The Nature of Jade

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
The Nature of Jade Book Poster Image
Strong story with anxiety, teen parenthood themes.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Jade's boyfriend is in hiding with his son, fearing that the boy's mother will reclaim custody.


Jade has sex with her boyfriend (who is already a parent). It is only vaguely described.


A few here and there, including "ass" and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jade has anxiety and is medicated for that.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byWPL Librarian July 15, 2010
Love it! I'm a parent and a librarian. I like to know what kids are reading. This was one of better tween books read in a long time, and it's not abo... Continue reading
Adult Written bymusic724 May 3, 2009

Love this book

I love this book! The characters are so real and they way Deb Calleti writes is awesome!
Teen, 16 years old Written byMikaylaRebby October 22, 2013

Wholesome, without fully satisfying.

The plot had me turning pages all night long. I loved every character and the way they are introduced and portrayed. I think the friendships are a little weakly... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byjustlisten January 11, 2012

Don't hesitate, read.

I have read this book multiple times, and with each read I found myself more and more amazed at the quality of the writing, the depth of the characters, and the... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Jade gets involved with a boy she meets while working at the zoo -- a boy with a child of his own -- her already complicated life gets a bit more intense. Especially when she learns he is on the run from his son's mother.

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.

Book details

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