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Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
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Jasper Jones (edition 2012)

by Craig Silvey (Author)

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1,4288213,106 (4.01)92
Young Adult Fiction. Young Adult Literature. HTML:A 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

Charlie Bucktin, a bookish thirteen year old, is startled one summer night by an urgent knock on his bedroom window. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in their small mining town, and he has come to ask for Charlie's help. Terribly afraid but desperate to impress, Charlie follows him into the night.

Jasper takes him to his secret glade, where Charlie witnesses Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion. He locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love, and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.
… (more)
Member:EVULibrary
Title:Jasper Jones
Authors:Craig Silvey (Author)
Info:Ember (2012), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
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Work Information

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

  1. 20
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (wookiebender)
    wookiebender: I hadn't read "Huckleberry Finn" before, but read it straight after "Jasper Jones", and it's an obvious influence. It's also a great read.
  2. 20
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (bookwyrmm)
  3. 10
    Looking for Alaska by John Green (bluenotebookonline)
  4. 00
    The Shark Net by Robert Drewe (belindav)
    belindav: An easily accessible, fresh and thought provoking second novel with the promise of other Western Australian authors Tim Winton and Robert Drewe.
  5. 00
    Lo que me queda por vivir by Elvira Lindo (cristina82)
    cristina82: Si os gustó la nueva novela de Lindo, un relato emotivísimo sobre el aprendizaje, no dudéis en leer Jasper Jones, la primera entrega de la colección Biblioteca Furtiva, de la misma editorial que publica a Lindo, Seix Barral. Es una historia eterna sobre las primeras veces, sobre el empezar, el aprendre, el crecer. Vale la pena.… (more)
  6. 00
    The Messenger by Markus Zusak (KimarieBee)
    KimarieBee: Australian author and storyline
  7. 00
    On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (bluenotebookonline)
    bluenotebookonline: Also Australian, also up for the Prinz, and also mesmerizing
  8. 00
    Death of a Superhero by Anthony McCarten (avatiakh)
  9. 00
    Me and Rory Macbeath by Richard Beasley (aliklein)
  10. 00
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Steve.Gourley)
  11. 00
    The Dry by Jane Harper (aliklein)
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» See also 92 mentions

English (81)  German (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Great. I can see why it's become a movie. Laughs, smiles and sad bits. Well worth reading. ( )
  SteveMcI | Dec 28, 2023 |
Fittingly described as an Australian classic. I am a huge Craig Silvey fan and this book did not disappoint . I loved some of the expressions used and the simmering undertones of a 1960s country town were so vivid. I can see why this book was on the Australian high school curriculum. So many themes to explore. Probably my best book of 2023. ( )
  secondhandrose | Oct 31, 2023 |
I am tempted to rate this as 5 stars but have wimped out. Having finished it only today, I may reassess it at a later time.

I am also surprised that until last week I had not heard either of the book (2009) nor the movie (2017), and yet there are 80 reviews and over 1200 members on Librarything alone. It has been a big miss on my part.

It has been described as 'an Australian To Kill a Mockingbird', though as another reviewer said, such is a big call given the latter's reputation. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Mockingbird (the book), being a bigger fan of the movie. There are various explicit references to Mockingbird (more than one reference to 'what would Atticus think in these circumstances') and implicit references (in that both books reference racial, social and class issues, as well mystery as to death/murder?, and small town social and political issues).

But given Jasper Jones is set in 1965-66 (Mockingbird was published in 1960 and was an instant success; the movie came out in 1962...I don't know when it got to Australia), and with Charlie, the narrator described as a 'bookish boy of thirteen' and son of a literature teacher, one could expect that Charlie could see the connections to Mockingbird, I think the passing Mockingbird references work (or at least I am willing to be convinced that there was that possibility!).

The book moves quickly, in part due to the mystery, not just the death at the center of the book, but the unlikely blossoming friendship of Jasper Jones (from the wrong side of the tracks) and Ned; and separately between Ned and the Vietnamese Jeffery Lu; and then Ned and Eliza, one of the girls in his school.

But there are also the simmering racial troubles, not just First Nations, but also recent migrants (even if they had lived in Australia for years). And class issues: Ned's mother 'came from money' and the underlying vibe was that she regretted her marriage.

At nearly 400 pages, the book could have been shorter if it dropped the whole Jeffery Lu character (Ned's best friend). One reviewer complains of the description of cricket that Jeffery adores! But I think it would be a poorer book if it had been dropped. It adds much humour to what could otherwise been a somewhat 'heavy' text. And the banter between Ned and Jeffery, not all humourous, adds much to the depiction of the thoughts (not constrained to cricket) of some 13-14 old characters, which added much to the background to Ned's ( and other characters') thinking as to what it was like to live that time and place.

The denouement worked very well. I did not see it coming, but it made sense.

Was everything 'resolved'? Certainly not, but it rang true.

Jasper Jones has been described by some as Young Adult, whilst others have questioned that. Whilst there is little if any graphic languages or scenes, given we are talking about characters of 13-17(?), such may give the wrong guide as to who this book is directed to, with a number of topics challenging/triggering for some younger readers.

I would not describe this as a typical who-dun-it or mystery text, though I love/read many such books and will continue to do so. But like Mockingbird, whist the murder/mystery is a significant piece of the text, the text is much more about personal interactions and surrounding social and other factors which underpin it. It that comment suddenly dampens what would other enthusiasm you may have read into the review, ignore the previous sentence!

