I usually hate admitting when something makes me feel this stupid, but I just have to share this crazy story with y’all. I got about half way through Living With Jackie Chan and actually got into a conversation with a friend about how much I love Jo Knowles’ books before I realized this was a companion book to Jumping Off Swings! Seriously… I was telling her about how Jumping Off Swings affected me so much that I literally could not put the book down before I finished it, woke my husband up with my crying, and then had to go in and cuddle with my sleeping son [at 2am] before I could calm down enough to sleep. (I was pregnant for my daughter at the time, so I guess you can blame some of it on the hormones too!) When I started to describe this story, I stopped talking mid-sentence and said, “OH MY GOD! Josh is the guy from the first book!” Yeah… I’m quick like that! Maybe it wasn’t mentioned in the book review I read when I ordered this book? And, I know I didn’t read the book flap before starting to read the book when I picked it up off the shelf… But, still, I loved Jumping Off Swings so much that it’s hard to believe I forgot the character names and also didn’t put two and two together when I first started this story. /sigh
Living With Jackie Chan is a continuation of Josh’s story. After getting Ellie pregnant, he feels like a horrible person and finds it difficult to move on with his life. His Uncle Larry agrees to let Josh live with him while he finishes high school. And, while starting over in a new city with a “clean slate” seems like a good idea, Josh finds it impossible to embrace this fresh start. Even if no one at the new school knows what happened last year, HE knows what he did and can’t manage to forgive himself. Fortunately, Uncle Larry convinces Josh to help out with his karate classes at the local YMCA — which provides Josh with a positive new focus and a chance to make a new friend, Stella.