Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Nature of Jade

I finished reading The Nature of Jade, by Deb Caletti, a couple of days ago. I felt a real sense of mourning when it finally finished. Not because it was a sad book, but because I hated to end such a satisfying and well-written one. I would follow these characters forever.

Jade is a sixteen-year-old living in Seattle. Senior year is approaching and all of her friends and even her family are going through major changes and growing pains. Jade herself has anxiety, panic attacks. The only thing that helps calm her down is lighting her saint candles and watching the online elephant cam from the nearby zoo. When Jade sees a mysterious boy with a baby who keeps reappearing by the elephants, she becomes interested in him. How can someone you have only seen seem so right? Is that love at first sight?

As the year progresses, Jade’s family falls apart, her group of friends begins to break-up, but Jade becomes more sure of herself, partly due to starting to work with the elephants. And finally, Jade encounters the boy with the baby, who is even more mysterious in real life than he was in her imagination.

The writing in this novel is phenomenal. The characters are so multi-faceted and Jade's parents are especially human. As is so rare in this genre, Jade comes to truly see her parents as the frail human individuals they are, rather than the sterotypes she would like them to be. There are also really deep and tricky moral questions that will leave the reader wondering what things in life are really magnets for our moral compass.

Highly recommended!

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