Jade is a Twisted Green is a good coming-of-age story about a twenty-four-year-old Black queer woman in Toronto. Jade Brown is working through her grief over her twin sister’s death a few years ago, and the story follows her journey towards her twenty-fifth birthday, as she reconnects with past lovers, parties with friends, and pushes herself past her comfort zone. In doing so, she tries new experiences, meets new friends, and grows more confident in her ambition to become a writer.
I’m not usually one for literary fiction these days, but Turton’s writing drew me in. I liked how complex and textured her characters were. While Jade is the main character in the novel, the story occasionally flips to other characters’ points of view, and we see how many of them are also figuring their own ways through life.
I like how some of the dialogue was in patois, and I especially like how the narration pointed out where, for example, using patois and first names was unusual for a pair of characters in interacting with each other. Or in another example, the narration comments on how a character switches to the kind of language Jade notices her mom using with white folks. These little linguistic notes highlight the nuances going on in the scene, and the subtle shifts in the relationships between characters.
I was also drawn into the backstory of Jade’s sister Roze and, while part of me wished the book had had more scenes with her, I also kinda like the limited nature of the glimpses we did see. The part where the circumstances behind her death were revealed was especially well-done.
Overall, I thought this was a really good story with a strong narrative voice. I cared for Jade and her friends, I loved how much they were there for each other, and I was glad to see Jade gradually come into her own.
Thank you to Dundurn Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.