Puddle Jumping by Amber L. JohnsonPuddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson
Series: Puddle Jumping #1
Published by Self Pub on June 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mental health
Pages: 127

When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional.

Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special.

Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating.

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out.

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls.

Their friendship grows into love, even as Colton does not express it in words. But one decision threatens to break down the world that Lilly has tried so hard to integrate into and she must figure out if the relationship can survive if they are apart.

4 Stars

I think sometimes we’re presented with the truth but we don’t want to believe it. We see things the way we want to see them. Sometimes, we choose to live in denial.

Puddle Jumping took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I certainly didn’t think I would love it as much as I did.

Puddle Jumping is such an underhyped novel. Considering how much people love books such as Everything, Everything (which in my opinion is far from as good as Puddle Jumping) I find it surprising that not many have picked up this one. Maybe it’s because it is self-published. Having said that, I genuinely believe so many people would enjoy this novel if they were just exposed to it. It isn’t a perfect book, of course, but it attempts do something and the way I see it, it full-heartedly achieves that goal. In the prologue, Lily makes us a promise and the story delivers it.

Basically, this is a 130-page book told from the point of view of a girl writing about her experiences falling in love with a boy who has Asperger syndrome. That’s it. There is nothing more, and yet, there is so much more.

The book’s length worried me; I wasn’t sure if Amber L. Johnson would really be able to deliver a fully fleshed out story with character development in such a small amount of space. Fortunately, I was proven wrong. It might not be a long novel but it doesn’t have to be. It expresses everything that has to be expressed and leaves you completely satisfied. The way the story is told seems effortless and you will find yourself flying through the pages and reading it in a single sitting.

I loved the characters, all of them. Lilly was very real and relatable, but what I loved most was that she told the story from a close future, meaning we heard the voice of someone who had already matured a great deal and was probably wise beyond her years. This way, I never got frustrated or annoyed when she did something silly, instead, I fully appreciated said silliness because it’s just part of being a teenager (or a human being, for that matter). The loyalty and open-mindedness she shows throughout the novella was wonderful and all I wanted was for her to get the happy ending she deserved.

Maybe if we stopped trying to achieve movie standards of greatness, we’d be happy with what we have.

Colton was great. The author managed to make him realistic (though I will admit that I don’t know anybody with Asperger’s personally and can thus not fully give a testament to the realism) and lovable. His passion for art and total honesty made him alive and I could understand why Lilly felt the way she did.

I think what I loved most about the story though, was the lack of drama. Amber L. Johnson took one issue – Asperger syndrome – and focused on that instead of adding in hundreds of other issues and dramatic events to make the book more interesting (as so many contemporary authors seem to do nowadays). This resulted in a novella that was very respectful in every regard and made me completely comfortable reading it.

Also, there is no slut-shaming, the female friendship in this novel was great and actually important and parents were supportive. This book proves how easy it can be to avoid my pet peeves if you just don’t try too hard to create unnecessary drama.

The writing flowed well though it wasn’t my favourite. Very conversational in tone and quite youthful but with some great quotes nevertheless.

Puddle Jumping is a heart-warming novella that will make you feel good about life. I recommend it to all lovers of YA contemporary; it’s such a quick read you will breeze through in a day with many things to appreciate.