This book touches on so many social issues with a
storyline that unfolds beautifully. From a dramatic opening chapter the story,
as seen through the eyes of Charlie Bucktin, peels back and exposes the life of
a country town and reveals it's hidden dark secrets, and there are many.
Charlie's character is developed brilliantly. He
grows, over a period of only several months, from an innocent 13 year old to
someone who sees more of life, and it's seedy side, than someone of his age
should. Through all this Charlie grows into a young confident adolescent.
The book is not all dark though. The exchanges
(hypotheticals) between Jeffrey Lu,
his best mate and a Vietnamese Australian are, at times, laugh-out-loud funny.
Even during dark passages in the story Charlie is able to elicit a smile from the
reader by his naive observations and interpretations of what is happening around him.
The main interaction occurs between Charlie and
Jasper Jones, a young loner, ostracised by the townsfolk and branded as the local trouble maker - if
something goes wrong in the town then Jones must have had a hand in it. These two are
bought together by circumstance to deal with a dire event that changes the life of the
This is a captivating book with great character
development. It addresses sad issues that aren't confined to small outback towns but issues universal in their
occurrence and effect.