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.
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March 01, 2008
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Excerpt from Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Chapter One Humans may watch animals, but animals also watch humans. The Australian Lyrebird not only observes humans, but from its forest perch, imitates them, as well. It's been known to make the sound of trains, horns, motors, alarms, and even chainsaws...-- Dr. Jerome R. Clade,The Fundamentals of Animal BehaviorWhen you live one and a half blocks away from a zoo like I do, you can hear the baboons screeching after it gets dark. It can scare the crap out of you when you're not used to it, as I found out one night right after we moved in. I thought a woman was being strangled. I actually screamed, and my mom came running in my room and so did my dad, wearing these hideous boxers with Santas on them, which meant he'd gotten to the bottom of his underwear drawer. Even Oliver stumbled in, half asleep in his football pajamas, with his eyes squinched from the light my parents flicked on.The conversation went something like this:Dad: God, Jade. Zoo animals! Baboons, for Christ's sake.Mom: I knew we should never have moved to the city.Oliver (peering at Dad with a dazed expression): Isn't it August?I was told once, though, that we really would have something to fear if there ever were a big earthquake, like they're always saying is going to happen at any moment here in Seattle. Then we'd be living in the most dangerous part of the city. See, all the electrical fences are, well, electrical, and so if the power went out for any length of time there'd be lions and tigers (and bears, oh my) running loose, panicked and hungry. You hear a lot of false facts around the zoo -- you've got the husbands incorrectly correcting wives ("No, ha ha. Only the males have tusks, honey"), and you've got those annoying eight-year-olds you can find at nearly any exhibit, who know entirely too much about mole rats, for example, and who can't wait for the chance to insert their superior knowledge into any overheard conversation ("Actually, those teeth are his incisors, and they're used for protection against his greatest enemy, the rufous-beaked snake"). But this bit of frightening trivia came from one of the Woodland Park zookeepers, so I knew it was true.That's one of the reasons I have the live zoo webcam on in my room to begin with, and why I see the boy that day. I don't mean I keep it on to be on alert for disaster or anything like that, but because I find it calming to watch the elephants. I also take this medicine that sometimes revs me up a little at night, and they're good company when no one else is awake. Besides, elephants are just cool. They've got all the range of human emotion, from jealousy and love to rage and depression and playfulness. They have one-night stands and then kick the guy out. They get pissed off at their friends and relatives or the people who care for them, and hold a grudge until they get a sincere apology. They are there for each other during all the phases of their lives. A baby is born, and they help it into the world, trumpeting and stamping their feet in celebration. A family member dies, and they bury the body with sticks and then mourn with terrible cries, sometimes returning years later to revisit the bones and touch them lovingly with their trunks. They're just this group of normally abnormal creatures going through the ups and downs of life with big hearts, mood swings, and huge, swingy-assed togetherness.When we moved into our brick townhouse in Hawthorne Square by the zoo during my first year of high school, I had this plan that I'd go there every day to watch the gorillas and take notes about their behavior. I'd notice things no one else had, make some amazing discovery. I had this romantic idea of being Diane Fossey/Jane Goodall/Joy Adamson. I liked the idea of bouncy, open-air Jeeps and I liked the outfits with all the pockets, only I didn't really want to live in Africa and be shot by poachers/get malaria/get stabbed to death. Bars be