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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Blog Tour- STEPPING OFF by @JSonnenblick With An Excerpt & A #Giveaway! @Scholastic,@ireadya

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the STEPPING OFF by Jordan Sonnenblick Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:


Author: Jordan Sonnenblick

Pub. Date: June 4, 2024

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/STEPPING-OFF 

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.




There’s a picture of me pinned to the corkboard over my desk at my dad’s house. It’s a couple of years old. I took it myself with a timer. In it, I have my beloved Fender Precision  electric bass guitar strapped around my neck. I’m wearing a  lake-blue hoodie with block letters on it, but you can only  see the tops of a couple of words over the instrument. 

Anybody who looked at the photo without knowing  me would just see a pale, freckly, scrawny teenage boy  with shaggy brown hair, a slightly-too-big nose, and hazel  eyes. They would guess he probably plays the bass and  likes hoodies. 

They wouldn’t be wrong about any of that. But there is  just so much they wouldn’t see. They wouldn’t know how  nervous and insecure that kid is. They wouldn’t know he  was taking the photo to send to a girl, or that he was trying desperately to impress her, like See? I’m cool! I’m a bass player! They wouldn’t even know he had bought that bass used  online, specifically because it was finished in a rare shade  called “Charcoal Frost” that reminded him of the color of  the girl’s eyes. 

The girl wouldn’t know that part, either. 

The back of the hoodie said: The real world isn’t real! That was the official motto of Tall Pines Landing, the  Pennsylvania vacation-home community where I’d spent all  my summers and weekends since I was a little kid. I loved  that hoodie for the same reason I loved the place itself. My  “real world” was Staten Island, New York. It was crowds  and traffic, pollution and endless noise. It was commuting to my incredibly high-pressure math-and-science magnet high school in Manhattan five days a week by bus, ferry,  and subway. It was feeling alone and afraid in a vast, rolling  sea of people. It was watching my parents growing further  and further apart every year. 

I spent the first sixteen and a half years of my life trying as hard as I could to escape to the mountains of  Pennsylvania. Every chance I got, I went there physically,  and when I couldn’t actually be there in body, I would close my eyes, put on some music, play my bass, and be there in spirit. 

I needed to believe that the real world wasn’t real.


1. The Pause Button 

Have you ever wished that life came with a pause button? I’ve wished it over and over again, and I know exactly when I would freeze everything: late in the afternoon on  Saturday, May 18, 2019. 

It was hot. Sunny. I was standing in bright orange swimming shorts and my favorite old black Converse All Stars  on top of the concrete vehicle barrier that ran along the  edge of the Ledgedale Bridge, looking down at the dark,  shadowed waters of the lake forty feet below, trying to  work up the nerve to jump. 

When you jump off the Ledgedale Bridge, the sneakers are necessary so you don’t break your feet. I was between two girls, halfway in love with both of  them at the same time. Chloe Conti was holding my right  hand loosely, her thin fingers dry against mine. Ava Green  was squeezing my left hand in a death grip, her round fingers slick with sunscreen. “Don’t let go of me,” Ava hissed.  The sun was coming through the chain-link fence over her  shoulder, and it was so bright that I couldn’t really make  out her features. She was just a flash of white teeth and a golden halo of long hair above a bubble-gum-pink swimsuit  and the smooth skin of a hip against my leg. 

“Never,” I said. 

We were all leaning back against the fence. The links  were burning into my back. I closed my eyes and tried  to breathe slowly, in through my nose, out through my  mouth—just like my asthma doctor always said to do when I was feeling panicky about my breathing. Or, you know, about jumping off something really high and drowning. As soon as I inhaled, the coconut scent of Chloe’s  lotion and the flowery smell that always came off Ava’s  hair almost overwhelmed me. 

Chloe squeezed my hand with that birdlike gentleness,  and I turned to her. She was staring right at me, which  did not make me less lightheaded. I could see the soft,  haunting gray around her pupils. I looked down, because  sometimes making eye contact with Chloe was too much  for me to handle, even when we weren’t balanced on an  alarmingly narrow ledge. 

That was the thing about being with Chloe and Ava  that summer: I’d never been so happy, so nervous, so  uncomfortable, so miserable, and so thrilled before—all at  the same time. Being with them was hot sauce and honey  on my tongue. 

