The Nature of Jade Deb Caletti
Jade DeLuna likes to watch elephants on the zoo's webcam as a way of dealing with her panic disorder. One day she notices a boy with a baby. They become regulars and Jade sees that on the days they don't come, the boy will show up at the elephant enclosure in the middle of the night. In her desire to meet this boy, Jade eventually starts volunteering with the elephants every day after school. But that's not what the book is about. It's about relationships and how they change and Jade taking control of her life and not letting the panic and fear rule her.
There is a lot going on in this novel. There are so many relationships being explored: Jade and Sebastian (the boy), Jade and her mother, Jade's parents, Jade's father and Jade's brother, all sorts of elephant-relationship craziness, Jade and her friends, Jade's father and sports...
Most interesting is the relationship between Jade and her mother. Jade's mom is super-involved at Jade's school and seems to try to be recapturing the high school experience she never actually had. So, Jade's mom chaperones the homecoming dance, complete with new dress, salon appointment hair, and a freak out about finding the perfect shoes, while Jade opts out and instead watches movies with friends. Jade and her mother are extremely close, but Jade can't help but slightly resent her mother's involvement at school. Their relationship is further strained by the ever-present fact that Jade will be going off to college next year and this colors their intereactions.
It does sometimes get bogged down under the weight of everything that's being explored. Near the end, Jade lacks the real anger needed to make her truly believable. Also, the final twist with Sebastain had me going "Really? That's where you want to go with this?" because it hijacked the rest of the novel--instead of being an exploration of all these relationships, the last bit became out this other thing entirely, which really wasn't necessary.
Overall though, I did generally like it although it dragged in places.
Book Provided by... my local library
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