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A moving and triumphant middle grade contemporary debut from award-winning author Matt Wallace about a heroic young girl—who dreams of becoming a pro wrestler—learning to find courage and fight for what she loves. MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two job A moving and triumphant middle grade contemporary debut from award-winning author Matt Wallace about a heroic young girl—who dreams of becoming a pro wrestler—learning to find courage and fight for what she loves. MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two jobs, and MJ doesn’t have friends at school to lean on. There is only one thing MJ loves: the world of professional wrestling. She especially idolizes the luchadores and the stories they tell in the ring. When a chance encounter with her neighbor Mr. Arellano reveals that he runs a wrestling school, MJ has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, become a wrestler. Once MJ starts training at Victory Academy, she feels like the hurts in her life are beginning to heal. But trouble lies ahead. After wrestling in a showcase event, MJ attracts the attention of Mr. Arellano’s enemy at the State Athletic Commission. There are threats to shut the school down, putting MJ’s new home—and the community that welcomed her—at risk. What can MJ do to save her new family?


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A moving and triumphant middle grade contemporary debut from award-winning author Matt Wallace about a heroic young girl—who dreams of becoming a pro wrestler—learning to find courage and fight for what she loves. MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two job A moving and triumphant middle grade contemporary debut from award-winning author Matt Wallace about a heroic young girl—who dreams of becoming a pro wrestler—learning to find courage and fight for what she loves. MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two jobs, and MJ doesn’t have friends at school to lean on. There is only one thing MJ loves: the world of professional wrestling. She especially idolizes the luchadores and the stories they tell in the ring. When a chance encounter with her neighbor Mr. Arellano reveals that he runs a wrestling school, MJ has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, become a wrestler. Once MJ starts training at Victory Academy, she feels like the hurts in her life are beginning to heal. But trouble lies ahead. After wrestling in a showcase event, MJ attracts the attention of Mr. Arellano’s enemy at the State Athletic Commission. There are threats to shut the school down, putting MJ’s new home—and the community that welcomed her—at risk. What can MJ do to save her new family?

