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The Nature of Jade

by Deb Caletti

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6123431,074 (3.9)12
Seattle high school senior Jade's life is defined by her anxiety disorder and dysfunctional family, until she spies a mysterious boy with a baby who seems to share her fascination with the elephants at a nearby zoo.

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"The Nature of Jade" isn't just another book about a girl. It's about a girl with real problems, and she creates real solutions for herself. Although most of the solutions are just wait until your anxiety is over, she does manage to get through everything she thinks she can't do, and I think that's important.

Check out the rest of my review here!

https://radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/the-nature-of-jade-by-de... ( )
  radioactivebookworm | Aug 31, 2018 |
I have not yet read this book.
  LynneQuan | Oct 16, 2017 |
Jade suffers from panic disorders and, while an A student, is most comfortable viewing life from her bedroom and/or behind a computer screen. She begins watching a webcam trained on nearby zoo elephants. A handsome young man in a red jacket and with a baby also catches her eye. With some prodding from her Psychologist (sympathetic) Jade volunteers to help with the elephants and soon meets up with the boy (Sebastian). She falls in love --hard-- and only slowly begins to see Sebastian for who and what he is. Their relationship ends (as it must) but Jade grows as a person.

Caletti excels at "girls' stories" and showing personal growth in subtle, believable ways. She does it again with this book. Jade is sympathetic as someone slowly gaining confidence and becoming comfortable in her skin. Sebastian's secret (he has kidnapped his baby from its mother and is living on the lam) is a punch yet credible. The mother is also sympathetic as a woman desperate to hang on to her youth and her daughter. Notes on animal behavior are a nice bonus and reflect Jade's growth. Minor quibble: Jade's access to elephants would probably not be possible in this litigious day and age. ( )
  mjspear | May 26, 2015 |
Deb Caletti’s The Nature of Jade started off strong for me. As someone who also deals with anxiety, I could definitely relate to our heroine’s struggles to live a “normal” life while keeping her feelings quiet. It was easy to empathize, really — almost too easy.

The elephant plot thread? Interesting. Not something I’ve seen before. While volunteering at the zoo, Jade meets lots of interesting folks and, of course, Sebastian — as well as his young son. The story of how the pair came to be on a houseboat with Sebastian’s grandma is interesting . . . but as the storyline progresses, it all seemed to be a little . . . weird.

I don’t know how to explain it. I guess it started with a sense that, while kind, Sebastian wasn’t quite what he seems. I never quite . . . bonded with him. Felt for him, maybe, but wasn’t nearly as enamored with him as Jade was. The whole progression of their relationship seemed odd, especially since the only thing initially pulling him to her was that, after hours, he would find himself gazing at the elephants the same way Jade would. Which she knew because she saw him on the online cam, looking moodily off at the sky. Just like Jade did.

There were parts of The Nature of Jade I really liked, including our lead’s emotional journey from uncertain high schooler to rising college student. She gains confidence, poise and maturity, even as other aspects of her life begin to unravel. I found her parents’ marriage struggles to be realistic and heartbreaking, and I loved the dynamic she shares with Oliver, her little brother.

What I didn’t love? Sebastian’s back story. Without spoilers, I felt the rationale guiding his decisions to be . . . thin. That his grandmother aided him felt a little fishy to me, honestly, and I had a tough time relating to what he was doing. It seemed impulsive, strange and selfish, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the whole thing was going to play out. It was working for now, maybe, but what about five years from now? Or ten? His son would start asking questions. Everything would unravel.

And that distracted me. Not that I found Sebastian to be a truly bad dude or anything, but what was he doing drawing Jade into this whole disaster? True love and blah-ity blah blah, perhaps, but it seemed unfair. And the whole “I thought you were older” justification for their relationship didn’t strike the right chords with me. Or, like, any chords.

I’m being harsher in this review than I felt while reading it, maybe, but reflection creates differing opinions. It was a quick and mostly satisfying story, but not one I found especially memorable. Still, for fans of young adult and those who long to see anxiety disorders represented in YA culture, The Nature of Jade was a decent read. ( )
  writemeg | Jan 14, 2014 |

Elephants are like humans. They're this group of normally abnormal creatures going through the ups and downs of life with big hearts, mood swings, and huge, swingy-assed togetherness. That’s Jade’s opinion, at least. That’s what drives her to install the zoo webcam on her laptop, and the reason she first spots the red jacket boy.

“He's a stranger. He has a baby, which makes him seem unlikely as a rapist, but come on.”

She first sees him pushing a baby stroller into the zoo. He comes, almost every day with his baby, at around 3:30 p.m. Sometimes, he even comes at night, just to stare at the sky and contemplate life’s deeper mysteries.

And then, she just she works up the nerve to go down to the zoo and meet him, he stops coming. However, she is spotted by the elephant master after hanging around the elephant pen for half an hour two days consecutively, and thus volunteers to help the elephants bathe, wash their stalls and such. Unfortunately, the red jacket boy’s first meeting with her is when she comes out the stall, all dirty and mussed up.

That does not scare him away, and she is invited to a first date in the bookshop where he works two days later.

"Okay,” I say. “Here's what I know about you. Your name. That you work in a nice place and know a lot about books. That you have a son; that you appreciate elephants and live in a houseboat with your grandmother that you call by her first name."

He is twenty. She is just nineteen. He dropped out of college. She has just finished applying for universities. He had a baby. She had a locker.

Their worlds couldn’t be more different. Their story couldn’t be more unique. Add an activist grandmother, a (teetering on the edge of) adulterous mother, a cute younger brother forced to play sports, a reclusive father, and you’ve just about got the plot of the story.


Deb Caletti more than lived up to the expectations I got from reading her previous book, [b:Stay|8527904|Stay|Deb Caletti|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348047647s/8527904.jpg|13394950]. It still dragged on a bit, but the overall plot was simpler, and thus easier to understand. Whilst [b:Stay|8527904|Stay|Deb Caletti|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348047647s/8527904.jpg|13394950] jumped from past to present to past again, [b:The Nature of Jade|339339|The Nature of Jade|Deb Caletti|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361753747s/339339.jpg|329734] had chapters set in the present – and this, I think, was what made it flow so beautifully from one event to another. Her prose and writing is still beautifully done, and it still makes me feel as though I was reading a poem.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading realistic contemporary fiction, books about animals or books that ask you deep questions that you usually edge around. In my opinion, it was a good book, if a bit bland at times – a book that most readers will no doubt enjoy. ( )
  Joyce.Leung | May 24, 2013 |
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To Mom and Dad--my biggest fans, as I am yours.
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When you live one and a half blocks away from a zoo like I do, you can hear the baboons screeching after it gets dark.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Seattle high school senior Jade's life is defined by her anxiety disorder and dysfunctional family, until she spies a mysterious boy with a baby who seems to share her fascination with the elephants at a nearby zoo.

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Seattle high school senior Jade's life is defined by her anxiety disorder and dysfuctional family, until she spies a mysterious boy with a baby who seems to share her fascination with the elephants at a neabrby zoo.
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