This is one of the best YA titles I've read this year . . . and that's saying something! Jade is a senior who has been dealing with anxiety since she was 14. Her parents are ignoring one another, her brother is depressed because his father won't let him quit playing sports, and her circle of friends is growing apart and going in vastly different directions. What keeps Jade calm is watching animals - specifically, she likes watching the elephants at the zoo down the street. She watches them pretty much 24/7 on their webcam, and that's where she sees the intriguing boy with a baby for the first time and has the feeling that he's going to be a part of her life . . .
Jade is fantastic narrator. She's insecure but takes her life into her own hands, honest but keeps secrets, at times hating all the people she loves. Her voice made me laugh out loud, several times, as in:
"It makes you realize how basically everything we do comes down to a) mating or b) competing for resources. It's just like Animal Planet, only we've got Cover Girl and Victoria's Secret instead of colored feathers and fancy markings, and the violence occurs at the Nordstron's Half-Yearly Sale."
There are some tough issues in this book as well - other than teen parenthood, there's Jade's first serious relationship, an extra-marital affair, and a bit of bad language, for those who are concerned about such things. But the focus of the story is how Jade grows strong in the face of her challenges, and it's a beautiful thing.Reviews that made me want to read this book.