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Jumper    by Steven Gould Amazon.com order for
Jumper
by Steven Gould
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (1992)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Seventeen-year-old David Rice jumps for the first time to escape a vicious beating from his abusive, drunken father. He runs away from home, gradually working out that he didn't black out - and isn't delusional - but rather has the ability to teleport to any location that he holds in his memory.

After traveling to New York, where he's unable to find work due to his lack of official documents, Davy robs a bank to fund a better lifestyle. He has a couple of relationships with young women, and falls in love with Millie, even though she was only a tourist in New York and lives in Oklahoma. But that's no problem to a teleport, whose only challenge is to keep his secret from the woman he loves and everyone else around him. Steven Gould does an excellent job of desrcibing the mechanics of jumping and develops credible ways for Davy to disappear without alerting all and sundry.

Then Davy rescues an abused neighbor from her husband, and the latter takes his revenge, getting the meddler in trouble with the law. Millie is furious to learn that Davy lied to her, but they work it out. After Davy meets his mother again, tragedy strikes, and he sets out on an obsessive quest for vengeance and to prevent anything similar happening to others. In the process, he inadvertently outs his talent to the US authorities in the form of the NSA, who come after him and anyone close to him.

Davy Rice eventually sorts out an uneasy truce - setting things up for the sequel - by using his ingenuity and zipping around the world a lot. Jumper is a most unusual, very well done coming of age story, whose young hero comes to terms with both his talents and his demons, helped by the love of his life. Don't miss this one, its sequel Reflex, or a tie-in tale, Griffin's Story, for the movie.

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