From The Jump by Lacie Waldon is about Olivia and her group of friends Phoebe, Simone, Mac and Deiss. They meet in college, as dictated by the prologue, and have stayed friends through adulthood. To Olivia, her group of friends are her found family and they are incredibly precious to her. Olivia lives a stringent life, dictated by self help books and blogs, and rules and ideals dictated by her mom at an early age. Things like she must wear makeup whenever in public, must stay skinny and trim to fit into certain clothes and must work out with a personal trainer, must have a chicly decorated apartment full of uncomfortable and white furniture. She believed if she played by these self imposed rules, she’d lead a happy and fulfilled life – until one small choice snowballed into a chain of events that led to her unravelling.
Olivia, a graphic designer at a large firm, was tired of having her talents capped by her bosses who didn’t let her create to her full potential. After chatting with her co-worker Elena before their firm wide Friday meeting, she realizes that she has a choice in whether or not to continue down this unwanted path of capped creativity – she says no to an assignment directly from her boss in this meeting in front of everyone. High off the fact that she said no to someone for seemingly the first time in her life, she decides to ride this out and do more things that are “against the rules” like take unpaid leave as a consequence to that response in the meeting, binge on ice cream and alcohol with Elena in her prim condo, and ultimately decide to join her group of friends on their Africa vacation.
She finally makes it to Africa on her very first trip out of the country, and the very first trip she joins her group of friends on. Despite hanging out with them sort of regularly, Olivia never made the effort to join their group vacations for whatever reason though she worried of being left out of the group. Either way, her group is happy she came along. Deiss picks her up at the airport and slowly, something between them starts to happen.
Common Themes + Opinions:
The major theme in this story is Olivia’s need to follow made up rules to lead a very specific and well tailored life. What she neglects to realize is that by living under such strict, self imposed rules, she’s missing out on opportunities in the present. Her mother seemingly groomed her to lead this kind of life, imposing beliefs that if Olivia did certain things, she can avoid being abandoned like she’s felt her whole life. Olivia’s mom went through boyfriend after boyfriend, with the same reasoning of her not ‘being enough’ for these men, cementing the belief that neither she or Olivia needed to be more to be wanted. So Olivia started to reflect trying to live a “perfect” life to eventually feel good enough to be wanted by a very specific guy – and even her dating had stringent rules.
As Olivia begins breaking her rules, she starts living in the present and in doing so, things with Deiss start to heat up. However, after a chain of events, she gets scared and seemingly ruins everything. She starts inching back to her tailored life until she realizes that she doesn’t want that anymore. Olivia has grown self aware, and realizes that the past several weeks where she was living free and off her crazy rules were the best weeks of her life. She seemingly stopped worrying about the future and started to focus on the present. Despite being a romance novel, this story was largely about Olivia finally making the choice to live her life on her own accord to feel fulfilled, not what these books and blogs were dictating. Her relationship with Deiss adds to this as he nudged her to explore this different direction in her life – in general and with him.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
From The Jump by Lacie Waldon was a different kind of read, especially if you’ve read The Layover – see my review for The Layover here. Both have vacation feels but Olivia’s story goes a completely different route where the focus is more on her than the romance. I honestly grew frustrated at her while reading because of her reliance of these rules to tell her who she is and how she should act and dress. It felt like Olivia was a robot moving through life instead of experiencing it. I resonated with that – to a point – where it reminded me that you can’t laser focus on a specific type of future without staying present. The now obviously dictates the future; you can’t have one without the other. I did end up rooting for Deiss and Olivia, especially after the dynamic of the friend group changes. Let’s just say Simone is on my shit list.
Either way, I give From The Jump four stars. As for the spice, there’s like one sexy scene in the whole book with Olivia and Deiss that gives off a little heat; so one pepper for that.
Have you read From The Jump? Let me know in the comments!