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The Jade Notebook (Notebook Series #3)

The Jade Notebook (Notebook Series #3)

5.0 3
by Laura Resau

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Down-to-earth Zeeta and her flighty mom, Layla, have spent years traveling the globe and soaking up everything each new culture has to offer. Now they've settled in the beachside town of Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta's true love, Wendell, has an internship photographing rare sea turtles. At first glance, Zeeta feels sure that Mazunte is paradise—she envisions


Down-to-earth Zeeta and her flighty mom, Layla, have spent years traveling the globe and soaking up everything each new culture has to offer. Now they've settled in the beachside town of Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta's true love, Wendell, has an internship photographing rare sea turtles. At first glance, Zeeta feels sure that Mazunte is paradise—she envisions dips in jade waters, sunsets over sea cliffs, moonlit walks in the surf. And she is determined to make Mazunte her home . . . for good. But as she and Wendell dig deeper to unearth her elusive father's past, Zeeta finds that paradise has its dark side.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Zeeta, aged 17, and her mother Layla have just settled into managing a small primitive resort in a coastal town in Mexico. They have been wandering the globe since Zeeta was born, never calling any place home. Mazunte, Mexico is noted as a sea turtle refuge as well as a resort town off the beaten track. Turtles are protected here since the government placed them on the endangered list. Zeeta's boyfriend, Luke, is spending the summer in one of their cabanas while he completes an internship with the local sea turtle refuge organization. Zeeta has only met her father once, years ago while living in France. He is something of a musical vagabond and from what he has shared of his past, Zeeta thinks Mazunte may be his hometown. She longs to reconnect with him and his family. The resort that Zeeta and her mother manage is more a stopover for old hippies and other characters, but Zeeta feels she has found "home" here. The story follows Zeeta and her relationship with Luke, Zeeta's search for her father and a who-dun-it adventure involving the theft of protected turtle eggs all mixed together with the various odd characters that reside in Mazunte. A suspenseful and well written tale for older teens, it's a realistic look at another culture. Spanish words throughout are defined and phonetically spelled at the end of the book. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
VOYA - Shana Morales
In this follow-up to The Indigo Notebook (Delacorte, 2009) and The Ruby Notebook (Delacorte, 2010/VOYA December 2010), Zeeta; her mother, Layla; and Zeeta's boyfriend, Wendall, are living in the majestic beach community of Mazunte, Mexico. Zeeta is determined to set roots in this tropical paradise and also uncover more about her father. As Zeeta and Wendall's relationship appears to be nearing separate paths, they become involved in a local mystery that, when uncovered, becomes dangerous. The treatment of Wendall and Zeeta's relationship is realistic, and readers will appreciate such an accurate portrayal of Zeeta's thoughts as things become less than perfect. A great blend of suspenseful mystery and romance, The Jade Notebook is the perfect addition to collections that already feature the previous titles or are waiting for a worthy addition. Fans of the previous titles will enjoy revisiting Zeeta on this leg of her journey, while new readers can get swept up in this story on its own. Reviewer: Shana Morales
Kirkus Reviews
In this third in a series of novels focusing on Zeeta and her wanderlust-stricken mother, readers are immersed in the details of a lovingly described coastal town in Mexico and an action-filled mystery surrounding the poaching of ancient sea turtles that make their home there. Zeeta's decision to find her mom a job in Mazunte was no accident. Newly armed with a slew of hints about her father's background following the events of The Ruby Notebook (2010), she is madly hoping that it might be his hometown. It quickly becomes apparent that she's on the right track, and with her boyfriend, Wendell, by her side, she begins to fit together the pieces of the puzzle. Yet each answer uncovered seems to create more questions about her father's complex past. As in previous installments, this latest depends on a variety of coincidences, but Resau's skill in evoking an almost visceral experience of setting firmly anchors the story and allows it to expand leisurely to a satisfying end. Detracting here, however, is the appearance of characters that readers will likely spot as villains long before Zeeta does--disconcerting to those who have come to know the narrator as an astute observer. Fans of the series may quibble with some points, but they won't want to miss what is overall a graceful conclusion to Zeeta's story. (Fiction. 12-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After 17 years of annual relocations, Zeeta believes she has found her home in the small town of Mazunte, Mexico, where her mother has taken a job managing cabanas nestled between a verdant jungle and a picturesque beach. Adding to her happiness, her boyfriend, Wendell, has taken a job at the local Turtle Center. Zeeta connects with the locals through interviews and with the land through exploration, recording her observations in a jade notebook. When she begins the search for her father, who initiated her move to Mazunte, she quickly becomes entangled in a series of connected mysteries involving a local bruja, or witch, poachers, and the authorities. In eloquent, full-bodied prose, this companion to The Indigo Notebook (2009) and The Ruby Notebook (2010, both Delacorte) tackles familial and romantic relationships, corruption, and ecological issues with veracity and complexity. Secondary characters are well formed and intrinsic to the plot development. The lush descriptions, intermittent action sequences, and sprinkling of fantasy all come together to form an engaging reading experience that will delight teens looking for a more mature story.—Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Laura Resau's Notebook Series , #3
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

At sunset, Comet Point feels like the tip of the world. Far below, the water churns, slapping against the crags, spraying my skin. I gaze past the jagged rocks, where the sea smooths into silk and spreads out to touch the sky. And there on the horizon, the sun dips lower and lower, setting the clouds on fire.

Here at the cliff’s edge, the tiniest details are magnified: every fine hair on my arms moving in the breeze, every pebble pressing into my palms, every speck of dirt clinging to the backs of my thighs. A tiny pink boat, upside down on a patch of sand. The silhouette of a fisherman, his line catching light.

