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The Jade Notebook (Indigo Notebook (Hardback)) Hardcover – February 14, 2012

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About the Author

LAURA RESAU lived in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, Mexico, for two years as an English teacher and anthropologist. She now lives with her husband, her dog, and her son, Bran, in Colorado, where she teaches cultural anthropology and ESL (English as a Second Language).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

At sunset, Comet Point feels like the tip of the world. Far below, the water churns, slapping against the crags, spraying my skin. I gaze past the jagged rocks, where the sea smooths into silk and spreads out to touch the sky. And there on the horizon, the sun dips lower and lower, setting the clouds on fire.

Here at the cliff’s edge, the tiniest details are magnified: every fine hair on my arms moving in the breeze, every pebble pressing into my palms, every speck of dirt clinging to the backs of my thighs. A tiny pink boat, upside down on a patch of sand. The silhouette of a fisherman, his line catching light.

After the sun slides through the last puddle of flames and disappears into the sea, I stand up, brushing the dust from my dress. My eyes stay fixed on the fading line where sky meets water as I walk toward the mainland, weaving around hardy shrubs and a huge saguaro cactus. Soon sky and sea are the same shade of twilight blue with a hint of silver, indistinguishable.

Once I reach the steep part of the path, I scramble up the rocks, looking for safe footing. Comet Point, not surprisingly, is shaped like a comet, the head being the tip of the peninsula. I make my way up the comet’s fiery tail, which ends in jungle high above the beach.

When we decided to move to Mexico, I had no idea that this little beach town would feel like a shoe that fits as if it were made just for me. Mazunte is the home I’d given up on ever finding. Why does this place, of the dozens of breathtaking places I’ve lived, feel so exquisitely perfect? I can’t pinpoint a reason--not a logical one, anyway. Maybe, somehow, the silvery strands of the comet pulled me toward Mazunte from far across the ocean.

When I reach the top of the sandy path, I leave the sea behind, following a narrow trail that slices through dense foliage. The moon is just rising, its light barely filtering through the leaves, just enough for me to make my way back toward the cabanas. Knowing the route by heart, I fly through the insect songs and tree shadows.

Instinctively, I slow down as I pass the first in a ring of signs around a section of jungle about a kilometer in circumference. These signs give me the creeps. The first, I can barely make out in the moonlight, but I know what it says: ¡TERRITORIO PROHIBIDO! SE DEVORAN LOS INTRUSOS! Forbidden territory! Trespassers will be devoured! More hand-painted signs around the perimeter of the property offer variations on the theme: Trespassers will be cursed/taken prisoner/eliminated. Disconcerting, but I like to think that whoever made the signs just has a somewhat twisted sense of humor.

As I walk, I peer beyond the signs, curious. It’s our mysterious neighbors’ property, but it looks just like the rest of the area--enormous leaves, vines, branches, occasional flowers. I haven’t yet dared to cross the line, and I’m not quite brave enough to do it alone at dusk. What I do instead is shout past the sign, loud, in English, on some kind of impulse: “Fine! Devour me!”

As soon as the words come out, even though there’s no one to hear, a little wave of embarrassment washes over me.

And then, a noise shatters the night. A deep, vibrating noise that seems to tear through the forest, rumble the earth. It comes from what feels like just meters away. It’s so loud it makes me jump, sends my heart racing.

I freeze. What was that? A motorcycle engine? A chain saw? Motionless, I hold my breath and listen. The only sounds are my pounding pulse, the insects, the distant waves, a breeze through the leaves. All I see are shadows in hues of green and blue and purple. I breathe out and take a tentative step down the path.

Then it thunders again, filling my ears, resounding through my body. The noise wakes some primal fear in me. I barely resist the urge to run away at top speed.

I reassure myself under my breath. “Don’t be crazy, Zeeta. It’s just a noise.”

Silence again; only the familiar hum of the jungle at dusk. My muscles relax a little. The TRESPASSERS WILL BE DEVOURED sign must have put me on edge. I bet the noise was just a car engine that my imagination transformed into something monstrous. Again, I exhale, try to steady my legs and slow my racing pulse. Then I suck in a deep breath and take a step forward on the path toward home.

This time, when the sound rips through the darkness, I run. I tear through the trees, the branches scraping my skin, catching on my clothes. After a few minutes, my lungs are burning and there’s a stitch in my side. I stop and lean over, gasping, my hands on my knees. Then, tentatively, I peer into the shadows behind me. Nothing. My ears alert, I half walk, half jog toward the cabanas.

