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The Nature of Jade Hardcover – February 27, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Jade DeLuna suffers from panic attacks brought on by realizations of her own mortality. In addition to therapy and prescribed medication, she finds relief from her condition by taking care of elephants at a local zoo in Seattle. When she meets Sebastian, a handsome boy with a 15-month-old son, she falls in love with him and becomes immersed in his world. In addition to dealing with her anxiety and keeping her relationship with Sebastian secret, Jade must also come to terms with her parents' deteriorating marriage, her friends drifting apart, and an A.P.-heavy course load. Told from her perspective, the novel contains intense passages about loneliness, death, and human relationships intercut with seemingly factual information about the physical and emotional lives of elephants. Frequent remarks about the similarities between humans and animals often feel redundant, and the plot is more entertaining than Jade's animal anecdotes. Despite this, the novel takes on an interesting perspective that is not often shown in books–that teen parents can form meaningful and loving relationships with their peers.–Marie C. Hansen, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Upon learning that the substance for which she was named is one of the strongest materials ("stronger than steel"), Jade replies, "I don't feel strong." And for good reason: the 18-year-old suffers from panic attacks. Partly to pursue a calming activity and partly to meet the cute boy she has observed on the Seattle's zoo's Webcam, Jade volunteers at the zoo and begins work at the elephant house. In due course, she meets the boy, Sebastian, and they fall in love. But there are problems: Sebastian is a single father, and he has a secret that threatens to destroy Jade's hopes and dreams. Jade's first-person voice seems overly sophisticated, and her story is sometimes needlessly complex--especially when Caletti tries too hard to equate human and animal behavior. On the other hand, the author does a fine job of developing both principal and supporting characters (even the elephants are nicely differentiated), describing their emotions deeply as well as authentically. The love story is also quite captivating. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; First Edition edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416910050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416910053
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,292,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

First of all, a confession. I am a literary addict. I read endlessly, voraciously. In lieu of a book, I will read cereal boxes (Cap'N Crunch breakfast jokes, Special K Heart Smart facts), shampoo bottles, pamphlets in doctors' offices about kidney stones and allergies (neither of which I have), and even those self exam charts with the little arrows going around in circles. My books are multiplying, becoming furniture themselves - end tables, nightstands. On one wall, I have a bookshelf, minus the shelf. I get restless, even sad, when I leave a fictional world I love and am not yet immersed in another. The highest compliment I've gotten about one of my books was from a reader who said she read slower as she approached its end, rationed out the remaining pages because she couldn't bear for it to be finished. Oh, joy. I knew just what she meant.

I was happily hooked at a young age. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was one of those quiet kids carting home a stack of books. Was? Still am. My mother says there were several years where they never saw me; they just shoved reading material and food under my door (not true, but pretty close). My parents said I'd mess up my eyes reading at night in the back of the car. They were probably right.

Writing, too, was part of my life since I was six or seven. I would get an idea, then bolt off to write it down. A hippie teacher of mine gave encouragement. "Groovy," he'd scrawl, and I had a sense I was on to something. After we moved to the Seattle area when I was twelve, I continued writing - short stories, bad poetry, and later, lyrics.

Being a writer was the only thing I ever wanted to be, but I didn't have the courage to study creative writing in college. I pictured rooms full of people wearing berets and dressed in all black, talking about Turgenev, which sounded a lot like the noise that escaped my throat whenever I was in one of those courses where they asked you to read your work aloud. I worried I wouldn't have the talent, since I didn't own a beret and never wanted one. So I studied journalism. I worked on the radio station, reading the news. What I learned more than anything was that I wasn't a journalist. I earned my B.A. degree from the University of Washington, got married, won the Nobel prize (just seeing if you were still awake) and did PR work. I got serious about fiction writing after my children were born. I didn't want to be one of those people who talked about their dream but never did anything about it. That seemed sad. I worried I would end up sitting alone at the counter at Denny's eating pie and smoking cigarettes, and I've never even smoked. So I made a decision. I would write and keep writing, at least until I was published. No giving up, no going back. I would have the determination and persistence of a dog with a knotted sock.

I read everything on the craft, studied, took notes, wrote and wrote, until finally, finally my fifth book, QUEEN Of EVERYTHING, was published. I would say I'm self-taught, but it isn't true - all my years as a reader, all of those authors I read, taught me. From Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to Tess of the D'Urbervilles. From Encyclopedia Brown to The World According to Garp. Books are what inspire me to write, and to write better. I believe in their power. Books teach empathy and define our lives and times. Writers are our truth tellers, and I strive for honesty in my writing. I want my readers to recognize their own experiences and to see our shared humanity in my work - our mistakes, our triumphs, our pain, those small moments of rightness. I want my readers to miss my characters when the book is set down. If my reader says, "Oh yes, that's just how it is. I know - that's how I feel, too," then I've done my job. I've given what I can to my fellow addict, and maybe, just maybe, I've added a piece to her nightstand.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on May 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Jade doesn't know yet that she wants something more out of life - and that she is about to meet someone that will change her life.

