Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones

Spring 2012 Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Craig Silvey
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-037566661
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Jasper Jones is the kind of rich and meaty story that hooks people on reading, a thrilling page-turner from the first word to the last.

It's 1965 in Corrigan, a fictional rural mining town in Western Australia. The Vietnam War looms large and the anger and confusion of the time shadow the story like a storm cloud. It's the hottest summer 13-year-old narrator Charlie Bucktin can remember; people are restless.

There's a murderous mad man down the road, a body in the secret clearing by the damn, and Jasper Jones is tapping at the window. This is coming-of-age at its finest.

Jasper is the town outcast and anti-hero. He's a legend in Corrigan, both hated and desired. The mere mention of his name promises a haunting and thrilling ride.

Corrigan is a town of secrets. Its adults are deeply flawed and its children grow up fast. Racism, pedophilia, young love and tragedy are all prominent themes in this book, but all are treated with respect.

Craig Silvey is a skillful writer who makes the most of his thrills, working up to them slowly, like a roller coaster on the climb, then plunging down in a heady leap. The dialogue is brilliant and the characters have depth. There are two starkly contrasting worlds in Corrigan - the shady nights where Jasper and Mad Jack Lionel preside, and the equally vulnerable days, where something as innocent as a town cricket game feels ominous. Charlie's precarious balance between the two makes for a gripping tale.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Share This