A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about other books and movies they've seen featuring teen pregnancy and parents. Do you find any of the portrayals to be accurate -- or are they lacking in any way? Do these stories glamorize teen parenthood -- or help kids learn the risks and responsibilities that come with sex? This conversation could be a good opener for parents to gently discuss their own values and expectations when it comes to teens and sex.