Beverly B, August 4, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Jasper Jones is an intense read on several levels. The story has a gripping opening that leads the reader to believe Jasper Jones is a mystery, and it is, partly. Young protagonist, Charlie, often makes references to his latest favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird, and there many similarities in these two novels. Jasper Jones is set in 1960's small rural town Australia. Like To Kill A Mockingbird, Charlie's town is being poisoned by poverty, prejudice, gossip, alcoholism and despair. Charlie ends up in the center of the town's unraveling when he promises his classmate, Jasper, he will keep a horrible secret about something Jasper has discovered - a secret that is the inciting event for dragging all of the town's deplorable secrets out in the open. "And I see it. And everything changes. I'm screaming, but they are muffled screams. I can't breathe in. I feel like I'm underwater. Deaf and drowning..." "We can't tell anybody Charlie. We have to find out who did this." Charlie is just trying to do the right thing, but how can it be right, if it is causing so many negative consequences?
The first thing readers will think is, how are two young teens going to solve such a huge mystery? The mystery doesn't crop up again for 200 pages. Most of the story focuses on Charlie trying to survive his decision to keep the secret and his trying to understand what is happening to all of these people he has known all of his life. But when the Charlie and Jasper finally step up to solve the mystery, it brings surprise twists and s surprise ending. Like To Kill A Mockingbird, Jasper Jones is foremost a coming of age story. Also like To Kill A Mockingbird, it does not have a happily ever after ending, but it does have a realistic and satisfying ending.
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