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    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    BOOKENDS: The Nature of Jade
    The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
    A book about fears, friends, anxiety, secrets, and... elephants. Jade has been diagnosed with panic disorder -- when she has anxiety attacks she gets dizzy and terrified and loses her breath. And so she uses the zoo webcam in the elephant exhibit to keep calm. There's something about those elephants.... One day Jade notices a guy in a red jacket with a baby stopping too look at the elephants. He returns again and again, and Jade can't help but be curious about this guy who seems to appreciate the elephants the same way she does. When she starts to volunteer at the elephant house, she gathers up the courage to meet him -- and his son. And what she discovers in them -- the secrets, the dangers, the wonder -- changes her life, but not her nature: the nature of jade.
    A fantastic and realistic story about family and school troubles, layered with anxiety and fears and courage to survive another day. The characters were not stereotypes and all seem to have their troubles and their strengths. Jade's community of classmates, zoo workers, family, and neighbors could all be your own classmates, neighbors, family, and locals. A well-written book, good characters, good story that I definitely recommend -- especially to someone with family or fears or college applications or a therapist or a crush or classmates or friends or a fondness for elephants.
    Y FICTION Caletti

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