Children's, Family dynamics, Fiction, Mystery, Weeks-Sarah, Young Adult

#513 Jumping the Scratch by Sarah Weeks

Jumping the Scratch by Sarah WeeksJumping the Scratch by Sarah Weeks

Moving is hard on kids, but what is even harder on children is moving because your father left and your aunt was injured in a freak accident at a cherry factory.

Jaime had to move. His father left with the cashier from the local store. His aunt Sapphy was in a terrible accident at the cherry factory. Her short-term memory has been injured and she can remember everything before the accident, but forgets a lot after the accident. The doctor said her memory may come back with a trigger.

Jaime leaves the home he knew and moves to a trailer park, where his aunt lives. His mother gets a job at the cherry factory and Jaime is largely left alone for some time. He does help watch his aunt. Jaime doesn’t really like his school. He doesn’t want to ask questions. He doesn’t want to stick out in any way. He pretends to read on the bus on the way to and from school. He won’t walk near the office of the trailer park or on the driveway. He always walks through the weeds. A little girl named Audrey guesses that he’s scared of the office, Jaime doesn’t want to admit to her that he really is.

A meeting with an author at school gives Jaime a little faith in himself for telling stories. Jaime doesn’t start writing anything, but he gets ideas. With the help of Audrey, who as it turns out can actually hypnotize people, Jaime remembers the thing he wanted to forget. Jaime wants to forget a terrible thing that happened to him.

He remembers it all, but his aunt is there to help him and things aren’t so awful as they had seemed in the beginning.

What I liked

The content of this book is not nice content. It’s not necessarily something you would want your kids to read. This book is written for kids, but it has more adult content. It deals with issues that are more adult issues. It deals with some dark issues. Why do I like that this book deals with darker issues? I like that it deals with these things because children are not immune from the dark things of the world. We try to shield them from it, but we can’t keep them from everything.

Children can sense what’s going on around them. They’re not stupid. The children know something is wrong when the parents are on the verge of getting a divorce. The children know something is wrong when people talk in hushed whispers about Grandma. Jaime sensed that things in his mother’s life were tough and he didn’t want to burden her with the things that had happened to him. He wanted to keep them secret. He wanted to forget. Eventually the story does come to light and Jaime finds that it probably should have come to light in the first place, but he felt his problems would have been too much.

Sometimes kids have problems, big problems, and they hide them from the adults because they think the adults are too busy already, or their problems are significant enough to matter or maybe they’re waiting for someone to reach out and help them. I think kids need books like these. These books show children that bad things can happen to them and it’s ok to ask for help. These kind of books show children that it’s also not their fault that these bad things happen to them.

What I didn’t like

Jaime’s story is just awful. His cat dies; his parents split up; his aunt gets injured; something terrible happens to him. This poor kid. We as adults have more of an ability to deal with these things. The things would still be tough. Divorce is never easy. Nobody wants the cat to die. Having a family member get severely injured is awful for the entire family. Dealing with something like Jaime dealt with would be a blow to us and we would need lots of help. With all of that said, we would deal with it better than a child. While it is true that children seem more resilient and can bounce back better after some events, we’re the ones with more experience and a tougher skin. Sure, bad crap happens. We cry about it for a while, but then we get off our butts and go about as much of a normal life as is possible. All these terrible things are new to a child. They haven’t developed that tough outer rind that we have.

I have never understood, and probably never will, why people see fit to do some of the things they do to children, or other people for that matter. They’re a person; how could someone treat them in such a manner? How could someone do this to this person? How? Why?

I may be an exception, but I don’t think it’s cool to go around doing terrible things to people. You know that thing…that thing called “The Golden Rule”? Yeah, that…treat others as you want to be treated. If you don’t want someone to do terrible things to you, don’t do terrible things to anybody else. Capisce?

I feel for Jaime, that poor kid.


Sarah Weeks has a knack for writing books that you don’t want to put down.

Weigh in

Do you imagine that Jaime will take up writing to categorize his life? Why or why not?

Are you of the belief that hypnotism can help a person?


The dialog used in this book to hypnotize Jaime is an actual hypnotism script. With practice, you could probably use it to hypnotize somebody.


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