Thursday, July 24, 2014

Puddle Jumping written by Amber S. Johnson (126 pgs) – finished 7/21/14 – 4 stars - YOUNG ADULT

Such a beautiful story. Poignant. Surreal. With such heart and soul. The words are magical. The thoughts are mystical. And, the artistry behind the story was just so mesmerizing. This is my second read by Amber L. Johnson, and it won't be my last. She writes a book that focuses on two main characters that meet again after a few years apart. Two individuals neither forgetting the other, but going about their own lives. Lilly was a funny girl. Humorously accident-prone. A loyal and caring friend. And, Colton, well he's different. Special. Extraordinary in his way. And, when Lilly bumps into Colton at the start of their senior year in high school, she can't help but be smitten with him. He's older, more attractive, and she just wants to get to know him better. Colton is evasive, showing little if any eye-contact. He doesn't really comprehend what she's getting at. All his reactions are literal. Taken word-for-word. And, Lilly knows that he's different. But, just what does that mean? As Lilly and Colton's friendship progresses into so much more, what hurdles must they overcome to have a chance together? And, will all the understanding and compassion in the world be enough?

I couldn't help but be swept away by the images that Ms. Johnson painted with her remarkable depiction of a teenager living with Asperger's Syndrome. It seemed truly honest. Heartfelt and kind. And, undeniably real. She did a beautiful job portraying not just the individual living with the diagnosis, but also her portrayal of an outsider trying to understand the disability was believeable.

So I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone that being with my boyfriend had made me see things in a new light. I never would have known the type of person that I could be without having met him. If I had it in me to make a difference in one person’s life, why not others? Maybe one day I’d teach my own PEERS class and some cute boy would lean against the wall in a hallway and tell the girl that loves him, ‘Whatever’ ~ Amber (Chap. 11)

It's not easy for a peer  who has no experience with this condition to jump right in and be friends with the person. It's a delicate matter. It takes patience and sensitivity to their situation. And, Lilly showed that over and over again towards Colton. It brought tears to my eyes. This is a relatively short book, so I was finished by the end of the day. But, I was also just so engrossed in Lilly and Colton's beautiful love story that I couldn't put it down. Not a book to be missed!!

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as conventional love. Love is bending. Love is breaking. Love is constantly learning about the other person until you go crazy because it will never be perfect, but there’s no fault in trying. ~ Amber (Chap. 17)

And, oh my, such a gorgeous cover that just fits perfectly!


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