I love reading books, especially Young Adult books of all kinds. I have a book reviewing blog (The Reading Shelf) that I try to update whenever I'm not reading or procrastinating on the internet.
Ever since I read Deb Caletti’s Stay about two years ago, I have liked her writing. The first few books I read from her were quite good, but then the next bunch weren’t nearly as interesting to me. Unfortunately, this book falls in the latter category as well.
It’s even sadder because the book started off pretty promising. There are interesting looks at elephants and each chapter opens with a paragraph about animal behavior and such that’s related to the chapter. Jade has Panic Disorder, something you don’t read much about in YA, and she regularly goes to and has a good relationship with her therapist. She’s in the important transition period of senior year of high school and college is something lurking at the back of her mind and the story. And, Jade reminds me of myself – well, this was mainly because she apparently sucks at estimating height, age, and distance and can’t remember quarts, liters, and such, but this is exactly like me. I got way too excited when I saw the mere sentence devoted to this because I could say that this was “literarly me” and not worrying about misusing the word “literarly.”
Things kind of went downhill, though. Jade’s obsession with the boy in the red jacket – and I do think it’s an obsession and not a crush or something – is too much too fast.
Their relationship after they actually interact also went too quickly for me. Maybe it was because it was a short book and needed to be more fleshed out, but I’m not sure even that would help. I wasn’t rooting for their relationship, and that makes it even harder to get interested in the story and the problems they run into.
I didn’t like Jade’s relationship with her mother either. I feel like I say this all the time lately, but she just didn’t seem to understand her mother, nor did she seem like she wanted to, and spent most of her time being whiny and judgmental of her mother. She mentions being close to her mother sometimes, but the way their relationship is handled during the story makes this much too difficult to believe.
There’s also a bit of slut shaming, quite a bit of it aimed at one of Jade’s apparent “best friends,” although I certainly hope my closest friends never think about me the way Jade does about this friend. Her friend also becomes close with a cheerleader who kind of joins their group, which seems to be another ding against her, because of course this cheerleader is dumb and feels the need to wear extremely short skirts simply because she is involved in a sport where she waves around pom poms. She was just one victim of the shallowness that seemed to happen to too many characters and that kept me from getting more invested in this story.
I hurried through the end of the book because I just wanted to be done with it. It’s disappointing how little I ended up liking it since it started out pretty well, but that’s just the way things go sometimes. This book was just too difficult for me to get interested in, even during the parts I liked.