The Nature of Jade

1 Oct

So, I’m on a roll with reading books from the Florida Teens Read List this quarter. So far, I’ve read 7 books, including:
– The four books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (see my review of that here)
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (look for a review tomorrow or the day after that)

So, here’s a review of Book 6:

Jade is a girl with anxiety; not just any anxiety, but panic-inducing-disorder-variety anxiety. To calm herself down, one thing she likes to do is watch a webcam broadcast of the elephants at the zoo down the street from her house. One day, while watching this webcast, she sees a boy with a baby and instantly feels a connection. After volunteering to work with the elephants, she meets this boy, whose name is Sebastian, and they fall in love. But what would teen love be without angst? Sebastian is hiding a secret that will eventually force Jade to decide between the life she knows and the boy she has come to love.

Aside from the love story, which is fairly unique and un-dramatic, this book also includes some great insights into animal behavior, parent-child and sibling relationships, and growing up in a society with increasing demands to achieve. Jade is a girl with her head on her shoulders, who has learned in many ways to be her own problem-solver in life. Her relationships with her family members seem authentic and provide an interesting backdrop to the story of her romance with Sebastian.

This book is a great read for any young adult reader. It was a little slow at first, but once it caught on I was wrapped up in Jade’s world and hoping for a bright future for her. It also includes an interesting character named Damian, the elephant manager at the zoo, who teaches Jade all about the relationship between an elephant and its mahout, or caretaker. Abe, Jade’s hippy/cool psychologist, provides an interesting perspective in the story, and a voice of reason for Jade when she’s having a typical teen moment. Not a rapture-inducing page-turner, but a great read nonetheless. Check it out.


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