Stepping Off (Hardcover)

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— From Jordan Sonnenblick


Jesse Dienstag's favorite sweatshirt says, "The real world isn't real." That's the slogan of the vacation-home community in Pennsylvania where his family has always spent every vacation and weekend for as long as he can remember. In the summer of 2019, as Jesse is about to enter his junior year of high school in New York City, he desperately wants to believe the slogan is true. For one thing, the two girls he loves -- equally and desperately -- are in Pennsylvania, and all the stresses and pressures of his daily life and school are in New York.

But when his parents stop talking to each other, it gets harder and harder for Jesse to maintain his dream life in Pennsylvania. And when Covid shuts New York City down in March 2020 just days after Jesse’s mother leaves his father, Jesse's worlds collide.

About the Author

Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, After Ever After, Notes from the Midnight Driver, Zen and the Art of Faking It, Falling Over Sideways, and The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.

Praise For…

Praise for The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell:

"Sonnenblick's trademark blend of wit and sensitivity mines even the darker elements for humor and imbues this memoir with a sense of hope and optimism." -- The Horn Book

"A solid purchase for upper elementary school and middle school collections." -- School Library Journal

"The pursuit of self-preservation of a fourth-grade boy is perfectly portrayed, and Jordan emerges victorious with his year ending on a most satisfying and hopeful note." -- Association of Jewish Libraries

Praise for The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade:

* "A rewarding novel, lit with flashes of irrepressible humor." -- Booklist, starred review

"Sonnenblick creates in Maverick an endearing protagonist to root for. Despite daunting obstacles, this terrific boy retains a strong sense of self, a sense of humor, and a big heart that impels him to do what's right." -- Kirkus Reviews

"[A] winning formula... a child in crisis, lots of humorous situations and one-liners, and moments of genuine warmth and emotion." -- The Horn Book

Praise for Falling Over Sideways:

* "Sonnenblick has a knack for smart, droll, first-person narration... The book's beginning sounds so much like other, sunnier novels that readers, like Claire, will feel a jolt when the first crisis comes. But they'll stay with her every step of the way." -- Booklist, starred review

* "With humor, grace, and an ear for middle school nuance, Sonnenblick navigates the tricky waters of eighth grade and manages to convey the heartbreak of a major tragedy alongside the more mundane, but no less horrifying, problems... Authentic, funny, dramatic, fantastic." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "It's a powerful and profound look at a family coping with unexpected change." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Praise for Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie:

"A brave book... Jordan Sonnenblick carries it off with such charm and elan, you forget for a moment your heart is breaking." -- Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes

* "Sonnenblick shows that even in the midst of tragedy, life goes on, love can flower, and the one thing you can always change is yourself." -- Booklist, starred review

"The reader falls in love with the brothers, laughing and crying by turns and rooting for both of them until it almost hurts." -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for After Ever After:

* "As hilarious as it is tragic, and as honest as it is hopeful, don't confuse this book with inspirational reading. It's irresistible reading." -- Booklist, starred review

* "Sonnenblick's intimate first-person tale of survival is a solid stand-alone novel that will leave an emotional, uplifting imprint on readers." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Told with Sonnenblick's trademark self-deprecating humor, this stand-alone tween narrative slots neatly into the space between the author's YA and J titles, sensitively dealing with issues of family, friendship and death in a way that will appeal to middle-grade students. Recommended for fans and new readers alike." -- Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9781339023175
ISBN-10: 1339023172
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English