The Jump / Brittney Morris / Book Review

The Order is offering power. Power is exactly what Team Jericho needs.

Team Jericho is a cut above the rest of their competition. How could they not be, with an elite crew like theirs? Perpetually in first on their cryptology forum, the challenges are fun but not, exactly, challenging. Until a new force enters the chat with a cryptic new puzzle--and a cryptic new prize as well. With "power" on the line, whatever that might mean, how can Yas, Han, Jax, and Spider say no? Especially with an oil refinery knocking on their doors (metaphorically, anyway), threatening to upend their lives and their neighborhoods as they know it. These kids are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their community intact. And if a series of complex puzzles will lead them to victory, so be it. 


This book is fun. I loved the diverse friend group all coming together under a common cause--one of my favorite heist-thriller tropes. I just wish the puzzles had been better. The puzzles should be the meat here, and they really aren't. Which is disappointing. 


  • Ultimatum: You know what I liked about this book right off the bat? It's got a very Goonies feel to it. These kids might not live in a small town, but they're facing the same sort of oppressive force as that iconic kid gang: a company that wants to move in and take away their lives as they know it. They might be vastly different from each other, but they all have something to lose (and something to gain) in playing this game, solving this puzzle. And I like that uniting force behind it all. 
  • Ragtag Team: I also really enjoyed the diversity in their group, not just in racial and ethnic identity but also in skillset. They've got a parkour expert and a puzzler, a master of maps and a hacker. Of course they do: they're an expert cryptology team, after all. They're an incredibly diverse bunch in other ways as well, but not in a way that feels forced. They represent Seattle well, and it makes sense for this talented kids to come together with one united goal. It makes sense that they'd all be friends. 
  • Fun: Ultimately, what makes this book good? It's just a lot of fun. It definitely feels like its on the younger side of the YA spectrum, which isn't a problem at all. There need to be crossover books for those kids who love The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Westing Game but want a little something more. And that's what this is: puzzle-heavy, friendship-centered sticking it to the man. 


  • Nebulous Prize: These kids are all working toward a prize, and so that prize had better be good. But the prize here is pretty intangible to stake so much on it. The prize is "power." No further explanation given. Hey, maybe all the kids in Team Jericho would jump to the same conclusion. They're all friends. They're all on the same wavelength. That might make sense, them thinking alike--thinking that this "power" will be enough to stop an evil oil corp. But when their competitor team also thinks, pretty immediately, that "power" means the same thing, it just doesn't feel right. This isn't a tangible prize. It could mean a whole lot of things, and I just don't think it gives enough of a stake to the story. It feels too big, too nebulous. 
  • Internal Conflict: For such a strong and established friend group--they are already the respected Team Jericho at the beginning of the book, after all--it just felt off to me to have them immediately at each other's throats for no big reason. There's so much potential here for friend chemistry but ultimately none that comes through, and over all, I was just left wanting more from Team Jericho character-wise.
  • No Rising Tension: A thriller needs tension. A thriller with puzzles at the center needs escalating challenges (and escalating consequences). The tension should only ever be rising until the end, but... Here, I didn't really feel much tension at all. Which makes the story feel a little flat. And that was very disappointing. 



Fans of Jeanne Ryan's Nerve will like this new urban competition. Those who enjoyed Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé's Ace of Spades will enjoy this thriller with just the right touch of conspiracy.  


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date: March 7, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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