Jasper Jones is set in 1965 in Australia. 13 year old Charlie is surprised one night by a knock at his window. Jasper Jones, a mixed-race outcast in their town, has discovered the dead body of a girl and wants Charlie's help in finding out what happened. Faced with this horrible discovery, Charlie begins to open his eyes to the horrible things in life.
Jasper Jones doesn't shy away from showing the horrible realities of life. Most of that centers on racism, but abuse, adultery, prejudice, and(show spoiler)
also get covered. It makes for several pretty terrible scenes as Charlie begins to see the truth of things.
It's not all depressing though. There's a budding romance that's rather cute and several discussions of comics with Charlie's best friend that were fun to read. I particularly loved the argument between the two about who the best superhero is: Superman or Batman.