Jade Green: a ghost story (hardcover)
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
AR Level 5.8, 5 points
Jade Green is about a girl named Judith who leaves her home in Ohio to live with her uncle and his cook after her parents die. She is told to bring anything she wants, except anything green in color. However, she brings a green picture frame with her mother’s picture in it. She finds herself in a great living situation, with a kind uncle, motherly cook, exciting love interest, and the opportunity to work in a local hat shop, but, there are frightening unexplainable things that happen that Judith can’t explain, and she can’t confess that she brought something green into the house, for fear her uncle will throw her out. In addition, she has a much older cousin whose advances are unwarranted and unwanted. Judith soon learns there was a death in the house, a girl named Jade Green, who took her own life. Judith has to keep her fears to herself while trying to survive this ghostly mystery.
What I liked about this book was that it was a creepy story. I don’t usually like ghostly or creepy movies, but I do enjoy a scary book now and then, especially when I know my students have enjoyed it. This had the drama and romance that good books (for sixth grade girls) normally have, but it had a ghost story to go along with it. I read this book in less than 24 hours (and a very busy 24 hours), so it is also a quick and easy read, because I didn’t want to put it down until the mystery was solved.
What I didn’t like about this book was that some of the themes were a little too adult for my sixth graders, in my opinion. Judith’s uncle Charles is a drinker, gambler, and visitor of ladies of the night. He also touches Judith’s bodice inappropriately, asks for a kiss, and at the very end, we learn he tries to rape her. The book never actually mentions the word rape, but he unbuckles his pants and pushes himself onto her, so a mature mind can connect the dots. I think it may be appropriate for a middle schooler, though, and my sixth graders would be considered middle school in another district, so perhaps I am just too narrow minded and protective.
Book 6 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)