Good student Jade is an overachiever who has developed panic disorder. Sometimes, the medicine she takes makes her antsy at night, so she's taken to watching the online elephant cam from her local zoo. One night, the camera shows her a young boy in a red jacket with a baby boy, and she is inexplicably drawn to them.

Throughout the course of her senior year, Jade finds herself feeling more and more out-of-place with her friends as they discuss their future plans. She's ready for her life to change, but she's not sure how. When she gets a job at the zoo and befriends the elephants and their caretakers, things seem right again.

Then she meets the boy in the red jacket face-to-face. As their relationship grows, secrets are revealed on both sides, and it is that relationship which ultimately gives her the strength to make some extremely difficult choices.

I have never worked with elephants. I never knew a Sebastian. I (thankfully) haven't suffered from panic attacks. But there was something about Jade that mirrored something in me, and that really made me connect with the character.

Deb Caletti's novels are all poignant, well-written, and solid. The Nature of Jade, my favorite of her works, is strong and true. Highly recommended to adults and teens, and placed high on my Best Books of 2007 list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beverly F. Brannon on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Nature of Jade" is an amazing, captivating book. The characters and plot are unique, and the style of writing is fresh. I love the relationship captured between Jade and elephants- it is truly heartwarming. I would highly recommend this book to animal lovers, or to anyone looking for a good read. You won't be dissapointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Jade has had a hard time living her life ever since she started getting panic attacks. The only thing that helps her stay calm is watching the elephants at the nearby zoo. She watches them from her bedroom on the webcam the zoo has installed, and that's where she first notices Sebastian. Jade watches for him and the baby he carries every day, curious. But when she meets him face to face months later, Jade begins to fall for him. She doesn't tell her parents, who are too preoccupied avoiding each other to notice her love life. She's afraid of what they might think about Sebastian being a teenage father, but for the first time in her life, she starts living without fear and worry. Things with Sebastian aren't simple or conventional, but they're right. But Sebastian is hiding a big secret, one that forces Jade to really decide what's right and what's wrong, and could threaten ruin everything.

The Nature of Jade is a thoughtful, sweet, and romantic novel with some very unique elements that will pull you right in. Jade is a very engaging and lively narrator that many readers will like immediately. She struggles with her anxiety disorder, but she refuses to let it define her or control who she wants to become. She fights it by finding what she's passionate about--caring for the elephants--and she gets involved. Her family is dysfunctional, but she deals with them the best she can, and her precocious little brother provides lots of comic relief. Sebastian and his little boy can't appear enough in this book. He's everything a girl could wish for in a guy, but he's not perfect either. Their romance is sweet, but not uncomplicated and he and Jade work well together. However, this book's main emphasis is on the importance of family and doing what's right, which Jade struggles with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erica on December 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Nature of Jade was my first Deb Caletti book. It was a very sweet book, but I found it very slow moving. There were aspects I really liked about it, yet others I wasn't crazy about.

The beginning of the story I had a major issue getting into. It wasn't until probably about a third of the way into the book that I really started enjoying it. I found the events of the book to be slightly awkward, in the sense that the nature of the relationship that occurs starts in a mildly creepy way. Furthermore, the relationship, to me, felt like it lacked substance. There was moments of genuinity, but I didn't feel that was consistant throughout the entire book.

I really liked the majority of the plotplot. I absolutely loved every scene with the elephants. I thought that was the most amazing thing ever, and I loved everything to deal with them. Everything with the elephants was so heartwarming.

The characters were really admirable. I loved Bo, he was too cute and I loved every scene with him! It just made me smile. Jade was a character, that at times was a bit too much for me. On the other hand I really could connect with her as I have anxiety issues myself. Sebastian was a good guy, almost too good. He seemed to really have no faults.

Being my first Deb Caletti book, I liked it, but it wasn't as amazing as I was expecting it to be. I will definitely be checking out the other books by Deb Caletti, to see what other stories she can whip up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Massaro on September 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
There's really no other way to put it: this book is amazing.

Let's start with the narrator. Jade is new, fresh, and the perfect representation of a high school girl with a Panic Disorder. Her thoughts are witty and entertaining to read. Deb Caletti did a really brilliant job on writing in her perspective. Every word had me captivated.

Then there's Sebastian. He's mature beyond his years, and Jade's attraction to him is predictable, but still beautiful to read about as you learn more and more about this mysterious character.

Of course, then there's the DeLuna family. From Jade's mom who loves going to school dances and is way too involved, to her father who spends hours working on his mini train station, to her little brother who wants nothing more than to read about Narnia rather than tackle other people in football.

You'll fall in love with the elephants Jade knows as if they were real people, and all the side characters are beautifully developed. The plot was twisty and had you wondering about what would come next. The ending was a little abrupt, but still great.

I think the summary on the back of the book is a little misleading, but still a killer hook. It brought me in, and I honestly couldn't put it down. Please buy this book. It's Deb Caletti at her best.
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