30 review for Bump

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus MJ is having a hard time of it. Her father is no longer with the family, and because of this, she and her mother have moved to a smaller apartment. At school, members of the gymnastics team are nasty to her, and since she isn't participating any more, she's finding it hard to find friends to sit with at lunch. When she realizes that there is a wrestling ring in her neighbor's yar, she goes to investigate, only to have Mr. Arrelano yell at her. He later comes to ap E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus MJ is having a hard time of it. Her father is no longer with the family, and because of this, she and her mother have moved to a smaller apartment. At school, members of the gymnastics team are nasty to her, and since she isn't participating any more, she's finding it hard to find friends to sit with at lunch. When she realizes that there is a wrestling ring in her neighbor's yar, she goes to investigate, only to have Mr. Arrelano yell at her. He later comes to apologize, and MJ, who has watched lucha libre wrestling avidly for a long time, is thrilled that he runs a wrestling school called Victory Academy. Even though she is young and small, she convinces "Papi" (Mr. Arrelano) to let her train. Her mother isn't thrilled, but lets her do it. The training is everything that MJ wants, and even the sore muscles from "bumping" (falling onto the floor in order to avoid injury). Eventually, she enters a fight because someone is unable to make it, and her use of gymnastics causes the video of the event to go viral. This causes a lot of mixed emotions-- some other wrestlers are jealous, Papi is worried about her safety, and MJ herself is afraid to let her mother know how much she is wrestling. Mr. Corto, who has been fining the gym for numerous minor infractions and trying to close it down, decides that MJ is being endangered after she almost catches someone releasing rats at the gym, and tries to close down Victory Academy. Can MJ make peace with her father's absence, the mean girls at school, and her participation in wrestling while trying to solve the mystery behind the threats to the gym. Strengths: MJ was a really well balanced, out spoken character who knew what she wanted and tried everything she could to make it happen. I love characters like that. She has some issues with loss and grief to deal with, but does so (eventually) in a constructive way. There are tons of details about wrestling-- practice, techniques, competitions-- that clearly show Mr. Wallace's experience with the sport. The mystery of the gym being sabotaged adds a nice extra layer. I loved MJ's mom, and thought she was realistically portrayed. Weaknesses: Mr. Corto was a bit over-the-top evil for me, but the target demographic is much fonder of clear cut villains than I am. What I really think: I really enjoyed this, but I don't know that my students will have any idea what luche libre wrestling is. Because of the title, I kept thinking this was about volleyball. THAT'S a topic that is much in demand but for which there are hardly any books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    I received this e-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. If there is another middle grade novel about a girl who loves pro-wrestling, I haven't heard of it. That being said, if there is only one, this is a great one to do the job. I really enjoyed MJ's journey. For the girls out there who do love wrestling, I think they'll love this, and for the readers who don't (or who aren't girls!), I think will still really enjoy MJ as a character, and her story. I received this e-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. If there is another middle grade novel about a girl who loves pro-wrestling, I haven't heard of it. That being said, if there is only one, this is a great one to do the job. I really enjoyed MJ's journey. For the girls out there who do love wrestling, I think they'll love this, and for the readers who don't (or who aren't girls!), I think will still really enjoy MJ as a character, and her story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    MJ is having a bad year. It’s her first year at middle school, which is difficult enough, but her dad not being around anymore is the worst. And she didn’t want to be on the gymnastics team this year, not since she was bullied and felt excluded, despite being one of the best gymnasts on the team. And since her dad left, MJ and her mother had to move out of their house, and now her mother has to work two jobs and take online classes. MJ doesn’t have any friends, so she spends her lunch time watch MJ is having a bad year. It’s her first year at middle school, which is difficult enough, but her dad not being around anymore is the worst. And she didn’t want to be on the gymnastics team this year, not since she was bullied and felt excluded, despite being one of the best gymnasts on the team. And since her dad left, MJ and her mother had to move out of their house, and now her mother has to work two jobs and take online classes. MJ doesn’t have any friends, so she spends her lunch time watching wrestling videos of luchadores, Mexican wrestlers who wear masks and wrestle with an entertaining, energetic style. Without friends or afterschool activities, she just sits alone in her room after school flying her drone. It had been a gift from her father before he’d left. But when it crashes into a neighbor’s yard, MJ decides to go after it and discovers an old wrestling ring in her neighbor’s yard. It turns out her neighbor used to be a lucha wrestler, and now he owns a training school for wrestlers. MJ wants to join her neighbor’s wrestling school more than anything, and after wearing her mother down, the two strike a deal. MJ has to keep her grades up, and if she gets seriously hurt then she’ll have to stop, but her mother agrees to let her wrestle. Since she’s only 12, it takes her some convincing to get her neighbor to let her in the school, but she wears him down too and gets ready to start training as a wrestler. At first, she’s paired with an older girl to learn the basics of wrestling—how to interact with another wrestler in the ring and how to fall down without getting hurt. As the weeks of training go on, she learns more about what it takes to have a match. She builds her endurance and expands her in-ring skills. She even gets to try out some simple matches before a small audience in their weekly wrestling shows. But when an investigator with the State Athletic Commission comes to do his inspection, MJ gets a bad feeling, like the inspector has a problem with her neighbor and is trying extra hard to shut down the wrestling school. This is the first thing in months that has made MJ happy, and she doesn’t want to lose that. But will she be able to help save the school that means so much to her? Bump by former professional wrestler Matt Wallace is a heart-warming story of healing and self-discovery told in the world of lucha wrestling. Filled with lots of heart, some sadness, some courage, lots of bumps and bruises, and a respect for professional wresting, this novel for young girls will encourage and inspire them to follow their dreams no matter what. As MJ learns, it doesn’t matter how much you get knocked down. What matters is how often you get back up. I loved Bump. It has a sweetness that can’t be denied. I admit I’m a later-in-life fan of professional wrestling. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I met my current boyfriend, who as been a lifelong fan. But I have come to respect the hard work and athleticism it takes to be a good wrestler and to admire the stories these athletes tell through their actions. MJ is a fantastic character, and her journey is one that I’m glad to have witnessed. She has a lot of heart and a lot of spunk, and I think she sets a wonderful example to readers of all ages who read about her experiences in and out of the ring. I only wish I could have read this when I was a kid. Her courage would have inspired me to be stronger against the bullies and mean girls I knew through the years. Egalleys for Bump were provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    Have any of your students ever felt like they were participating in something for someone else's benefit? Like they didn't truly belong where they were? MJ was on the gymnastics team and the girls are nasty to her since she isn't participating anymore. Struggling at school, and with issues at home (father leaving), she is finding it harder and harder to fit in at school and find friends. THEN her attention is focused on this wrestling ring in her neighbor's yard. Luca Libre wrestling is somethin Have any of your students ever felt like they were participating in something for someone else's benefit? Like they didn't truly belong where they were? MJ was on the gymnastics team and the girls are nasty to her since she isn't participating anymore. Struggling at school, and with issues at home (father leaving), she is finding it harder and harder to fit in at school and find friends. THEN her attention is focused on this wrestling ring in her neighbor's yard. Luca Libre wrestling is something that MJ has watched for a very long time and soon learns that her neighbor runs a wrestling school called Victory Academy. (This soon reminds me so much of Miguel on Cobra Kai, if you have seen the show) MJ's mother is not excited about her desired endeavor, but eventually allows. MJ finds herself immersed in a sport that was everything she needed in that moment, and with a coach that pushes her and she loves it (even the constant bruises and sore muscles from "bumping" - falling onto the floor to avoid injury). MJ lands her first fight and a lot of worry comes in from all directions - even Mr. Corto who has been after the gym for quite some time trying to shut it down (SEE so many Cobra Kai connections your students could be making). MJ has to find strength and courage to battle her own demons while trying to keep the gym from getting shut down. Themes for the classroom: family dynamics, sports (wrestling), grief, mystery, "mean girls", persistence, community, finding yourself I will absolutely book talk Bump to my students and I know with my demographics I will have a lot of students who are interested. A lot of girls here participate in "boy" type sports. Also, a wide range of my students have knowledge of lucha libre wrestling and I know would love to read just to have something to talk about with their parents.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jes Smith

