Title: The Nature of Jade
Author: Deb Caletti
Genre: Realistic YA Fiction
Number of Pages: 304
Jade is an elephant-obsessed teenage girl who spends a lot of time at the local zoo. She also suffers from an anxiety disorder and has recurring panic attacks, and is the daughter of a smothering mom and an emotionally absent dad. When Jade first sees a teen boy with a baby on her elephant-watching live cam at home, she becomes fascinated by him.
When she meets him and finds out his name is Sebastian and he’s a teenage father, they hit it off almost immediately and embark in a tender romance. When Sebastian talks about the baby’s mom, though, Jade gets the feeling he’s not telling her the whole story and when she finds out the truth it complicates everything a throws a wrench in their burgeoning relationship.
Even though I’m not a big fan of romance, I was interested in this book’s mental health rep (I have severe OCD and my younger sister has chronic social anxiety, so it’s safe to say we’re no strangers to some of Jade’s experiences.) Jade is a cool character and even though Sebastian feels a little ‘too good to be true’- endlessly patient, supportive, and compassionate- it’s hard not to root for Jade to find happiness with him and his super-cute son, Bo.
Jade’s brother is cute too and her parents are a believable combination of dysfunction and moral ambiguity. Each chapter starts with a fact about animal behavior, and some of them were really interesting! This and the show Atypical have also made me want to set up a cam on my computer to watch animals in captivity. One thing I did not like was the handling of Jade’s mom cheating on her dad.
Sebastian’s grandmother pretty much told her not be judgmental and that it was equally her dad’s fault for not attending to his wife’s needs- yeah, I’m pretty sure NO ONE would be saying that if the genders were reversed. There’s definitely some hypocrisy going on there. Even though it wasn’t without it’s share of flaws, I enjoyed this book and I would even be interested in reading more of Deb Caletti’s books (even though they all seem pretty heavy on romance.)