Review: Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Review: Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan HydeJumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Published by Random House LLC on 2011
Genres: Dating & Sex, Homosexuality, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 186
Format: ARC
Source: Won In A Contest
Buy on Amazon

Elle is a loner. She doesn't need people. Which is a good thing, because now she has to move out of her apartment so her mother's boyfriend won't have to deal with her.Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door to her new place. Being with him is impossible: he's a grown-up and has a girlfriend.  Still, Elle can't stop thinking about him.  Frank isn't like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He's gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.Then Elle discovers that Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he's transgender. Elle's head and her heart explode; her world is turned upside down.  But when an accident nearly takes Frank's life, Elle must search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

Are you looking for a brief book with a high impact? Look no further than Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The book opens with main character Elle moving into her own apartment at 15 because her mother’s boyfriend doesn’t want teenagers around. Kind of a strange situation, but it really does work for this story. While moving in, she meets next door neighbor Frank, a veteranarian who becomes a friend of sorts. Elle finds herself attending a new school, and makes a rag tag group of friends who are GLBT. Eventually, her new friends help her to the realization that Frank is transgendered. The rest of Jumpstart The World follows Elle’s reaction and how she deals with this revelation.

If I could describe Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde in three phrases I would say it is: ‘depressing’, ‘raw’, and ‘ultimately uplifting’. I mean, Elle is sort of what I would consider a tragic character at the beginning of the book. It seems like no one wants her. She’s got her guard up, and holds people at arms length. You can see she is clearly hurting. What Hyde does as an author is something I can ultimately appreciate, she infuses her words with honesty. I never once felt anything in Jumpstart The World was forced or contrived to create a deus ex machina situation. By the end of Jumpstart The World, we see Elle really come into herself, and move from the tragic girl to someone who has clearly changed. I thought that was uplifting and totally made the sad parts worth reading.

Elle is a likeable character, despite her gruff exterior. I mean, okay, a lot of the time authors write these asshole characters that somehow we are supposed to like, but I wind up not liking them at all. Elle, I guess sealed the deal when she adopted this cat who might as well have been from the island of misfit cats. I mean, there are plenty of kitteh moments which will have those of us who like animals in smiles.

ALSO there are gay characters in Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde who just are. By this I mean, there’s no coming out story. While the majority of the book does deal with Elle’s friendship with Frank and her reactions to his being transgendered, there are still other plausible plot threads going on. It’s not the entire book. I can appreciate that, because it normalizes the gay experience.

Finally, as you may have gathered from the page number or size of Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde, this is one insanely quick read, but one I do recommend you make.

A few quotes I LOVED:

“And I just kept sitting there. Trying to climb out of the way I felt. Trying to get out of myself, like I was a bad-fitting suit I could just peel away.” pg. 27-28

I just love the imagery.

“I know it’s making you hurt right now, but let me tell you, that’s a part of human nature we would not want to lose. Boy, you look at how bad things are now… just think where we’d be if that empathy ever got lost.” – pg. 85

Right on.

Other Reviews of Jumpstart The World by Catherine Ryan Hyde:

Helen’s Book Blog
Amy Reads
Deraps Reads

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Excellent review, April! I’ve been really looking forward to reading this one, and I’m glad to see a great review for it! 🙂

  2. This sounds lovely. Love the quotes, as well.

  3. I just started this book last night. I’m only a few chapters into it but I really like it so far. I love the chapter names!

  4. Glad to see you liked this book. And thank you for linking to my review 🙂 I thought it was a good book for straight cisgender people to learn about acceptance and why we need to work to make the world a better place.

  5. Haha this has arrived at my house and now I’m looking forward to a visit with a kitten from ‘the island of misfit cats’. It is quite a small book though, didn’t realise it was so slender from other reviews.

  6. I really want to read more LGBTQ novels, so this is jumping right onto my list!


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