Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

Inspired by the dramatic increase of girl-on-girl violence, Williams-Garcia has given us a day in high school leading up to a violent incident.  Dominique is already angry that her grades are keeping her off the basketball court, but when Trina pushes past her that is the last straw.  She knows that she can’t just take the disrespect, she has to react.  Trina is oblivious to the what happened with Dominique since she is rushing to hang her artwork in the gallery.  Trina is self-absorbed and very confident knowing that everyone in the school likes her. Leticia witnesses the event and knows that Dominique is angry and has threatened revenge.  But what if she didn’t see what she thought she did?  Is it worth getting involved?

In rotating chapters, the reader gets to see the school day from each girl’s point of view.  Each girl has her own unique voice, way of speaking and way of approaching the world of school.  Williams-Garcia excels at making internal dialogue gripping and at the same time revealing.  She has also created characters that will get readers thinking.  All of the girls are complicated and so the fight is complicated as well.  This is not a stark world where there is good and evil, but a real place where all of us are a mix of the two.  It is a treat to read a book where the author is not afraid of making the victim vain and the instigator a sympathetic character.

This book is ripe for discussion.  Recommended for both school and public libraries.  Appropriate for ages 14-16.