Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Release Day Review: Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

Living with Jackie Chan
Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles
After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive.
This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in Jumping Off Swings which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In this companion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.


Publishes in US: September 10th 2013 by Candlewick Press
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Candlewick via Netgalley
Series? No, but a companion novel to Jumping Off Swings
Jumping Off Swings

Buy it: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  IndieBound  Book Depository

Find Jo online:
Jo Knowles - Official Site
Jo Knowles - Blog
Jo Knowles - Twitter

    I don't really remember much about Jumping off of Swings besides I liked it, and was a little nervous because of that going into this one since it is a companion novel. But I worried for nothing because I connected with Josh and though I didn't remember small details, we get the big picture from being in his head. 
   I really enjoyed Uncle Larry, he is happy, perky, supportive and a little strange, quirky, but still awesome. He really cares for others especially Josh, and I got really confused because he called him Sam all the time because of a childhood joke, but it became natural before too long and got used to it especially since his friend Stella picks up on it. I really appreciated extended family and the close and supportive relationship in this one. Although Josh's relationship with his parents is strained, I appreciate the efforts on both sides, and even acknowledging that things were rough for a while and nothing will be fixed over night. 
    The other secondary characters especially Stella bring so much to the story. She has a heap of her own issues with a possessive boyfriend. And as she becomes close with Josh, their friendship has to remain on the down low. But I enjoyed the easy nature and banter between them and the conversations that make them closer. Although I am in no way a fan of cheating, I so wanted them to be together because they are so good for each other. 
    Karate also plays a big role in this one and I was surprised how well it was tied in and made nature. As a fellow martial artist (well, at least I was before I had kids) I totally connected to those parts and understood how he liked to be a part of the group all doing the same thing at the same time and the power that can draw. 

Bottom Line: Quick but emotional journey to forgiving yourself and finding acceptance with others.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever or do you do marital arts?
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  1. I think I saw this book on few WoW posts.:) Oh, I'm am so not into sports of any kind. But I'll still read this.:)
    Great review, Brandi.

  2. I am glad you liked this,I have been having success with companion novels and am glad this one worked!

  3. This one sounds interesting. I don't know if I've even read a companion novel before.

    I took karate for a few months when I was 11. I got my yellow belt. So did the 4 year-old beside me in the exam.

  4. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this! I love Jo's writing, and somehow this book slipped beneath my radar. I love that you appreciated the karate aspects as a martial artist yourself. I've never tried them (mostly because I'm completely uncoordinated), though I've always wanted to take a class. I'm just sure I'd be the absolute worst student in any class, so I've avoided it. :-) Great review!

  5. I have never heard of this book or the other one but it sounds like a really interesting read. I'm glad you liked it. :)

  6. I am so not a martial kind of gal

  7. one of my best friends did tae kwon do for years, but I've never had any martial arts experience.

    sounds like a good one! I didn't know it was a companion.

  8. The things I learn about you through reviews and comments! A former sub now a martial artist! Brandy, you blow my mind! Please tell me you're a terrific baker too?

  9. I love a good story with great secondary characters--they add so much. Glad you liked it overall:)

  10. Sounds like a great story. Plus I love the kitty on the cover (I know that wasn't the point, but I like it). It looks like something I would enjoy. I haven't done martial arts, but would love to learn.

  11. I remember hearing of this but I hadn't read any reviews yet. I also wasn't aware it was a companion novel so I'll have to go check out the first one!

  12. I'm so intrigued by the premise of this book! You don't see a lot of books about the teen fathers

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  13. Didn't know much about this one, sounds good though. Great review.

  14. Gosh,I remember the highs of jumping out of a swing. Great memories. I love companion novels. This would be one I would like to check out.

  15. I love the sound of the quirky character. I always really enjoy them. The banter as well is something I love! Great review :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  16. I've always wanted to learn some form of martial art or at least take a self defense class. I'm thrilled to hear you did, Brandi! It seems like a fun way to stay in shape, too! This sounds like a sweet story and I'm glad the romance worked in spite of the cheating issue. Wonderful review! :)

  17. Both books sound great! I'm wondering about what he had to forgive himself for in the previous book.

    And no, this body was not made for martial arts!

  18. Hmm, never read a book with karate in it before. This does sound good, even for a companion novel. I would be interested to see you review the other book.

  19. hmm I don't remember seeing the first one on your blog. It's great that you weren't too lost for the story, it's sometimes difficult...

  20. I haven't heard of these books but I like the sound of them-just good contemporaries that focus on characters and their problems instead of high concepts like in dystopias for example.


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