Although, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti, it took me a little while to feel like I could relate and really get into it. I think what helped for me was the elephants. I like Caletti's intriguing use of these huge animal's which helped Jade deal with her panic disorder in her life. It caused me to think of my own animal obsessions I've had, like my one with flamingo's, in my own life and perhaps how that has helped me to cope as well. I really came to know the elephants as Jade understood them and as if they were real people.
I also enjoyed learning some fun facts about elephants and even a few other zoo animals in each chapter heading. They went amazingly well with each chapter. Incidentally, here is a quote by Deb Caletti on those chapter headings because I was curious myself; "The first question I always seem to get about The Nature of Jade is, "Are the animal quotes that begin each chapter true?" Yes, all true (although the book they’re attributed to is a figment of my imagination."
One my favorite characters in the book was the melancholy elephant keeper Damian, who mourns an elephant, Jum, he trained and left behind in India. I loved how gentle and kind Damian was with Jade and helped her to appreciate her name in explanation of jade; "One of the strongest materials. Stronger than steel."
I didn't mind the romance too much between Jade and Sebastian and it seemed to progress naturally. I thought their relationship, although complicated, showed great depth and maturity to Jade's character. There were some elements and twists that were uncomfortable for me in this book but I can see how Caletti used these means to create realism. I didn't really like Jade's therapist and I thought other people were more helpful to her than he was but I was probably lacking understanding about how therapy works. I was also a bit disappointed by the abrupt ending of this book but it does work with the articulately woven story line after all.