After the sun slides through the last puddle of flames and disappears into the sea, I stand up, brushing the dust from my dress. My eyes stay fixed on the fading line where sky meets water as I walk toward the mainland, weaving around hardy shrubs and a huge saguaro cactus. Soon sky and sea are the same shade of twilight blue with a hint of silver, indistinguishable.

Once I reach the steep part of the path, I scramble up the rocks, looking for safe footing. Comet Point, not surprisingly, is shaped like a comet, the head being the tip of the peninsula. I make my way up the comet’s fiery tail, which ends in jungle high above the beach.

When we decided to move to Mexico, I had no idea that this little beach town would feel like a shoe that fits as if it were made just for me. Mazunte is the home I’d given up on ever finding. Why does this place, of the dozens of breathtaking places I’ve lived, feel so exquisitely perfect? I can’t pinpoint a reason—not a logical one, anyway. Maybe, somehow, the silvery strands of the comet pulled me toward Mazunte from far across the ocean.

When I reach the top of the sandy path, I leave the sea behind, following a narrow trail that slices through dense foliage. The moon is just rising, its light barely filtering through the leaves, just enough for me to make my way back toward the cabanas. Knowing the route by heart, I fly through the insect songs and tree shadows.

Instinctively, I slow down as I pass the first in a ring of signs around a section of jungle about a kilometer in circumference. These signs give me the creeps. The first, I can barely make out in the moonlight, but I know what it says: ¡TERRITORIO PROHIBIDO! SE DEVORAN LOS INTRUSOS! Forbidden territory! Trespassers will be devoured! More hand-painted signs around the perimeter of the property offer variations on the theme: Trespassers will be cursed/taken prisoner/eliminated. Disconcerting, but I like to think that whoever made the signs just has a somewhat twisted sense of humor.

As I walk, I peer beyond the signs, curious. It’s our mysterious neighbors’ property, but it looks just like the rest of the area—enormous leaves, vines, branches, occasional flowers. I haven’t yet dared to cross the line, and I’m not quite brave enough to do it alone at dusk. What I do instead is shout past the sign, loud, in English, on some kind of impulse: “Fine! Devour me!”

As soon as the words come out, even though there’s no one to hear, a little wave of embarrassment washes over me.

And then, a noise shatters the night. A deep, vibrating noise that seems to tear through the forest, rumble the earth. It comes from what feels like just meters away. It’s so loud it makes me jump, sends my heart racing.

I freeze. What was that? A motorcycle engine? A chain saw? Motionless, I hold my breath and listen. The only sounds are my pounding pulse, the insects, the distant waves, a breeze through the leaves. All I see are shadows in hues of green and blue and purple. I breathe out and take a tentative step down the path.

Then it thunders again, filling my ears, resounding through my body. The noise wakes some primal fear in me. I barely resist the urge to run away at top speed.

I reassure myself under my breath. “Don’t be crazy, Zeeta. It’s just a noise.”

Silence again; only the familiar hum of the jungle at dusk. My muscles relax a little. The TRESPASSERS WILL BE DEVOURED sign must have put me on edge. I bet the noise was just a car engine that my imagination transformed into something monstrous. Again, I exhale, try to steady my legs and slow my racing pulse. Then I suck in a deep breath and take a step forward on the path toward home.

This time, when the sound rips through the darkness, I run. I tear through the trees, the branches scraping my skin, catching on my clothes. After a few minutes, my lungs are burning and there’s a stitch in my side. I stop and lean over, gasping, my hands on my knees. Then, tentatively, I peer into the shadows behind me. Nothing. My ears alert, I half walk, half jog toward the cabanas.

I settle on an explanation. It was something rational—like thunder in the distance, or a particularly loud wave crashing. The cliffs can produce unusual echo effects. The farther I get from the Forbidden Territory, the easier it is to shake off the creepiness, even tip my hat to whoever posted those signs. After all, they’re effective.

A few minutes later, as I round the bend to the cabanas, my heartbeat has calmed, my trembling subsided. Emerging from the jungle, I enter the yellow glow of the kitchen hut. There in the candlelight, beneath the woven grass roof, Layla and Wendell are eating fresh fish and laughing with the guests.

I hover at the trees’ edge and savor this moment, watching my mom and my boyfriend—the people I love most in the world in this place I already love most in the world. Which is saying a lot for someone who’s lived in seventeen places in her seventeen years on earth.

Here, safely outside the jungle, wrapped in the aura of my perfect new home, it’s easy to let go of the strange noise, hope I don’t hear it again. Why bother even mentioning it? Why make waves in an otherwise smooth sea? Even paradise has to have a few flaws, right? It’s part of the package. Like the stinging jellyfish off Phi Phi Island when Layla and I lived in Thailand. Or the pickpockets in Marrakech. Or the deadly single-lane mountain roads in Nepal.

Wendell catches my eye, his face lighting up with his cute half-smile. He comes to me, folds me in his arms, wraps me in his cinnamon-soap smell. I press my lips against the comforting pulse of his neck, nestle my head on his shoulder. Yes, this is it. Paradise.

Meet the Author

LAURA RESAU lived in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, Mexico, for two years as an English teacher and anthropologist. She now lives with her husband, her dog, and her son, Bran, in Colorado, where she teaches cultural anthropology and ESL (English as a Second Language).

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The Jade Notebook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Laura Resau books The Notebook Series is one of the best books I've read I would start with the first bookand then keep going
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Indigo Notebook series not only has an amazibg plot line an characters you want to sit down and have coffee with, but the writing itself is gorgeous and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago