For a teenage book jumper, reading is never without risk.
Amy Lennox doesn't quite know what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of the Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at the Lennox House--but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: Someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with her fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts--at whatever cost.
One of the unique things about this novel is that--unlike most books I read--it's set in Europe. Germany and Scotland, to be exact. I was able to find out The Book Jumper was originally written in German, and is Mechthild Gläser's first novel to be translated into English. I will admit, I am partial to books set in Europe--one, because it is gorgeous in Europe. And two--I have family members that live in Europe. (Armstrong is actually a Scottish surname. Unfortunately having a Scottish last name does not give me a Scottish accent--no matter how much I wish it did ;P)
I will admit--even though I was super excited to read about all of this European goodness--it took me about twenty-ish pages to really start to get into this book. It was good--don't get me wrong--just a tad bit slow out of the chutes. (That's totally a saying--right?)
The Book Jumper opens up with Amy and her mother frantically packing to leave home. After a so-called-friend leaks an embarrassing picture of Amy onto the internet--Amy decides that she needs to take some time away from Germany. Despite Amy's mother, Alexis', reservations about taking Amy to the family house in Stormsay, Scotland, she relents after her boyfriend leaves her--resulting in both the Lennox girls being humiliated and ready for a change of scenery.
Coming from poor beginnings it's a shock for Amy to discover the fact that her grandmother appears to be more than wealthy. Lady Mairead even has her own butlers and swimming pool-sized bathtubs. But that's not even the best part--Amy learns that she belongs to one of two family clans who have the power to travel inside books, hence the title, The Book Jumper. She's even placed in a class with two other book jumpers, Betsy and Will, to try and hone her talents.
Betsy . . . *sigh* I do not like Betsy. While she is a talented Reader/book jumper, she is anything but humble about the fact, which makes this quality more irritating than endearing. She also has a tendency to make not-so-nice comments towards Amy, about her skills as a newbie Reader. That being said, Betsy has devoted nearly her entire life towards keeping the literary world safe, and would do whatever she had to in order to keep it safe.
While I did not particularly care for Betsy--Will managed to win me over almost immediately in the preface, when he stated that his best friend was Sherlock Holmes. (I am a huge BBC Sherlock fan.) This story is actually told in dual perspective--while Amy's POV compensates for a majority of the book, about one quarter of the story is told through Will's eyes, in third person limited. Will battles grief and guilt and a whole slew of other hard-to-manage emotions throughout the book, but he doesn't let his demons control him, (too much) which is one of the things that I admire most about Will. He always means well for Amy--even if it doesn't always seem that way--and would never intentionally try to hurt her.
Amy is intelligent, confident, and almost always clumsy (due to her long limbs and questionable coordination), which has earned her the nickname "little giraffe" from her mother, who kind of doubles as a best friend for Amy. Alexis has asked Amy to call her by her first name, instead of "mom" for as long as Amy can remember, which--I think--helps break down the "mother-daughter" barrier, turning their relationship into more of a close friendship. And just like Betsy, Amy soon grows devoted to keeping her issued corner of the Bookiverse (I doubt that's a real word . . .) safe.
This book is perfect for anyone who likes a little Real-World-Fictional-World melding, and mind-boggling/heartbreaking (in a good way. Ish) plot twists.
You can find Mechthild Gläser's website HERE and you can read a free excerpt of The Book Jumper HERE
(Blame Google translate if that doesn't say "Happy Reading" in German.)