The Nature of Jade
written by Deb Caletti
Jade DeLuna is a girl who is going through her senior year of high school coming to terms with life with an anxiety disorder. The animal lover in her is pleased by a volunteering job at the zoo, and the boy-crazy part of her has been captivated by a mysterious boy in a red jacket, who just happens to have a son. Deb Caletti brings to life fresh new characters with her usual amazing, crisp writing, full of beautifully composed teenage dialogue and thought. However, while Jade DeLuna may not be her illness, she sure talks about it an awful lot. Her constant reassurances that her disorder didn't mean a thing just got repetitive, and it's pretty obvious that, yes, it does mean something, and yes, she made too big a deal of it. I know people who deal with anxiety disorders, and unlike Jade, they don't dance around in front of you screaming "Hey, hey, look at me, I have ANXIETY ATTACKS! But I'm fine, really, don't worry about it!" It got to be extremely aggravating, and somehow, Jade's constant mentioning of the disorder ended up giving it a negative image, something the literary world needs desperately to avoid when dealing with serious topics such as mental health. I also disliked the ending, specifically, the vagueness. I would have liked to have actually seen the ending, as opposed to an allusion to what might probably happen. The book, as seemingly all of Caletti's do, had fresh writing, but ended up just lacking that critical punch necessary, just had to end tragically. I don't think this woman believes in happy endings, and that's a very sad thought.