Tuesday, June 21, 2011


LeapLeap by Jane Breskin Zalben
Knopf for Young Readers, 2007
272 pages
4 out of 5

Daniel says: You know how life goes along and you don't always stop to think, is it okay? You're just too busy doing everyday stuff: homework, hanging out, watching TV, going to the movies. Well, life caused me to grow up fast.  Real fast. Like overnight.

Krista says: I remembered number one: Help Daniel.  A promise is a promise. I just didn't want to lose Bobby by taking sides with Daniel.

Daniel and Krista used to be inseparable.  Swim buddies. In the Barracudas.  Now that they're older, they've drifted apart--but when an accident leaves Daniel temporarily paralyzed, he needs Krista's help to swim again.

Things aren't as simple between them as they used to be, though, especially when Krista's feelings for another boy keep getting in the way of their friendship.  Now Krista and Daniel must both take leaps--leaps that take them to places they never imagined.

The story is cute. It provides details on how the accident happened and the immediate aftermath, but the story seems to pick up a bit later, when Daniel is able to go back to school. Along with the usual problems twelve-year-olds encounter, Daniel's friends and classmates struggle to figure out how to act around Daniel.  The accident isn't the only problem Daniel has either. He's got a crush on a girl who is clueless and his mother all of a sudden makes changes to her life that severely affect Daniel's.

The auxiliary characters add dimension to the overall story. Daniel's parents and their struggles following the accident; Lainie's relationship with her mother; the tension between the Kaufman's and the Rosen's; and the dynamic of Krista's group of friends. I like that the novel doesn't completely center around Daniel in his temporarily handicapped state because individuals who are handicapped (temporarily or otherwise) have more to their lives than that.  

This is an enjoyable audio book.  Daniel and Krista are represented by different readers, and they both do a good job of expressing the characters emotions and changing their voices to represent other characters. Overall, I enjoyed this story and having it read to me.

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