    MJ understands pain. The pain of not having any friends, pain at losing a father, and always being seen as an outsider. Her life changes when a drone she's flying lands in her neighbor's backyard. A whole new world opens up to her when she discovers her neighbor is a retired pro-wrestler and a school coach. Wrestling was something she and her father both loved. Now all she has to do is convince her mother it is safe. MJ finds a home in the gym. The other wrestlers take her "under their wings" and MJ understands pain. The pain of not having any friends, pain at losing a father, and always being seen as an outsider. Her life changes when a drone she's flying lands in her neighbor's backyard. A whole new world opens up to her when she discovers her neighbor is a retired pro-wrestler and a school coach. Wrestling was something she and her father both loved. Now all she has to do is convince her mother it is safe. MJ finds a home in the gym. The other wrestlers take her "under their wings" and give her advice in and out of the ring. When one man's anger threatens to shut down the gym forever, MJ fights to save the gym she loves. I love how strong MJ is. She understands the pain and her feelings, but she doesn't deny them. She tries different ways to solve her problems and doesn't rely on others to tell her what she should do or how she should feel. The adults in her life are respectful and keep her safe. Wallace takes the world of pro-wrestling and helps readers who may have preconceived notions and stereotyped beliefs understand the sport's positivity and art. I devoured this book and can't wait to recommend it to readers. This is a perfect suggestion, not only for kids who love wrestling but also for readers who enjoyed Lupe Wong Won't Dance or the Comeback. Thank you to the publisher Katherine Tegen books for an e-ARC of this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily LaSalle

    Bump is about a girl named MJ (Maya Jocelyn). Her Dad used to call her MJ after a character in spider man. That was before her dad died. MJ’s favorite thing to do is watch wrestling. One day MJ was flying her drone from her window when it scraped against the wall that divides her yard to her neighbors yard. She climbs the wall to get her drone.She has never met any of her neighbors because when she had to move from her old house to the one she was renting she never payed much attention to the ho Bump is about a girl named MJ (Maya Jocelyn). Her Dad used to call her MJ after a character in spider man. That was before her dad died. MJ’s favorite thing to do is watch wrestling. One day MJ was flying her drone from her window when it scraped against the wall that divides her yard to her neighbors yard. She climbs the wall to get her drone.She has never met any of her neighbors because when she had to move from her old house to the one she was renting she never payed much attention to the houses on the other side of her house. While she is in the person’s yard she sees a tarp over something big. She pulls it off and there in front of her is a real wrestling arena. 🤼 BUMP is funny, sad, and exciting. It is one of those books where if you start reading it you can not stop! I did not know a lot about wrestling before I read this book. It has some Spanish in it so I learned more words in Spanish too. MJ stands up to bullies who tease her for watching wrestling and she learns how to stand up for her friends. She finds bravery in her and helps keep the wrestling school open.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Didi Chanoch

