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Leap by Jane Breskin Zalben
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Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

Krista and Daniel were inseparable from the first day of kindergarten on. Swimming lessons, play dates, they did everything together. Until Valentine's Day in third grade. Krista got a box of chocolates and an unsigned love note. There's no way of knowing for sure who it came from, but Krista is convinced it was Bobby. It almost doesn't really even matter anymore because since that day, Krista has had the crush of her life on Bobby. Two-and-a-half years, and it hasn't gone away, and she's no closer to dating him than she was at the beginning. She should have asked Daniel about it back then, when should have equaled could have, when they were still best friends. But around the beginning of fourth grade it somehow became not cool to be best friends with someone of the opposite sex. So Krista found Sandy and Gina, and Daniel became best friends with Bobby. Krista still has the box and the note, though!

The day after the end of fifth grade changes everything for Daniel, and eventually for Krista, too. Daniel goes to have dental work done, and a freak accident happens. Now he'll need a lot of physical therapy to even get back to being functional. Who knows if he'll ever be able to be a competitive swimmer again? To make matters worse, his dentist was Bobby's dad. Which causes all sorts of problems. Add in his mom's inability to deal with the whole thing, and Daniel's not sure what his future looks like. It's a pretty tough thing to contemplate when you're only in sixth grade.

Krista vows to help her once best friend. But intending to and wanting to help are easier things to say than do. Does helping Daniel mean she's picking him over Bobby? What does helping, or not helping, say about her as a person? Why is it so hard to be around Daniel? How can she talk to him?

This story is a snapshot of a time in life that's hard enough without major obstacles. Figuring out how to relate to the opposite sex is a constant battle that starts around third grade and for some people it doesn't end for the next twenty years! It's made even harder because previous to that it was completely normal to be friends with the people that you don't even know how to talk to now. I still don't know exactly what it is that changes everything. With the accident as an obstacle, it also becomes a story about defining yourself at any age. A person's actions and reactions say a lot about who they are, but they can also easily be misinterpreted.

This book deals with a confusing time in life, but it does so very openly and honestly. It could very easily have gotten depressing, or melodramatic, or lost in a message. Thankfully it never does. Instead you walk away from it feeling like you got a glimpse into life from a full perspective. Like for the first time you got to see the full picture of a piece of time. It's a good thing. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375838716, Hardcover)

Daniel says: life caused me to grow up fast. Real fast. Like overnight.

Krista says: The real me—the one who knew I should treat Daniel the way I'd want to be treated—was angry at the other me. I just didn't want to lose Bobby by taking sides with Daniel.

Daniel and Krista used to be inseparable. Now that they're older, they've drifted apart—but when an accident leaves Daniel temporarily paralyzed, he needs his old friend more than ever. And Krista wants to help him. Only it's not as easy as it seems, not when Krista's feelings for another boy, Bobby, keep getting in the way. And it doesn't help that Daniel and Bobby were both star swimmers—before Daniel's accident, that is. Growing up is hard on everyone, but it's up to Krista to prove how strong friendship can be.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:37 -0400)

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In the midst of the usual teenaged angst over romantic relationships and figuring out their place in the world, childhood friends Kristin and Daniel reconnect when, in the sixth grade, Daniel is temporarily paralyzed.

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