My calves were starting to get shaky, so I knew we  couldn’t just stand there much longer. Plus, the police might  come. But I didn’t quite have the guts or the leadership or whatever it would require to get us to take that one big  step forward. It was Chloe who finally said, “So, guys, are  we doing this or what?” 

Well, I sure wasn’t going to look like a chicken in front  of my two best friends. Who were also my two crushes.  “Oh, we’re doing it,” I said. “If the birthday girl is ready?” 

For some reason, it was a Tall Pines Landing tradition—a highly illegal tradition—to climb out onto the middle of the Ledgedale Bridge and jump into the water as a sixteenth birthday rite of passage. I was already sixteen, and so was  Chloe. Our birthdays were in the winter, but it was Ava’s  actual birthday weekend, so this was officially the birthday jump for all of us. We had come up with the idea of a triple  jump years ago, probably when we were around eleven, lying  on the ratty old mattresses on the floor of Ava’s treehouse.  We’d had five years to think about this moment, but it hadn’t totally sunk into my head how scary it would be until now. Ava’s grip, which had already been bone-crushing,  cranked up another notch. I was pretty sure I felt a knuckle  in my pinkie crack. “I’m ready,” she said. “Kinda.” “So, do we just, like, count down?” I asked. 

“I guess so,” Ava replied. “But from a high number, okay?” “Are we talking five? Ten? Twenty?” I felt my voice  crack on that last syllable, which I was pretty sure hadn’t  happened since I was thirteen. 

“No,” Chloe said, “We count down from three, like  this: Three . . . two . . . one . . . go!” 

My knees bent, and I almost involuntarily started to  spring forward. Chloe and Ava both yanked me back  against the fence, hard. 

“That was just a practice countdown, Superman,”  Chloe said. 

“I knew that,” I replied weakly. 

Chloe let go of my hand for a second, put the back of her hand against my chest, and gently pushed me against the fence. “Just breathe for a second, okay?” she said. Then  she shouted, “Hey, Jake, are there any boats coming?” Oh, that’s right, I realized. My older sister and her  boyfriend were down on the rocks on one side below.  Nobody ever jumped off this bridge without an audience,  because if you didn’t have spotters, you might just land on  the deck of somebody’s sailboat. 

“You’re good!” Jake yelled. “By the way, I’m totally  filming this, so try to make it cinematic, okay?” Perfect, I thought. 

Chloe took my hand again. “All right, kids. Remember  what everyone always says: Bend both knees. Jump off  with both feet at once. Don’t tense up. Keep your body  straight up and down in the air. Legs together. Let go of  each other when we hit the water so everybody’s hands  are free for swimming. Then swim straight up toward the  light. Got it?” 

I wanted to throw up. I wanted to cry. I wanted to forget this whole thing. 

“You’re still clear!” Jake shouted. 

Ugh, I thought. It’s gonna be a long summer if we don’t go  through with this. 

“You good, Ava?” I asked. Ava relaxed her death grip  for an instant, only to clamp down even harder. “Never better,” she gritted out through clenched  teeth. 

“Count it, Chloe,” I said. 

I forced myself to look straight ahead into the air as  Chloe, the girl of half my dreams, said, “Three . . . two . . . one . . . GO!” 

I felt Chloe’s and Ava’s hands drop down and swing back  a bit, then forward. My knees almost buckled, but they held  as I swung my arms with theirs and took the leap. 

For that one perfect second, maybe a second and a  half, we were flying.  



About Jordan Sonnenblick:

Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed Drums, Girls & Dangerous PieAfter Ever AfterNotes from the Midnight DriverZen 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.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of STEPPING OFF, US Only.

Ends July 16th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:



IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post


YA Books Central

Interview/IG Post



IG Post



Review/IG Post



IG Review

Week Two:



Review/IG Post/TikTok Post



IG Review



IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review


Lifestyle of Me



Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post




Week Three:


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Review


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post



IG Review


Michelle, The Book Critic

Review/IG Post



IG Review

Week Four:


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post


pick a good book

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot



Fire and Ice

Review/IG Post


Two Points of Interest

Review/IG Post

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