that comes with them are what make Leap such a strong novel. …Leap would make an excellent addition to libraries whose teens hunger for those realistic, problem novels where main characters struggle against all odds. —Amy Dawley, CM Magazine

Leap covers a lot of territory that teen girls will identify with. —Quill & Quire

This novel, with its luminous descriptions of dance and frank discussions of sexuality and relationships, will captivate teens looking for a story they can relate to.-School Library Journal

Natalie [is] a relatable and realistic character…Readers who like a healthy dose of problems with their introspection will appreciate Natalie’s bumpy journey. VOYA

sweet, very honestly-written…story that teenage girls in general, and anyone who’s ever danced, will appreciate.” —Tonya Plank, dance blogger

This summer is a time of decisions for Natalie. Should she take that drink or try those drugs? Should she have sex and deal with all that it involves? Should she continue to see Kevin? Is it worth losing a best friend for a guy? Or should she just focus on her dancing? And what about her parents – will things change? The only thing Natalie knows for sure is she loves to dance. It takes her to a place where she feels peace and she wants to pass that on to others. Leap is the story of one girl’s coming of age to a time where she takes her own leap of faith into maturity and being a grown up.
Leap by Jodi Lundgren is a terrific story for teen girls and within its pages there are many lessons to be learned. It is told in a frank and straightforward style and that was something I really enjoyed about it and something I also think that teen girls could relate to – someone understanding the multitude of emotions they are going through at that age. …I loved how [Natalie] went from not so smart to realizing her worth and going forward. —Darlene @ www.peekingbetweenthepages.com

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