Big Ship

1 November 2022 ( )
  bigship | Nov 1, 2022 |
Although “Jasper Jones” easily reaches its position among the Top 10 of my all-time-favourite books, I have delayed writing this review for such a long time that there’s no way for me to find a new alibi once again. Craig Silvey has earned each praise he could possibly receive, for he has managed to take his reader on a journey as complex and thrilling as only a few authors are usually able to. At least in my case.

The novel focuses on different, yet convincingly established subjects like discrimination and racism, social marginalization and unlikely friendships, all of them woven into the context of a ruthlessly conducted murder. Supported by the excellent description of a small town setting in the Australian Outback of the mid-60s, all those aspects are depicted with an unexpected realism, helping the reader to delve deeper into the story. From a general point of view, the plotlines are cheerless and bleak, yet Craig Silvey manages to make the reader feel comfortable with the setting he created, the realistic characters he introduced and the story he so perfectly outlined.

Of course, even the best book has some flaws, some things to be missed. For example, there was a LOT of cricket in this book. And if I say a lot, I mean a good deal more than that. The author even included a five-pages-long cricket glossary at the end of the book due to several terms anyone not or only slightly interested in cricket would not have understood otherwise. It was distracting to have to look up all those terms every time they were mentioned, and they were mentioned quite often. But don’t think this is a book about cricket. The sport aspects are very interestingly included into the story, bringing several characters together on one huge occasion and creating momentous conflicts with essential consequences.

The book had many things to enjoy. There was Jeffrey Lu, a Vietnamese immigrant and the protagonist’s best friend, there were some thrilling trips into the Australian outback, a creepy description of the protagonists finding a dead body, the realistic portrayal of severe and struggling parents, and a matching ending. I have to admit, it’s probably a book which is not going to be liked by everyone. You might love it, or you might hate it, but it’s so worth the read, though.

The coolest thing about it all: I actually caught myself complaining about the hot temperatures, reading of how Chuck and all the other characters had to sweat. In January. Yes. I complained about hot temperatures in January, because of a story set during a summer in Australia. Now say something about the atmosphere not being well-established.

Finally, I’ll include two quotes which might (or might not) make you realize how well the author was able to find words for what he wanted to describe, and will end this review with a huge recommendation for everyone who’s interested in a lovely book dealing with important subjects and interesting, breathing characters.


“I don't understand a thing about this world: about people, and why they do the things they do. The more I find out, the more I uncover, the more I know, the less I understand.”


“There’s no such thing as God, Charlie, at least not how they say. Just like there’s no such thing as Zeus or Apollo or bloody unicorns. You’re on your own. And that can make you feel either lonely or powerful. When you’re born, you wither luck out or you don’t. It’s a lottery. Tough shit or good on yer. But from there, it’s all up to you… soon as you can walk and talk, you start makin your own luck. And I don’t need some spirit in the sky to help me do that. I can do it on me own. But see, that’s what I reckon God really is, Charlie. It’s that part inside me that’s stronger and harder than anything else. And I reckon prayer is just trusting in it, having faith in it, just asking meself to be tough. And that’s all you can do. I don’t need a bunch of bullshit stories about towers and boats and floods or rules about sin. It’s all just a complicated way to get to that place in you, and it’s not honest either. I don’t need to trick meself into thinking anyone else is listenin’, or even cares. Because it doesn’t matter. I matter. And I know I’ll be alright. Because I got a good heart, and fuck this town for making me try and believe otherwise. It’s what you come with and what you leave with. And that’s all I got.”


Oh, I have to reread this sooner than soon. ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |
“Jasper Jones is the example of where poor aptitude and attitude will lead,” according to the parents in Corrigan, Australia. But Charlie Bucktin is still flattered when Jasper knocks on his bedroom window in the dead of night to ask for his help. Then Charlie finds out what the favor is, disposing of the body of Laura Wishart found hanging at Jasper’s private swimming spot. After some persuasion from Jasper where he convinces Charlie he had nothing to do with her death and that the police would finger him for her death because of his bad reputation, Charlie helps throw her body in the dam. From here on, Charlie feels like he has a brick in his stomach and his active imagination sees the cops finding out and hauling him off to jail as an accessory. Laura’s disappearance casts a pall across the town and keeps Charlie from enjoying the summer. This beautifully written, coming of age novel deals with several issues including racism, sexual abuse, first love, fitting in, and a failing marriage. The characters are well drawn and Charlie's relationship with his best friend Jeffrey Lu produces chuckles amid the grim story. This novel was a Printz 2012 Honor book. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
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Young Adult Fiction. Young Adult Literature. HTML:A 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

Charlie Bucktin, a bookish thirteen year old, is startled one summer night by an urgent knock on his bedroom window. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in their small mining town, and he has come to ask for Charlie's help. Terribly afraid but desperate to impress, Charlie follows him into the night.

Jasper takes him to his secret glade, where Charlie witnesses Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion. He locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love, and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

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Charlie Bucktin has been warned about Jasper Jones: Corrigan’s no-good, half-Aboriginal scapegoat. Parents dread that he will lead their children astray, girls are secretly in love with him, and Charlie, at thirteen, regards him as an embodiment of the kind of manhood he can never seem to exhibit. So when Jasper Jones appears at his window in the middle of the night to ask for help, Charlie follows him, nervous but determined, into the bush outside Corrigan. It is there that he will discover the reason for Jasper’s visit; a secret that will weigh him down like a brick in his stomach, and shake his view of the world around him.
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