Toronto zoo, 2008
As you are reading this, we are spending the day at the Toronto Zoo once again. I thought it would be appropriate to post pictures from 3 years ago for the occasion, but I’m sure I’ll have even more to share when we come back! 😀
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The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Pages : 288
Genre : YA, Fiction
My Rating :
What it’s about :
Living with a panic disorder for a couple years now, Jade does her best to live a normal life. To keep her calm, she spends a lot of her time watching the zoo’s elephants, on place but also from her computer at home.
One day, Jade notices a boy her age with a young child visiting the elephants, and their friendship is immediate. They understand each other, and Jade soon finds herself spending much of her time if not with him, at least thinking about him. Between Sebastian’s secrets and her own family issues, Jade’s life is about to be turned upside down.
My Thoughts :
I wasn’t aware of how much I enjoyed The Nature of Jade until I turned the last page and felt disappointed that it was over. It was a good ending, but I would easily have read more of Jade’s story. Caletti’s writing was just really easy to slip into, and Jade was an interesting character.
As someone living with a panic disorder, I could understand what Jade was living through but also admire the talent with which Caletti described Jade’s problem. I don’t know if a reader who hasn’t experienced this before would react the same way, but personally, Jade’s description of her first panic attack was so well written that I immediately thought of how similar to mine it was. My experience is that panic attacks are extremely difficult to understand for someone who hasn’t been through them, but in this case, I felt the author portrayed them really well.
What I appreciated of all this though, was how Jade’s story wasn’t really about her disorder. It is mentioned often, yes, and it does define some of her actions; but mainly, this is the story of Jade and Sebastian meeting, and her disorder is only a condition they have to deal with, like Jade’s family or Sebastian’s secrets. Jade isn’t her illness, and it is made really clear from the start as Jade explains her situation quickly so we can move on to more interesting things.
While I loved Jade, I felt a bit underwhelmed towards Sebastian. Maybe because he kept so much for himself, I couldn’t connect with him. I did connect with Jade’s family though, which I thought was a much more important piece of the story than the book’s summary (or mine) would suggest. Jade’s relationship with her brother was one of my favorite things – that and the elephants, of course! 🙂