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Bounce by Natasha Friend
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Evyn's work is turned upside-down when her father announces that he has decided to get married and Evyn, her brother, and he will be moving to Boston to live with his new wife and her six very young children. As hard as being a teenager is, Evyn is now faced with the task of integrating into a new school, finding new friends, living with too many people, and getting to know her new "family." Things get worse when her dad and Eleni announce that another baby is on the way. Although Evyn is incredibly unhappy her father just doesn't seem to understand, nor does he seem to be the same person he used to be.

Although the story itself could have been good and the right themes were there, I was so annoyed with the parents that I *almost* hated this book. What parent doesn't understand that uprooting his children is difficult? What parent doesn't understand that making out in front of your teenage daughter (who has only known you to be single her whole life) will upset and disgust her? What parent decides that the way to adjust to having little or no private space is to have another child? Ugh. ( )
  agrudzien | Aug 25, 2012 |
This is a must read for anyone who has had divorced parents and has step siblings. Evyn is a thirteen year old who is moved from Maine to Boston when her father marries Eldi. She attends an all girls school where she doesn't know how to fit in and is contanstly being isolated. You feel for Evyn throughout her narrative and want her to be strong, she is raw and real and deals with situations any middle schooler can empathize with. ( )
  smheatherly2 | Jun 27, 2012 |
A great coming-of-age story that any girl can relate to. ( )
  deforestRMS | Apr 23, 2012 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 7-10

Plot Summary: Evyn is not happy with her dad. He announced that he's marrying the woman he's been dating for two months, and he's moving the family to Boston, to her house with her six kids. It's a big change and Evyn's not happy about it, but it's even more difficult when everyone around her seems to be changing too. No longer can she talk to her dad about everything because she doesn't want to ruin his happiness. Her brother won't talk to her but somehow got the lead in the school musical. Her best friend isn't being supportive and blows off Evyn to hang out with people she used to hate. Her dog that she never really liked before is stuck outside in the backyard, then he dies. She wants everything to go back to normal. She wants friends, but the only people who have noticed her at school are the popular girls, and only because they want insider information on her step-brother. What will be the breaking point for Evyn? When does change become too much change?

Setting: Maine to brownstone in Boston

Characters:
Evyn Linney - 13 y/o,
Birdie Linney - AkA Bert, AKA Albert, AKA Al, carpenter, concerned about money and tries to save everywhere he can until they move in with the Gartos', giddy with happiness, not a very good cook, has a good relationship with his daughter until they move, they used to talk about everything including periods and bras, asks Evyn if she's ok and is concerned and nice but isn't persistent and what Evyn needs
Mackey Linney - 15 y/o, Evyn's older brother, nicknamed pizza face because of his zits, big gamer, doesn't talk much and just grunts, doesn't talk to Evyn even though she tries often, takes Thalia's advice and tries out for the musical not expecting to make it but gets the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Tech. Dreamcoat
Eleni Gartos - 42 y/o, PhD in art history, Greek, has 6 kids, always smiling, looks like "Betty Boop," good chef and makes delicious food all of the time, seems like a good mom but just isn't what Evyn wants
Sarah Elizabeth Linney - AKA Stella, Evyn's mom who died in a car crash when Evyn was 1, Evyn's "talks" to her mom through her thoughts
Jules Anthony - Evyn's best friend from Maine, not very supportive when Evyn calls, seems to have her own life going on and has no problem just talking about her life
Cassandra & Clio - 15 y/o twins, share room with Evyn, constantly bicker about everything and drive Evyn nuts, hard to tell apart
Thalia - oldest girl in family, in high school, in charge when their parents go on honeymoon, acts like mom while she's in charge with her advice
Phoebe - 6 y/o, typical for her age
Ajax - 13 y/o, star player on 8th grade soccer team, always nice but has one nice moment when he reaches out to Evyn to talk after he realized Mackey wasn't talking
Linus - 19 y/o, in college studying poli-sci, has curly hair, reaches out to Evyn and asks her to dance at their parents wedding
Chelsea Ableson - Andrea's minion, sits right next to Evyn
Jaime - Andrea's minion, sits right next to Evyn
Andrea - pronounced An-DRAY-ah, leader of the mean girls, only interested in Evyn to get insider information on Ajax, very angry when she finds out Evyn lied and Ajax doesn't like her, uses her minions to superficially get back at her
Clara Bing - AKA CB, part of the Four-Foot-Two-Crew, first person to be nice to Evyn, her invitation is refused the first time
Maya Glassman - the girl that Ajax invites to dance at the social and makes Andrea really mad, on soccer team and pretty
Jordan Meyerhoff - guy that Jules is kinda dating even though he wasn't nice to her a few years earlier
Clam Moon-Muffin Linney - part bulldog part pug, old, lived outside in Boston in a dog house made by Birdie because one of the kids is allergic to dogs
Travis P - goes to the boys school across the street and when his Latin teacher had a problem he got transferred to Evyn's class across the street so it was just the two of them, knows she is Ajax's brother but she thinks Andrea set her up and makes a fool of herself when she first sees him, has a crush on her
Kate, Pia, Grier, Ally - part of the Four-Foot-Two-Crew
Jessie Kapler - mean girl that Jules becomes friends with until Jessie makes out with Jordan
Diane - Andrea's mom, at same table as Evyn and Eleni at the Mother Daughter Tea, says mean things to Andrea throughout the event