I settle on an explanation. It was something rational--like thunder in the distance, or a particularly loud wave crashing. The cliffs can produce unusual echo effects. The farther I get from the Forbidden Territory, the easier it is to shake off the creepiness, even tip my hat to whoever posted those signs. After all, they’re effective.

A few minutes later, as I round the bend to the cabanas, my heartbeat has calmed, my trembling subsided. Emerging from the jungle, I enter the yellow glow of the kitchen hut. There in the candlelight, beneath the woven grass roof, Layla and Wendell are eating fresh fish and laughing with the guests.

I hover at the trees’ edge and savor this moment, watching my mom and my boyfriend--the people I love most in the world in this place I already love most in the world. Which is saying a lot for someone who’s lived in seventeen places in her seventeen years on earth.

Here, safely outside the jungle, wrapped in the aura of my perfect new home, it’s easy to let go of the strange noise, hope I don’t hear it again. Why bother even mentioning it? Why make waves in an otherwise smooth sea? Even paradise has to have a few flaws, right? It’s part of the package. Like the stinging jellyfish off Phi Phi Island when Layla and I lived in Thailand. Or the pickpockets in Marrakech. Or the deadly single-lane mountain roads in Nepal.

Wendell catches my eye, his face lighting up with his cute half-smile. He comes to me, folds me in his arms, wraps me in his cinnamon-soap smell. I press my lips against the comforting pulse of his neck, nestle my head on his shoulder. Yes, this is it. Paradise.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Series: Indigo Notebook (Hardback)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385740530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385740531
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With a background in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching, Laura Resau has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe - experiences that inspired her books for young people. Her latest novel, The Jade Notebook, was praised by School Library Journal for "the lush descriptions, intermittent action sequences, and sprinkling of fantasy [that] all come together to form an engaging reading experience."

Her previous novels - The Queen of Water, Star in the Forest, The Ruby Notebook, The Indigo Notebook, Red Glass, and What the Moon Saw - have garnered many starred reviews and awards, including the IRA YA Fiction Award, the Américas Award, and spots on Oprah's Kids' Book List. Acclaimed for its sensitive treatment of immigration issues, Resau's writing has been called "vibrant, large-hearted" (Publishers' Weekly) and "powerful, magical" (Booklist).

Resau lives with her husband and young son in Colorado. She donates a portion of her royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laura Pritchett on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a curmudgeon, but I really am annoyed at the number of what I call "flat" books that are out there in the YA world (and that my kiddos often choose to read them). I think books should be gritty and raw and real - and I'm sorry, but should have more wisdom and honesty to offer than some texting/arguing about what clothes to wear/etc. What I love about this book (and all this author's other books) is that there are real wisdoms here. **Not in an adult-preachy-overt way -- not at ALL**-- but in an honest look at a teen's life and some real problems and some real situations. So, thank you to the author, who enriches my life, my kids' lives, and who has obviously worked hard to create a real work of art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Kamata on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this, the conclusion to Resau's notebook trilogy, 17-year-old Zeeta, her vision-prone nature photographer boyfriend Wendell, and her vagabond mother Layla find themselves in a coastal Mexican town, running a bed-and-breakfast for eco-tourists. Zeeta and her mom have been switching countries every year, but she's hoping that they've finally found a place to stay for good this time. It's her father's hometown, after all, and even though he has yet to show up, Zeeta discovers that she has other family members here as well.

There are a few complications however - a bruja who resembles Frida Kahlo and who keeps a killer jaguar, a curse that has driven away every previous b & b manager up till now, and Wendell's sudden desire to be elsewhere. And who is poaching the eggs laid on the beach by endangered sea turtles?

As in her previous books, Resau has concocted a story with equal parts adventure, romance, and magical realism flavored with plenty of local color. Like the mole Zeeta's grandmother makes, it's a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and very satisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader 200 on February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Has everything I've loved about the previous books - well drawn, interesting characters. Fabulous setting (beaches and mole and the language and turtles!). Interesting plot that puts my favorites in danger. And of course the unraveling of Zeeta's search.

My only complaint is that I knew these characters so well and the books are so familiar, that I had EVERYTHING figured out early on. The moment a character entered the story, I could place them (correctly) in relation to Zeeta and the plot. There weren't any surprises.

However even with this, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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