Jumper by Steven Gould

Jumper (and its sequel, Reflex) are light yet deeply engaging sci-fi novels about a young man who can, as you might know if you’ve seen the movie, teleport at will. The books are far better than the movie, just FYI. Mr. Gould doesn’t delve too deeply into the mechanics of teleportation itself; the novel uses Davy’s — the protagonist — ability as a catalyst for the plot and character development. It’s rather well-done, and the second book especially had me frantically tapping my Kindle screen to advance through the pages.

What It’s About

Davy Rice, angsty teen, knows that his father is abusive and that his mother is gone, vanished when he was young. The question he’s never thought to ask is if she left via teleportation, an ability he didn’t know he had until it manifests, and upends his life. His quest to find his missing mother, get the girl (obviously), and avoid government agents lands him in quite a bit of excitement and intrigue. If you’ve seen the movie: pretty much the only similarities are the characters and the teleporting ability. The plot and development are much better in the book.

The first book is as light-hearted as the movie is; deaths and violence and sex appear but usually only in passing. The story gets only slightly darker as Davy matures and gets involved in more serious stuff than teleporting to the local library and back.

The second book is a little more serious and graphic than the first, but nothing that a 13 year old can’t read.

The character development is engaging, in both books. Rather than being the focus of the series, the teleportation ability and its consequences let Mr. Gould really flesh out the characters and their reactions and growth.

Why I picked it

I tend to prefer the books to movie adaptations; when I found out it was actually based on a book I thought I’d give it a shot.

It drew me in quickly, and Reflex even more so. The second was better than the first.

Who I’d recommend it to

Anybody that’s into action/adventure, and young adult novels. It’s a great sci-fi story that’s light on the sci-fi, and takes place on Earth, so readers who aren’t used to or dislike complex worldbuilding will find it an easy read without having to remember a bunch of new concepts or characters.

Mystery readers might also like the sequel.

In general, the books are pretty light on the reader — nothing tiring or heavy — yet still gripping and a fun read.

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