What a fabulous book. I really enjoyed it. I've not read Rhubarb, or even heard of it, or Craig Silvey til I came across Jasper Jones. Of course I'm glad that I did, and I'm looking forward to reading Rhubarb sometime soon.
Jasper Jones is our title character, but we see him through the eyes and ears of Charlie Bucktin. Jasper is the town outcast, labelled the bad boy in this 1965 WA small town. Late one night Jasper comes knocking at Charlie's window and asks of him a tremendous favour, even though they've never really spoken to each other in the past. Jasper and Charlies decisions that night change their lives forever.
The book bubbles along with fresh banter between Charlie and his best friend Jeffrey Lu. I shall never forget zombie cheeses. He captures their conversations perfectly. All the silly gawkiness of pubescent boys. I really hate cricket, but was almost on the edge of my seat when cricket-tragic Jeffrey Lu makes his debut for the town team. Great stuff. The whodunnit story line is a constant theme running through the book, although often in the background, and yet the author manages to keep up the intrigue.
Perhaps my strongest criticism of this book, is that Charlie comes across as far wiser at times than his 13 years would allow. But it's a small transgression and I can forgive Silvey easily. Perhaps it's due to his rather outlandishly well read status. I wish I'd read all the books that Charlie has.