“Be the change.” People say it all the time. But what does it really mean? That’s what teens Jax, Yas, Han, and Spider - the members of Team Jericho - inadvertently start to find out when they start playing a game organized by the illustrious group The Order in Brittney Morris’ newest novel.
Team Jericho is the best. With four members who each have a specific skill set, they are a well-oiled machine that solve puzzles better than any other out there. When The Order, a vigilante group who stands up for the little guy, posts a new game in their forum promising power as a reward, Team Jericho (led by a determined Jax) jumps into it with gusto. This is the chance they’ve been looking for to try to stop the oil refinery that is proposed to be built in their community, thereby taking away something from each of them and their families.
I cannot pinpoint exactly what it was (and this will probably sound disingenuous but I don’t care), but I absolutely fell in love with this book within the first page or two. The story opens with Jax and his family and Brittney provided such a clear, concise picture of who each person was and their relationships with each other. She was able to do this with each new character that was introduced and it really made the story come to life. I wasn’t just an outsider looking in, but someone that was really a part of the lives of these people and I loved it.
The creativity of each puzzle the players had to solve was amazing. I would sit there trying to see if I could solve it before the players, but it has never been clearer how not clever I am (and in a way that didn’t make me feel bad about myself). Also, Pokemon Go is definitely not dead and I'm glad it is acknowledged in print.
And the representation! It was such a diverse cast of characters, from people of color to members of the alphabet mafia to even some neurodivergence. And the way that each character understood enough about the others (even though they could never understand completely) warmed my heart. From anxiety over a Black friend being incarcerated to a hand hovering in comfort rather than a hug for a neurodivergent friend, every of these little interactions we don’t even think about mean so much. The care and kindness that Brittney treated these characters is the same care and kindness we should strive to put out into the world.
I don’t know if it was just me, but the twist near the climax of the book took me by surprise (and yet also didn’t at the same time considering my understanding of the world). The way that these teens came together when they needed to most, even after having been antagonistic toward someone or in a fight with someone else, pulled at my heartstrings and gave me hope for the future of our world (even if I was reading about a fictional world).
I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down until I was finished about five hours later. Brittney is a master of her craft and I cannot wait to read her other books and whatever else is to come from her.
The Jump by Brittney Morris is available for purchase now. You can pick up a copy from my Bookshop affiliate link here or from my local indie, Linden Tree Books, here (without whom this review would not be possible).
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! Or support a local indie directly by ordering from my local indie, Linden Tree Books, also linked above!