She comes when the others are out, announced by Sanjay’s Bollywood door chime; tinny and overwrought, its siren song ricochets along the ceiling and through his muscles as Joe takes the five long strides of the corridor. He was looking at YouTube clips and as he moves towards the door his fists clench and unclench, fingers unfurl, furl, in a subliminal sequence.
Last days of autumn and the air is like blood: it is hard to sense wehre the body ends and the atmosphere begins. He was not expecting anyone but here she is.
Joe lives in a house with friends, works two jobs and exists, guilt-ridden by an event in his past. He also practises parkour, which can be defined by three actions: running; climbing; and jumping. Then a girl knocks on the door, wanting to rent the vacant space for a short time.
Elise lives elsewhere in Melbourne. She knows her marriage is dying but is unable to do anything but watch. She spends way too much time at the zoo, watching and drawing tigers. Leap follows both Joe and Elise as they try to move on with their lives after tragedy. ‘Leap’, like parkour, is divided into three sections: Running; Leaping; and Jumping.
A tiger wraps around the cover in this novel about loss and love. Both main characters are crippled by their grief, holding tight to their loss. Leap is the story of their attempts to live on, the links between them, the differences on how they view the past, the future. It’s a story of family and friends and support and independence. The tiger is both a real presence and a metaphor for the grief experienced by both characters. ‘Leap’ is a beautifully written novel that will keep the reader turning pages, hoping that there is relief, release, redemption, hope for everyone. Recommended for readers who enjoy realistic fiction with heart.
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller