The Nature of Jade by Deb CalettiThe Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

The Nature of Jade

byDeb Caletti

Paperback | October 28, 2015

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A beautifully rendered coming-of-age story from the National Book Award finalist and author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart.

I am not my illness. "Girl with Anxiety," "Trauma of the Week" -- no. I hate stuff like that. Everyone, everyone has their issue. But the one thing my illness did make me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can't.

Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can't quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she's trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That's why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that's where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.

His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian's cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she's in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn't felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real, you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds.
Title:The Nature of JadeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:October 28, 2015Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416910069

ISBN - 13:9781416910060

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! The Nature of Jade is one of my favourite Deb Caletti novels. Definitely a great book for teens!
Date published: 2017-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love it A great book to read, this well-written story deals with panic/anxiety attacks and treatment of the disorder. Jade is an extremely mature for her age and responsible teen. Her family life is strained and her parents eventually separate, but her relationship with her brother is healthy and nurturing. Jade lies to her parents for an extended period of time, which parents may want to discuss with their teen. Important messages about loving, letting go, making adult decisions, and following your heart are beautifully conveyed.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Read! I went into The Nature of Jade with no expectations whatsoever. I had never read a Deb Caletti book before, and no I know had or had told me about any of her books. This was just a spur of the moment “what random book do I have on my shelf” kind of read. And I can tell you, I’m glad I picked it up! It’s not the best book I’ve read by a long shot, but it was a book that I could relate to on a lot of levels. Jade is a girl who is just one year younger than myself and is finishing up her last year of high school. She’s worrying about keeping up with all of her AP classes and assignments, trying to figure out which university to attend, and of course, there’s a boy who has piqued her interest!!! Last year, I was going through all of those things myself, luckily though, I do not suffer from anxiety like Jade. Even so, I was totally able to relate to how she was feeling about having so many important decisions to make at what we both believe is such a young age! Jade’s relationship with her mother was something I could also draw parallels with. Some of the conversations she was having with her mom were the exact same one’s I’ve had with mine. I swear to you, DEB CALETTI RECORDED MY CONVERSATIONS AND USED THEM IN THIS BOOK. Just kidding, obviously, but it totally seemed like that!!! Oh right, the boy. Jade first sees “red jacket boy” on her computer screen while watching a live feed of the elephants at the zoo near her house. He simply shows up with a baby on his back, and watches the elephants. He caught Jade’s attention though, and she wasn’t planning on never meeting him in real life!! When we finally meet the boy, we learn his name is Sebastian, and that the baby is in fact his. I don’t want to give away anything too important here, so I’ll just say this: he has a secret, and a bad one at that. Also, he works in a bookstore!! How awesome?! I wish the boy that I started to date last year worked at a bookstore, and a quaint and cozy one like Sebastian! Final Thoughts: Although slow to start, The Nature of Jade began to pick up about 70 pages in, and I am so glad I stuck with it. I loved how Jade spent a lot of her time volunteering at the zoo with the elephants, because any time the elephants and their actions her written of I just absolutely loved it! I was never a huge elephant fan before this book, but now they seem so sweet, and it’s cool to see how much they can act like humans in their emotions. This is a great book to read if you’re a teenager just starting to make their way in the world at college or university, if you’re in high school like Jade, if you too suffer from a panic disorder, or even if you just plain like contemporary YA books!
Date published: 2013-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I loved this book for so many reasons. For one it referenced animals and took place at the zoo sometimes, and for a huge animal lover i really loved this book. In a way i saw myself in Jade, where she doesn't really know herself, just going with the motions, and then discovers herself and grows, and becomes strong and learns to love, and care, and to lose. I really really loved this book, and couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone, young or old!
Date published: 2010-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I love Deb Caletti's books. I always feel that she captures emotions and feelings so well that we really get a sense of the character. Jade's a teenager with anxiety disorder and is afraid of dying. She calms herself by watching the elephants at the zoo when she spots a young man. There is a connection even though they yet to meet. Amid arguing friends, her job as an elephant keeper, university applications, and her parents growing discontent to each other, she comes to know and fall in love with the boy with a son and a more troubled past than she first thought. Jade's got lots of decisions to make, and she's intent on standing up for what and who she believes in. Loved it!
Date published: 2009-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Teen Read I really liked this book and want to read more by this author. Jade is a senior in high school and is about 18 years old. She has been suffering from panic attacks and doesn't love going out any more - she worries she would take an attack and throw up in front of people. How embarassing would that be?! So she spends a lot of time in her room, and watches the elephant cam from the near by Seattle zoo. And then she sees a boy watching the elephants. Sometimes in the afternoon with a baby and sometimes late at night after the zoo is closed. She wonders about him so much. Then Jade actually ends up volunteering at the zoo. She is so scared at first - the elephants are so big. But it becomes the most important part of her life. Her family life is a little rough - her little brother is being forced to play sports by their dad. Her dad spends most of his time in the basement with his train set. Her mom goes to more school dances than she does. Jade learns a lot from the elephants - how some elephants are more like people than people. She meets the boy. She faces a lot of choices. It was a great book and all fans of Sarah Dessen would really like this book - but it isn't quite as good as Sarah Dessen!
Date published: 2008-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect un-chicklit style The Nature of Jade is a mature teen novel about an important stage of growing up, from teenage to adulthood. Seventeen-going-on-eighteen-year-old Jade is having trouble coping with her family and life's usual struggles in late teenagehood. So to cope, she calms herself by visiting and helping out with the elephants at a nearby zoo. One day, while pursuing her daily routine, Jade meets a special boy named Sebastian. Soon, her inner-instincts click, and she knows that Sebastian is the perfect guy for her. But . . . there is a catch: Sebastian has a baby - one that he's raising on his own. When Jade learns the deepest secrets behind Sebastian's and his baby's lives, she is torn between two worlds; what means more to her? Her family or Sebastian's love? Though it's a brilliant work of fiction, I really found the topics covered in this novel to be realistic and easy to relate to. I can't believe the level of integrity Deb Caletti integrated into this story. The story plot and content may show a hint of chicklit, but don't be fooled; this book is far from the mundane world of chicklit that most older teenage girls have had enough of. For all mature teenagers, who are interested in reading about a book of courage, strength and the struggles that come with teenage/young adulthood life, don't hesitate to pick up The Nature of Jade. And don't be scared if you're a guy; this book will find its place in the hearts of guys and gals alike.
Date published: 2007-08-14

Read from the Book

Chapter One Humans may watch animals, but animals also watch humans. The Australian Lyrebird not only observes humans, but from its forest perch, imitates them, as well. It's been known to make the sound of trains, horns, motors, alarms, and even chainsaws... -- Dr. Jerome R. Clade, The Fundamentals of Animal Behavior When you live one and a half blocks away from a zoo like I do, you can hear the baboons screeching after it gets dark. It can scare the crap out of you when you're not used to it, as I found out one night right after we moved in. I thought a woman was being strangled. I actually screamed, and my mom came running in my room and so did my dad, wearing these hideous boxers with Santas on them, which meant he'd gotten to the bottom of his underwear drawer. Even Oliver stumbled in, half asleep in his football pajamas, with his eyes squinched from the light my parents flicked on. The conversation went something like this: Dad: God, Jade. Zoo animals! Baboons, for Christ's sake. Mom: I knew we should never have moved to the city. Oliver (peering at Dad with a dazed expression): Isn't it August? I was told once, though, that we really would have something to fear if there ever were a big earthquake, like they're always saying is going to happen at any moment here in Seattle. Then we'd be living in the most dangerous part of the city. See, all the electrical fences are, well, electrical, and so if the power went out for any length of time there'd be lions and tigers (and bears, oh my) running loose, panicked and hungry. You hear a lot of false facts around the zoo -- you've got the husbands incorrectly correcting wives ("No, ha ha. Only the males have tusks, honey"), and you've got those annoying eight-year-olds you can find at nearly any exhibit, who know entirely too much about mole rats, for example, and who can't wait for the chance to insert their superior knowledge into any overheard conversation ("Actually, those teeth are his incisors, and they're used for protection against his greatest enemy, the rufous-beaked snake"). But this bit of frightening trivia came from one of the Woodland Park zookeepers, so I knew it was true. That's one of the reasons I have the live zoo webcam on in my room to begin with, and why I see the boy that day. I don't mean I keep it on to be on alert for disaster or anything like that, but because I find it calming to watch the elephants. I also take this medicine that sometimes revs me up a little at night, and they're good company when no one else is awake. Besides, elephants are just cool. They've got all the range of human emotion, from jealousy and love to rage and depression and playfulness. They have one-night stands and then kick the guy out. They get pissed off at their friends and relatives or the people who care for them, and hold a grudge until they get a sincere apology. They are there for each other during all the phases of their lives. A baby is born, and they help it into the world, trumpeting and stamping their feet in celebration. A family member dies, and they bury the body with sticks and then mourn with terrible cries, sometimes returning years later to revisit the bones and touch them lovingly with their trunks. They're just this group of normally abnormal creatures going through the ups and downs of life with big hearts, mood swings, and huge, swingy-assed togetherness. When we moved into our brick townhouse in Hawthorne Square by the zoo during my first year of high school, I had this plan that I'd go there every day to watch the gorillas and take notes about their behavior. I'd notice things no one else had, make some amazing discovery. I had this romantic idea of being Diane Fossey/Jane Goodall/Joy Adamson. I liked the idea of bouncy, open-air Jeeps and I liked the outfits with all the pockets, only I didn't really want to live in Africa and be shot by poachers/get malaria/get stabbed to death. Bars between gorillas and me sounded reasonable. I went over to the zoo and brought this little foldout chair Dad used for all of Oliver's soccer and baseball and basketball games, and I sat and watched the gorillas a few times. The only problem was, it felt more like they were watching me. They gave me the creeps. The male was the worst. His name is Vip, which sounds like some breezy nickname a bunch of Ivy Leaguers might give their jock buddy, but Vip was more like those freaky men you see at the downtown bus stops. The ones who silently watch you walk past and whose eyes you can still feel on you a block later. Vip would hold this stalk of bark in his Naugahyde hand, chewing slowly, keeping his gaze firmly on me. I'd move, and just his eyes would follow me, same as those paintings in haunted-house movies. If that wasn't bad enough, Vip was also involved in a tempestuous love triangle. A while back, Vip got gorilla Amanda pregnant, and when she lost the baby, he ditched her for Jumoke. He got her pregnant too, and after Jumoke had the baby, Amanda went nuts and stole it and the authorities had to intervene. It was like a bad episode of All My Primates. So I moved on to the elephants, and as soon as I saw Chai and baby Hansa and Bamboo and Tombi and Flora, I couldn't get enough of them. Baby Hansa's goofy fluff of hair is enough to hook you all by itself. They are all just so peaceful and funny that they get into your heart. When you look in their eyes, you see sweet thoughts. And then there's Onyx, too, of course. One notched ear, somber face. Always off by herself in a way that makes you feel sad for her. I didn't even need the little soccer chair, because there's a nice bench right by the elephants. I went once a week for a few months, but after a while I got busy with school and it was winter, and so I decided to just watch them from home most of the time. There are two live webcams for the elephants, one inside the elephant house and one in their outdoor environment, so even when the elephants were brought in at night, I could see them. Twenty-four hours a day, the cam is on, for the pachyderm obsessed. I got in the habit of just leaving the screen up when I wasn't using my computer to write a paper or to IM my friends. Now I switch back and forth between the cams so I can always see what's going on, even if the gang is just standing around sleeping. I never did really write anything in my "research notebook" (how embarrassing -- I even wrote that on the front); making some great discovery about elephant behavior kind of went in the big-ideas-that-fizzled-out department of my brain. But the elephants got to be a regular part of my life. Watching them isn't always thrilling and action packed, but I don't care. See, what I really like is that no matter what high-stress thing is going on in my world or in the world as a whole (Christmas, SATs, natural disasters, plane crashes, having to give a speech and being worried to death I might puke), there are the elephants, doing their thing. Just being themselves. Eating, walking around. They aren't having Christmas, or giving a speech, or stressing over horrible things in the news. They're just having another regular elephant day. Not worrying, only being. That's why the elephant site is up on my computer right then, when I see the boy. I am stretched out on my bed and the elephants are cruising around on the screen, but I'm not even really watching them. My room's on the second floor of our townhouse, and if you lie there and look out the window, all you see is sky -- this square of glass filled with moving sky, like a cloud lava lamp. Sometimes it's pink and orange and purples, unreal colors, and other times it's backlit white cotton candy, and other times it's just a sea of slow-moving monochrome. I'm just lying there thinking lazy, hazy cloudlike thoughts when I sit up and the computer catches my eye. The outdoor cam is on, which includes a view of the elephants' sprawling natural habitat. Chai is there with baby Hansa, and they are both rooting around in a pile of hay. But what I see is a flash of color, red, and I stop, same as a fish stops at the flash of a lure underwater. The red -- it's a jacket. A boy's jacket. When the outdoor cam is on, you can see part of the viewing area, too, and the people walking through it. At first it's this great big voyeuristic thrill to realize you can see people who are right there, right then, people who are unaware that you're watching them from your bedroom. There's probably even some law that the zoo is breaking that they don't know about. But trust me, the people get boring soon enough. It's like when you read blogs and you get this snooping-in-diaries kind of rush, until you realize that all they talk about is how they should write more often. People's patterns of behavior are so predictable. At the zoo, they stay in front of the elephants for about twelve seconds, point to different things, take a photo, move on. The most excitement you get is some kid trying to climb over the fence or couples who are obviously arguing. But this time, the red jacket compels me to watch. And I see this guy, and he has a baby in a backpack. The thing is, he's young. He can't be more than a year or two older than I am, although I'm pathetic at guessing age, height, and distance, and still can't grasp the how-many-quarts-in-a-liter type question, in spite of the fact that I'm usually a neurotic overachiever. So maybe he's not so young, but I'm sure he is. And that brings up a bunch of questions: Is he babysitting this kid? Is it his huge-age-difference brother? It can't be his, can it? The boy turns sideways so that the baby can see the elephants better. Baby? Or would you call him a toddler? I can't tell -- somewhere in between, maybe. The boy is talking to the baby, I can see. The baby looks happy. Here is what I notice. There is an ease between them, a calm, same as with zebras grazing in a herd, or swallows flying in a neat triangle. Nature has given them a rightness with each other. My friend Hannah, who I've known since I first moved to Seattle, would say I am interested in the boy on the screen only because he's cute. Hannah, though, seemed to wake up one day late in junior year with a guy obsession so intense that it transformed her from this reasonable, sane person into a male-seeking missile. God, sorry if this is crude, but she had begun to remind me of those baboons that flaunt their red butts around when they're in heat. Talking to her lately, it goes like this: Me: How did you do on the test? I couldn't think of anything to write on that second essay question. Hannah: God, Jason Espanero is hot. Me: I don't think it's fair to give an essay question based on a footnote no one even read. Hannah: He must work out. Me: I heard on the news that a fiery comet is about to crash into the earth and kill us all sometime this afternoon. Hannah: He's just got the sweetest ass. It is true that the guy on the screen's cute -- tousled, curly brown hair, tall and thin, shy-looking -- but that's not what keeps me watching. What keeps me there are the questions, his story. It's The Airport Game: Who are those people in those seats over there? Why are they going to San Francisco? Are they married? She's reading a poetry book, he's writing in a journal. Married literature professors? Writers? Weekend fling? The boy doesn't take a photo and move on. Already, he is not following a predictable path. He stands there for a long time. The baby wears this blue cloth hat with a brim over his little blond head. The boy leans down over the rail, crosses his arms in front of himself. The baby likes this, pats the boy's head, though the boy is probably leaning only to relieve the weight of the backpack. The boy watches Hansa and Chai, and then Hansa wanders off. Still, he stands with his arms crossed, staring and thinking. What is on his mind? His too-youthful marriage? His nephew/brother on his back? The college courses he is taking in between the nanny job? Finally, the boy stands straight again. Arches his back to stretch. I realize I have just done the same, as if I can feel the weight of that backpack. You pass a bunch of people in a day -- people in their cars, in the grocery store, waiting for their coffee at an espresso stand. You look at apartment buildings and streets, the comings and goings, elevators crawling up and down, and each person has their own story going on right then, with its cast of characters; they've got their own frustrations and their happiness and the things they're looking forward to and dreading. And sometimes you wonder if you've crossed paths with any of them before without knowing it, or will one day cross their path again. But sometimes, too, you have this little feeling of knowing, this fuzzy, gnawing sense that someone will become a major something in your life. You just know that theirs will be a life you will enter and become part of. I feel that sense, that knowing, when I look at this boy and this baby. It is a sense of the significant. He stands and the baby does something that makes me laugh. He grabs a chunk of the boy's hair in each of his hands, yanks the boy's head back. Man, that has to hurt. Oh, ouch. But the baby thinks it is a real crack-up, and starts to laugh. He puts his open mouth down to the boy's head in some baby version of a kiss. The boy's head is tilted to the sky. He reaches his arms back and unclenches the baby's fingers from his hair. But once he is free, he keeps his chin pointed up, just keeps staring up above. He watches the backlit cotton candy clouds in a lava-lamp sky, and it is then I am sure this is a story I'll be part of. Copyright © 2007 by Deb Caletti