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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 10:53 am | Fair 60º


Jumping to Conclusions

A teenager comes to terms with his life and family in Mary Hershey's latest book, "The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California."


In her first novel, My Big Sister is So Bossy She Says You Can’t Read This Book, Santa Barbara children’s author Mary Hershey  gave us a smart, likeable elementary school girl with sibling rivalry issues. In The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California, she gives us an older, rougher survivor.

It’s hard to believe that Alastair Hudson is only 13 years old. He’s survived losing his leg after he jumped from a ski lift. He’s lived through the disintegration of his family. He’s struggled to help his mother cope with alcoholism. But Alastair is no saint. In fact, he’s one angry young teen. And when his mother sends him to live with his father for the summer so she can undergo much-needed rehabilitation, Alastair becomes even angrier.

When Alastair lands in Lumina Beach, a city reminiscent of Santa Barbara, he’s determined to make himself and everyone around him miserable. He wants to punish his father for deserting him and goes out of his way to be a typical surly teen. But, in spite of himself, Alastair begins to like his father’s second wife, and her niece, a teenage soap star named Jesse. When Jesse invites him to be on the soap opera’s team in a charity race, Alastair accepts, even though he is horribly out of shape.

The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands In California

ISBN: 1595141507
Penguin Group (USA)
Hardcover, 288 pages
March 2007


With the help of a grouchy retired coach, Alastair whips himself into physical shape even as his relationship with his father continues to unravel. When all that bottled anger becomes too much to handle, Alastair jumps again. The physical consequences are less painful, but the jump allows long buried memories to resurface. As Alastair comes to terms with what caused his first jump, he is able at last to put the past behind him and begin a new phase in his relationship with his father.

The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California is great for readers 13 and older.

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