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 a hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 66/70
Cussing: Quite frequent throughout.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Many references to teenage drinking and drug use, but is not part of the plot.
Sexual Content: A lot of discussion/narration/reference to, and is part of the plot, but there are no gory details, for the most part. Some animal behavior stuff.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Not really.
I had trouble putting this book down. It was one of those stories that it doesn't matter how long it takes you; you just want to sit forever and absorb the beauty of the words, the ease of the voice. I was never rushing through a portion to get to the good stuff. I craved every single page.
Through this book, Deb Caletti displayed a deep respect for the animal kingdom, and for people too, but in ways you wouldn't expect. The whole novel becomes a symbol for how we as humans are just another race of beast with the same emotions, societies, priorities, and diversities. This is a good place to be, it says--a wonderful place.
The writing was fantastic, plain and simple. Perfectly balanced, fulfilling, dryly humorous, witty, empathetic, impossibly thoughtful and developed. Jade was a character I felt for deeply, a character I loved. Her emotions were concise yet genuine, and her life was somehow so interesting, despite the seeming ordinariness of much of it. It all comes back to the writing--beautiful.