Recurring Themes: popularity, moving, marriage, step family, crush, Latin, death of a parent, friendship, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Controversial Issues:
pg 12 "how to stuff a bra"
pg 14 belly button ring
pg 66 "not that she should be wearing white; it's obvious she's no virgin"
pg 69 "surrounded by a million cousins, all flinging their boobs around"
pg 73 "leaves for his honeymoon....but the other part--the bed part--is too disgusting to contemplate"
pg 88 "one of them has his hands down his pants at this very moment, making adjustments"
pg 90 pg 95 pg 120 pg 138 pg 141 pg 181 hell
pg 92 pg 107 pg 123 pg 168 crap
pg 94 "Did you hook up with anyone? Was there alcohol [at the social]?" (there wasn't this time but the twins reminisce their 8th grade dance that did have spiked punch)
pg 111 Evyn accidentally walks into the bathroom after school and finds her dad and step-mom showering together, she is so surprised she chokes on the grape she was eating and Eleni gave her the heimlich while she was naked
pg 130 Evyn goes with Linus to his dorm to get away from home and she meets his "friend" Pamela "after I have recovered from the size of her boobs"
pg 131 there is a neon Budweiser sign in Linus' dorm room and when Evyn wakes up it smells like cigarettes
pg 162 "the time Randy Garvin called her a slut"

Personal Thoughts: From what I had heard about this author, I thought she would appeal to the popular girls in junior high, but this particular book seemed to say something about popularity without it being too obvious. I do enjoy these types of books but I didn't get as into this book as I have others. I think the writing and characters were good, just not "holy-cow-fantastic." It will be popular with girls who like realistic fiction. I was a little disturbed by Evyn crushing on her half-brother, but it wasn't taken too far.

Genre: realistic fiction, drama

Pacing: medium-slow (faster if you like this type of book like me)
Characters:
Frame:
Storyline:

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Jan 12, 2012 |
My Response - Bounce is the code Evyn has with her deceased mother to remind her to bounce back when life seems impossible. Evyn has to endure a tough year of relocation, blended families, and teen issues in a new school when her father remarries. Sort of a hip Brady-Bunch tale, the story is realistic and contemporary and Evyn is a very likable character.

Library Programming - Bounce might be featured in a summer book group or a book display of books for teen girls (chic lit). It would be fun to read several and then have the group discuss which of the books have more realistic themes, characters you would really want to hang out with, or a more accurate picture of how difficult high school and family life really can be.
  dingo207 | Jul 23, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439853532, Mass Market Paperback)

From the author of PERFECT and LUSH, another novel that tells it like it is.

The perils of dealing with a new stepfamily are illuminated with the same Blume-like heart and wit that Natasha Friend brought to PERFECT and LUSH.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:11 -0400)

Thirteen-year-old Evyn's world is turned upside-down when her father, widowed since she was a toddler, suddenly decides to remarry a woman with six children, move with Ev and her brother from Maine to Boston, and enroll her in private school.

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