As you can see, I’ve been on quite an audiobook kick lately.
In The Jump by Brittney Morris, four teens are facing massive changes in their lives. A refinery is moving into town, which will not only force the local community garden to close, it will cause their families to have to lose their jobs or homes. But Jax, Yas, Spider, and Han are determined not to let it happen. So when the mysterious vigilante social justice group called the Order announces a citywide scavenger hunt, these four are determined to win. The Order has promised that the prize is power, and that’s just what they could use right now. However, the farther they get into the game, the more they start to wonder if they’re cut out for this as a team, and if there’s something else at play here than just decoding clues.
I’ve read Brittney Morris’ other novels, and was so excited to read her new one! And the audiobook is excellent. The four narrators do a stellar job, and I had a great time listening to them. I did have to speed it up slightly, but then again, I usually do that, so it’s not an exceptional case in that regard. Definitely worth a listen, though, if you do audio.
Narrators aside, the characters are also excellent. They all have such distinct narration and personalities, and I loved seeing their interactions and development over time. Morris is great at making flawed characters still so very sympathetic and complex, and this was a wonderful main cast. The supporting characters are great too, especially Jax’s parents and Yas’ father. I also enjoyed watching the rivalry between them and their main opponents in the scavenger hunt; I thought that was well done.
The scavenger hunt itself is also so cool. I don’t know much about cryptology, but luckily, you don’t have to know anything to understand what’s going on. And it was so fascinating to see the puzzles they had to solve, and seeing what logic or acrobatic routes they had to take to get to the next clue. I love that each of our four protagonists has a different skill set. The action was great, too, and a lot of the plot is pretty exciting.
There are also strong themes present too. The concepts of gentrification, powerful corporations being harmful to small businesses or poor communities, the danger of police for people of color, and the inherent risks that come with fighting for change are all explored here, and explored so, so well. These real life issues make the fictional scavenger hunt feel all the more grounded, the stakes all the more real. But even in the stressful moments, it’s clear that community, friendship, and teamwork are the cornerstone of making a difference. And in the end, though things are often bleak throughout this story, we still end with hope.
In the end, The Jump is a heart-pounding and delightful novel. It’s full of action, clever puzzles, and insightful social commentary. The characters are fantastic, a diverse and lovable cast. The twists and turns of the story are thrilling and genuinely surprising. I had a ton of fun with this one! It’s not without its more serious moments, but there’s also great moments of humor and heart. I can’t wait to read Morris’ next novel in the future!