Jasper Jones is an absolutely brilliant Australian novel that I can’t believe I was so quick to sneer at when someone had originally mentioned to me.
They say not to judge a book by the cover, right? Well, I admit, that sometimes I do. The cover that I’d seen was simply a boy at a desk and it did not scream interesting — nor did the tagline that it was an Australian version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” (also imo, a boring-ass book).
Never-the-less, after a solid recommendation, I picked it up and promptly finished it because I simply couldn’t put it down.
Set in a small town in Perth in the summer of the late 60s, Charlie Bucktin a little bookish and nerdy is awoken on a hot summer night by Jasper Jones the half-aboriginal, town proclaimed bad-boy. He has never spoken to Jasper in his life yet here he is, at his window, demanding his help with something.
Engaged, intrigued and a little thrilled, Charlie follows Jasper through the scrub to a place that Jasper calls his own. Charlie is faced with what Jasper requires help with; the body of a young girl hanging from a tree. Convinced that the authorities will think he is guilty of killing her, Jasper makes Charlie help him hide the body.
The summer passes with both Jasper and Charlie meeting spontaneously trying to figure out who is truly guilty of the murder of the girl.
Along the way we meet Charlie’s best friend, Jeffrey, his Vietnamese neighbour with whom he has a great rapport. Perhaps this was one of my favourite thing about the book — the friendship between Jeffrey and Charlie — the hypothetical conversations, the stories they create (“Pope On a Rope”) and the hard times they support each other through.
Because I desperately wanted to find out who was guilty of the murder, I couldn’t put the book down. I was rooting for Jasper Jones and poor Jeffrey who is cricket obsessed but given a hard time by the local cricket kids.
This book touches on the racism that occurred during the 60s era and was a great read for older teens as well adult readers and since I loved it, I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a bit of mystery, humour and fantastic writing.