Affecting. … [T]here’s something undeniably powerful about the stripped-down world that Jo Knowles has created.
—The New York Times Book Review
[A] delightful and moving follow-up to Jumping Off Swings… Knowles’ knack for developing relationships and creating authentic and memorable characters is truly superior, and the story positively brims with intelligence, sensitivity and humor. Readers will be behind Josh all the way.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
[A]n especially well-crafted sequel.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
As the emotional core of the book, Josh is a complex yet incredibly likable character with whom readers will empathize. … Divided into four parts, the compelling narrative offers an honest and frank look at teen pregnancy from the male’s perspective, and while the book could have been a depressing read in another author’s hands, Knowles succeeds in writing a character-driven story that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking
—School Library Journal (starred review)
With dexterous character and relationship drafting, Knowles pulls Josh’s parents through their own reactions to Josh’s mistakes to a fresh start, and Josh is credibly resentful in his initial understanding that his absence seems to be the catalyst for their healing. …. Real grace comes through Larry, however, whose goodness, couched as it is in genial goofiness, helps Josh move from silent but perpetual self-recrimination to ownership of his faults and forgiveness.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Knowles compassionately depicts the consequences of teen pregnancy from the boy’s perspective, and Josh’s journey — aided in no small part by the kind (and perky) wisdom of his uncle — is touching and honest. Josh’s anger, sadness, and regret are palpable, but his ultimate steps forward are quietly triumphant.
This is a story about forgiving yourself for mistakes made in the past and how those choices don’t have to define you. Readers of Knowles’ first novel will enjoy hearing things from Josh’s side, but you don’t have to read the first one to get attached to Josh as a character and have sympathy for him.
—Library Media Connection
Knowles is once again eloquent in her portrayal of real teens struggling to work through circumstance to better understand the liminal place between being a child and an adult. … Living with Jackie Chan meets that elusive goal of filling a hole in young adult literature without preaching while still appealing to fans and being a hopeful, gratifying read.