Synopses & Reviews
I am not my illness. "Girl with Anxiety," "Trauma of the Week" no. I hate stuff like that. Everyone, everyone has their issue. But the one thing my illness did make me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can't.
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 hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.
Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real, you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds.
"When 17-year-old Jade sees a curly-haired boy on a zoo Web camera a boy with a baby on his back she gets that 'little feeling of knowing, this fuzzy, gnawing sense that someone will become a major something in your life.' After she volunteers to work with the elephants, she meets and falls in love with Sebastian, and is quickly drawn into his complicated life including his dangerous secret. Jade's life has its own complexities, such as a 'missing in action' father, and a mother who is overly involved in Jade's high school. Caletti's (Wild Roses) multilayered novel interweaves many plot points; the fascinating anecdotes about animal behavior that begin each chapter ground the story, as does the guidance of Jade's gentle counselor. Some characters do not fully come alive, such as the brokenhearted elephant keeper Damian, who mourns the pachyderm he left behind in India. (Readers will likely take to Damian regardless, and appreciate his part in teaching Jade that she is like her name, 'One of the strongest materials. Stronger than steel.') The author offers a rather unflinching look at realistically complicated lives; readers will root for Jade as she begins to learn that she can't 'put things into separate compartments: right, wrong, good, bad' especially when it comes to the people she loves. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Smart, engaging (and occasionally awkward) first-person narration, genuinely complex relationships and strong secondary characters...combine to make this a sure hit for fans of Sarah Dessen....All in all, a pleasure." Kirkus Reviews
"With intelligent yet emotion-drenched prose, Caletti expertly weaves a story of humor and pathos featuring a cast of unforgettable, multi-faceted human and animal characters." Children's Literature
"Jade's first-person voice seems overly sophisticated, and her story is sometimes needlessly complex....On the other hand, the author does a fine job of developing [her] characters...describing their emotions deeply as well as authentically. The love story is also quite captivating." Booklist
"In telling about Jade and Sebastian, Caletti pushes her readers to consider these same moral choices, and perhaps to realize that sometimes there are no correct answers in life." KLIATT
Seattle high school senior Jade's life is defined by her anxiety disorder and dysfunctional family, until she spies a mysterious boy with a baby who seems to share her fascination with the elephants at a nearby zoo.
National Book Award finalist Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart) pens another beautifully rendered coming-of-age story. When 17-year-old Jade DeLuna, who has been diagnosed with panic disorder, becomes involved with single teenage father Sebastian, she feels safe until she learns his secret.
While watching the elephants on the zoo webcam in her room in the hopes of keeping her panic disorders in check, Jade notices Sebastian for the first time and falls hard, but after learning more about him and his secrets, Jade must be careful not to pursue a relationship she knows is not the right one for her.
About the Author
Deb Caletti's first novel for teens was The Queen of Everything
, which was nominated for YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults, and was chosen for PSLA's Top Forty of 2003 and the International Reading Association's Young Adult Choices for 2004. Deb lives with her family part-time on acreage in Issaquah, a Seattle suburb, and part-time in the city on a houseboat. When she is not writing books or reading them, Deb is a painter, a lyricist, and a lecturer. She is currently at work on her next book for teens. You can visit her at www.debcaletti.com