Prior to this omnibus, I had never read any of Deb Caletti's works. Obviously, I am familiar with her name, but I never used to read much contemporary fiction, so I just was not interested. Now that I've discovered my love for contemporaries, it was the perfect time to investigate Caletti's writing, and I am so glad that I did.
Both of the novels in this collection feature vibrant heroines with marvelously real voices. Cassie and Jade both confront serious issues in their lives but maintain a light enough tone to keep Caletti's novels from becoming bogged down in the sad circumstances. Caletti's heroines keep the novels entertaining from beginning to end. I adored the narration in both.
While the cover of the omnibus implies that Wild Roses and The Nature of Jade are all about romance, I found this not to be the case at all. The first book, Wild Roses, deals more with Cassie's relationship with her family as her step-father's creative genius sends him spiraling into madness. In The Nature of Jade, romance is a big part, but shares importance with familial issues and Jade's work with elephants in the zoo. Though sweet romances do happen in both stories, there is so much more going on here than just romance.
Deb Caletti is one of those authors who simply loves animals. Both stories include pet dogs with a lot of personality. The Nature of Jade also has the elephants, all quite distinct from one another and unique characters in their own right. On top of being cute and entertaining, Caletti considers the differences between the ways in which humans view the world and other animals. I love the way she weaves this into her stories so incredibly much.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The one thing I would like to see more of from Caletti is friendships. Cassie doesn't seem to have any friends and Jade also lacks any real close friendships, though she does have a group she regularly spends time with. The coincidence seemed a bit odd, especially given how much work was put into characterization. Both stories focus less on school than on what happens outside of it, but friends, or the lack of them, at school, have a serious impact on a teen, and I would have liked to see more of that.
The Final Verdict:
Though the omnibus title is a bit cheesy and misleading, I do love it, both for the beautiful cover and the Beatles reference. Both of these books are funny and touching, a steal at ten bucks for two novels!