A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Jade's boyfriend is in hiding with his son, fearing that the boy's mother will reclaim custody.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jade has sex with her boyfriend (who is already a parent). It is only vaguely described.
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A few here and there, including "ass" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jade has anxiety and is medicated for that.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book centers around a high school girl's complicated first love: a slightly older guy with a child of his own. He admits to Jade that he ran away with the boy trying to escape from his son's mother, who is trying to reclaim custody. Jade's got other complications as well: Not only is she on medication for anxiety, but she finds out her mother has kissed another man. Other than that, there is some occasional swearing, and Jade gives a vague description of having sex with her boyfriend.
Is It Any Good?
This rich book by National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti succeeds on many levels. It features a likable protagonist (anxiety-ridden Jade, who slowly discovers her inner strength); it has plenty of drama (the cute boy Jade meets at the zoo has a child of his own, and is on the run from the kid's mother); and it weaves wonderful animal anecdotes throughout that parallel Jade's own story (and provide readers with some fascinating facts).
Readers may feel like some of the characters are a bit much, including Sebastian's straight-talking fiercely protective grandmother, and Damian, the Zen-like elephant keeper. But they will certainly find Jade very real -- especially her struggle to understand just how complicated life (and the people you love) can be.
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