    This book is lovely. I don't read a lot of MG. I also don't read a lot outside sff. But I've been a wrestling fan for decades, and Matt Wallace is a favorite author of mine who happens to be a former wrestler. So of course I was going to read this one. And I'm glad I did. At times, it felt it spoke directly to me - to the younger me, as well as the current aging version. MJ is a terrific protagonist, smart and weird and good hearted and in pain. Her story is relatable, enjoyable, and something I This book is lovely. I don't read a lot of MG. I also don't read a lot outside sff. But I've been a wrestling fan for decades, and Matt Wallace is a favorite author of mine who happens to be a former wrestler. So of course I was going to read this one. And I'm glad I did. At times, it felt it spoke directly to me - to the younger me, as well as the current aging version. MJ is a terrific protagonist, smart and weird and good hearted and in pain. Her story is relatable, enjoyable, and something I think both kids and adults can enjoy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Serenity

    *I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley* I loved this book. I know very, very little about pro wrestling but I didn't feel lost when the author was describing wrestling training and shows. That said, a fan would probably appreciate it more. MJ was a very likable narrator and I think kids will connect with her feelings of loneliness and anger (what kid hasn't felt that at some point?) as well as her determination to learn and grow. Hand this to your fans of realist *I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley* I loved this book. I know very, very little about pro wrestling but I didn't feel lost when the author was describing wrestling training and shows. That said, a fan would probably appreciate it more. MJ was a very likable narrator and I think kids will connect with her feelings of loneliness and anger (what kid hasn't felt that at some point?) as well as her determination to learn and grow. Hand this to your fans of realistic fiction, and your fans of lucha libre.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    An utterly charming tale of becoming. You needn't know anything of wrestling, or even like wrestling, to enjoy this tale of finding your way in the world. MJ is instantly relateable and her journey is filled with moments of sadness as well as joy as she discovers her inner strength. I've been a fan of Matt's writing for years, and highly recommend this for readers of all ages. It's a middle-grade tale, but one that resonates no matter what your age. An utterly charming tale of becoming. You needn't know anything of wrestling, or even like wrestling, to enjoy this tale of finding your way in the world. MJ is instantly relateable and her journey is filled with moments of sadness as well as joy as she discovers her inner strength. I've been a fan of Matt's writing for years, and highly recommend this for readers of all ages. It's a middle-grade tale, but one that resonates no matter what your age.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Soup

    Fun middle grade novel set in Mecca, CA that focuses on a grieving girl who finds purpose and joy at a local wrestling school. It goes slightly off the rails towards the end with an unnecessary and improbable Scooby-Doo type ending,leading me wonder if the plan for this book changed midway through. Topics covered include community, finding yourself, racism, and grief processing. Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental death (hide spoiler)] . Fun middle grade novel set in Mecca, CA that focuses on a grieving girl who finds purpose and joy at a local wrestling school. It goes slightly off the rails towards the end with an unnecessary and improbable Scooby-Doo type ending,leading me wonder if the plan for this book changed midway through. Topics covered include community, finding yourself, racism, and grief processing. Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental death (hide spoiler)] .

  11. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I enjoyed this book. It's about a girl who is underestimated by others. Through her hard work and persistence, she proves and makes everyone change their mindset. One thing that I did not understand was how the story changed really fast and it's hard for me to keep up with the tempo. Overall, this book has a good story and good characters. I enjoyed this book. It's about a girl who is underestimated by others. Through her hard work and persistence, she proves and makes everyone change their mindset. One thing that I did not understand was how the story changed really fast and it's hard for me to keep up with the tempo. Overall, this book has a good story and good characters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Valenzuela

    A great story about loss and grief, fitting in and standing out, and conquering your fears. All of this set in the unlikely place of a beat-up wrestling ring. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a story about a sport I know nothing about, but I could not put it down.

  13. 4 out of 5

    K.E. Radke

    MJ is lost trying find a place in the world where she fits in. Never in her wildest dreams did she think the worst thing that could happen to her would lead her exactly where she needed to be.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan R

    A beautiful book about friends, wrestling, and the importance of family. Well-paced and interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

  17. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lizette

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Rasnake

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meg Dowell

  22. 4 out of 5

    arabella sturm

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Dittmar

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pete

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Camargo

  29. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andea

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