Saturday, September 21, 2013

Here Comes the Anxiety - A Review of The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

(Goodreads Blurb) 
I am not my illness. "Girl with Anxiety," "Trauma of the Week" -- no. I hate stuff like that. Everyone, everyone has their issue. But the one thing my illness did make me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can't. Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can't quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she's trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That's why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that's where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.

His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian's cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she's in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn't felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real, you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds.
I had a great time reading The Nature of Jade.  It was a lot of fun and super cute.   This is a coming of age young love story, but it is so much more than that.  It is about a girl named Jade who struggles with anxiety, and she finds a way to work around it. Jade isn't going to let herself be defined by her illness.  

I love the dialogue in this book.  Jade's interactions with her family are so real and honest.  So reminiscent of conversations with my own parents.
Me: Hi, Dad.
Dad: Hi.
Me: How's it going?
Dad: Good.
Me: I got a ninety-six on my calculus test.
Dad: Oh, mmhmm.  Great.  Can you hand me that glue bottle over here?
Me: I also built a bomb in a Coke can and set it off in the cafeteria during lunch.
Dad: Oh, super.
Jade volunteers at the local zoo and studies the elephants.  I love the lessons she learns from the animal kingdom. Jade finds a way to live with the anxiety even as she learns to cope with her family and the changes they are going through.  Jade takes her observations of the elephants and applies them to her own life.
She makes me think of those days you have sometimes, when you're pissed off and driving everyone away with your mood, but what you most need is for someone to love you in spite of yourself.
But what really moved me when reading this story was Sebastian and the effect that he had on Jade.  Sebastian is raising his son with only the help of his flighty, activist grandmother.  Jade isn't sure she understands the reason that he is on his own, but his sense of responsibility and maturity draw her to him.
Maybe it's the faux fire and the rain and the sinking couch, I don't know.   Or maybe it's his soft clothes and warm eyes, but I'm just comfortable there with Sebastian.  Some guys give give you the edgy feeling of dogs behind chain-link fences, and some give you the nervousness of high heels you're not used to.  But Sebastian - he makes me feel like I just buried my nose in warm laundry.
The Nature of Jade is an excellent example of a YA novel.  I'm really glad that I picked it up.

4 out of 5 stars. 

1 comment:

  1. Really loved this review. I actually never heard of The Nature of Jade and skimmed through Deb Caletti books every so often, but the premise of it seems really interesting. Sebastian having a baby and her falling for him was a twist I wasn't exactly expecting from the summary, but it sounds both heartbreaking and super sweet. :) I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR, yays. <3