The Nature of Jade- Deb Caletti

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High school senior Jade DeLuna’s life is saved by a herd of elephants. Was she really in danger? Depends who you ask. Jade has panic disorder, and her brain tricks her into thinking that even ordinary situations are dangerous. There are things that help: cough drops, patron saint candles, tapping door frames, and watching the Seattle zoo elephant webcam on her computer.

Jade’s not sure why these gigantic, borderline frightening animals calm her down. But one day she signs the volunteer waiver, climbs into overalls, and walks into the elephant house. Subsequently, she spends her afternoons bathing and playing with elephants.

Which is how she meets red jacket boy, whom she first glimpsed on the zoo webcam. He’s even better in person, and soon Jade has a secret boyfriend to run to while things with her friends and family are driving her crazy. Jade, like her name, is unexpectedly strong, and by the end of the book she and her readers have almost forgotten about her anxiety.

I loved being in Jade’s head- the writing is solid and her thoughts are intriguing. I also loved the Seattle setting for obvious reasons…Caletti spends part of her time on a houseboat and part in Issaquah, not too far from where my parents live.

ps- there is an escaped murderer loose in my neighborhood!

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