Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Nature of Jade

'Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds'

Quoted from the inside fold of The Nature of Jade. Not altogether true, but not a lie either. I've never read her other books (which include The Queen of Everything, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, and Wild Roses) so I would have no idea if she has created real characters before, making this time a 'once again' moment. And the story wasn't exactly 'riveting' either. But that just means that the truthful 'breathless anticipation' was all the better because it came from reading an outstanding book, not just one with a can't-put-it-down-must-read interesting plot line. It wasn't 'riveting', it was good.

I don't even know why I like it--love it. I'm not even particularly fond of the way Deb Caletti writes. I don't like her style. It almost seems (I hope I'm not offending anyone) too...amateur, raw, unedited.

She won't become a favorite author. Don't expect me to start gushing about how much I love her. I don't. At all. The way she writes is ridiculously annoying to me.

But that doesn't keep me from coming back to this amazing book I've just read. This book with its good cover which is usually a sign of a good book (don't give me that 'don't judge a book by its cover' crap. In the case of books its mostly true. With humans, not so much, as Jade finds out in this book. But I'm getting ahead of myself...) I do have to agree with that person, whoever it was, that said the characters were real.

They are. They are in that since that they're nothing like your friends but still exactly like them.

Jade DeLuna, star of it all, has Panic Disorder. She's prone to anxiety attacks. There's two things that seem to help her most with this. The first is going to the zoo. Volunteering after school, between Calculus and all her AP classes, she becomes attached to the Elephants. Bamboo, Tombi, Flora, Chai, baby Hansa, and Onyx. All with their different personalities, just like humans. The second is him. The boy in the red jacket and the baby on his back. Sebastian. He has his own story and she gets caught up in it.

All the while, her family goes through rough patches. Horrible spells. Tsunamis, Hurricanes, and Doors Flying off Airplanes bad moments.

Jade lives through it and (at the risk of sounding horribly cheesy and cliche) learns about herself.

And it's not just a girl book. Right now, I'm trying to imagine any one of my guy friends reading it and can't, but it could be a guy's book. If guys can read Twilight and be completely in love with it...It's told in female perspective, but definitely not girly.

I give it 4 stars (just stars for now until I can think of some cooler object to label it with).

Yours Truly,


(first review, how did I do?)
And now for Caroline's imput:
I had several issues with The Nature of Jade- the writing style, of course, was really annoying at times. That didn't bother me quite as much as I thought it would, but I wasn't crazy about it by any means. Surprisingly, though, it wasn't my biggest problem with the book.
Sebastian, the boy in the red jacket, is introduced within the first chapter- maybe even the first few pages. The way Jade reacts to him makes things clear: he's going to be important; he's going to be "THE BOY". If the overly revealing jacket description hadn't already declared him "THE BOY", there is still no question about it. Jade hasn't even met him yet, but you know. It's him.
The fact that Jade hasn't met him yet begins as a cool sort of spin on the whole thing, but soon becomes annoying. She just happens to go on the day he stops coming? Not just the day he missed, but the day he gives up altogether? This is very frustrating, because, clearly, he is THE BOY. He'll be important eventually, gosh darn it, and I'm a bit of an impatient reader. I want him to be important NOW.
But that can be forgiven, on it's own. He finally shows up, asks her out after two meetings(thank the Lord, they didn't drag out THAT process)- and they become a sort of something. I like Sebastian- I like his sweet charm and his bookstore employment and his hot chocolate and his son- but I don't like the way it takes forever to get to know him.
Another complaint(Wow, I have quite a few of those today...) was that the conversation was kind of... I don't know. Fake. Contrived? I mean, quite alot of it was good. But some... some was sort of annoying. Like, it would be great, it'd be like listening in on actual peoples conversations, yes, yes, go on- Ouch. No. Stop. Nobody would really say that.
Finally-(yes, I'll move on to the nice things after this)- I didn't like how big, huge, important things were more or less ignored, only to be brought up in wierd ways and then NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. For instance, here is a quote from the book; part of a scene in which Jade is talking to her psycologist.
"Some things aren't their business."
"Like sleeping with him."
-The Nature of Jade, Deb Caletti, etc...
Ahem. Yeah. Has their intimacy been previously mentioned? No. Do they ever bring it up again? Ha. No. Too easy. That would be predictable, or something.
They do this again, with something else in the book. Something huge and terrible; something that should have been addressed. Things like this get on my nerves to no end- and there were alot of things like that in this book. It really annoyed me, alot of the time. But somehow, inexplicably, I really liked this book.
I might even love it, oddly enough. Because, despite the many logistical problems and grammatical errors, it was a good book, a sweet read, and my only comfort on this awful day.
The only element that I can honestly say I loved were the characters. Despite occassional dialogue problems, they were so real; so unstereotyped and lovely. Every character felt like a close friend, or at least someone I knew very well. I found Jade completely fascinating, adored Sebastian and Bo and Tess, and knew all of Jade's friends.
I have to say, though, the character who I loved the most was Jade's little brother, Oliver. Their relationship completely fascinated me. I've always wanted a little brother. Or a big brother, even, but a little brother would be great. Oliver, with his endearing Narnia obsession and love for Jade and horror at the thought of divorce, is the sweetest thing; all I would ever want in a sibling. So he was my favorite character, but they were all pretty amazing.
I give the nature of Jade three cups of delicious, smoking hot coffee- plus another one that I spilled half of on the floor.
Yours (or, actually, Sebastian's),


Caroline said...

Le review est tres bon!!
Don't ask me why I'm speaking french. I rarely have any idea why I am speaking french, especially in French class. <3
Anyway, the review is good, and you have all these neat special effects that my reviews will probably not have. :\
Because I am not so superbly talented as you. Yay for our first review!!

Chelsea said...

I absolutely love this book, and Deb Caletti's other ones. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her upcoming release Fortunes of Indigo Skye, and I'm so excited to start it!