Caletti, Deb 1963-
Caletti, Deb 1963-
Born June 16, 1963, in San Rafael, CA; married (divorced, 1999); children: (first marriage) Samantha Bannon, Nicholas Bannon. Education: University of Washington, B.A., 1985.
Home—Issaquah, WA. E-mail—[email protected]
Bellevue Community College Center for Liberal Arts, Bellevue, WA, member of advisory board. Speaker; lyricist.
PEN, Amnesty International.
Washington State Arts Commission fellow, 2001; International Reading Association (IRA) Young Adult Choice designation, 2004, for The Queen of Everything; National Book Award finalist, Chicago Public Library Best-of-the-Best designation, and School Library Journal Best Books designation, all 2004, IRA Notable Book designation, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age selection, and PNBA Best Book Award, all 2005, and California Young Reader Medal finalist, 2005-06, all for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart.
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
The Queen of Everything, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2002.
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.
Wild Roses, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
The Nature of Jade, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.
The Fortunes of Indigo Skye, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to anthologies, including First Kiss, Then Tell, edited by Cylin Busby, Bloomsbury; Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Author on C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, edited by Herbie Brennan, Ben- Bella Books; The World of the Golden Compass: The Otherworldly Ride Continues, edited by Scott Westerfield, BenBella Books.
Caletti's novels The Queen of Everything, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, Wild Roses, The Nature of Jade, and The Fortunes of Indigo Skye have been optioned for television by Vulcan Productions.
Award-winning author Deb Caletti's first young-adult novel, The Queen of Everything, is set in the Pacific Northwest, where Caletti makes her home. After her parents divorced, seventeen-year-old Jordan McKenzie chose to live with her more "normal" parent, her optometrist father, on an island in Puget Sound, off the coast of Washington, leaving her free-spirited mother to run a boarding house populated by an interesting assortment of characters with her kinetic artist husband. But when Jordon's dad becomes obsessed with the beautiful and married Gayle D'Angelo, it becomes clear that he is willing to do anything to get rid of Gayle's husband. Jordan makes some poor choices, as well, first having a crush on a handsome but cruel classmate before noticing the attributes of the brother of her best friend. She must also deal with the death of a grandparent. Other characters include Melissa, Jordan's coworker at a weight-loss center run by an eccentric religious couple, and Big Mama, a fishery worker who looks out for Jordan.
A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt that in The Queen of Everything Caletti "expertly succeeds in capturing the way a smart teen can grasp and skewer her world and what passes for everyday normal in a wry tone that never fails to recognize the seriousness of the situation." Miranda Doyle noted in School Library Journal that "teens will gain insight into how obsessive love can drive even ordinary-seeming individuals to commit terrible acts." Booklist contributor Debbie Carton felt that Jordan's "authentic teenage voice … will hold readers, as will the emotional issues of sadness and abandonment."
Caletti wrote on her home page that she patterned Jordan's parents somewhat after her own in that her mother "was a bit of a hippie like Jordan's mom." Caletti's father is in the optometric field, but, as she assured readers, he is otherwise nothing like Jordan's dad.
As Claire Rosser wrote in Kliatt, in Honey, Baby, Sweetheart Caletti "fills the pages with wonderful images, sharp dialogue, and memorable characters." The narrator is Ruby, a teen whose life changes the summer between her junior and senior years of high school. Ruby falls hard for the handsome Travis and spends the summer behind him on his motorcycle. After Travis gives her a gold chain, Ruby eventually learns that he has been breaking into houses and stealing. She knows Travis is dangerous, but her love for him makes it difficult to break off the relationship. Her mother, Ann, who has been abandoned by Ruby's philandering father many times, knows what her daughter is going through, and the two women make a pact to break their dependence on these irresponsible men.
Part of Ann and Ruby's plan is to stay busy. Ann, a librarian, takes Ruby with her to meetings of the Casserole Queens, a book club whose members are feisty senior women. One of the members, Lillian, was once the lover of a well-known author. When he learns that Lillian needs care following a stroke, he asks Ann and Ruby to bring her to California, where he will care for her. During the trip south Ruby learns an important lesson about the quality of real love. Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg commented that Caletti "writes a compelling, multigenerational story," while Lynn Evarts wrote in the School Library Journal that "young adults will see themselves in Ruby and, like her, have some laughs on the road to wisdom." Evarts concluded by saying that Honey, Baby, Sweetheart is "full of heart, fun, and energy."
The Nature of Jade traces the adventures of a young woman who is slowly being torn apart by her panic attacks— sparked in part by her parents' dissolving marriage, the burden of her schoolwork, and the loss of her friends, who begin to drift away from her. For Jade, medication and therapy are not enough to enable her to deal with the stresses of her life. Instead, she finds a kind of peace by working with the elephants at the local zoo. There she meets Sebastian: a young man her own age, trying to raise his 15-month-old son as a single father. "Readers," declared a Publishers Weekly contributor, "will root for Jade as she begins to learn that she can't ‘put things into separate compartments: right, wrong, good, bad.’" "Told from her perspective," remarked Marie C. Hansen in the School Library Journal, "the novel contains intense passages about loneliness, death, and human relationships," as well as a great deal of information on the life of elephants and how their experiences can be applied to Jade's own life. "In telling about Jade and Sebastian," stated Kliatt reviewer Claire Rosser, "Caletti pushes her readers to consider these same moral choices, and perhaps to realize that sometimes there are no correct answers in life." "With real insight into the concerns of teens," concluded Linda White in Book Page, "The Nature of Jade offers readers a sort of literary webcam for observing one of Caletti's most intriguing characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2002, Debbie Carton, review of The Queen of Everything, p. 590; May 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, p. 1613; February 1, 2007, Michael Cart, review of The Nature of Jade, p. 41.
Book Page, March, 2007, Linda White, review of The Nature of Jade.
Children's Bookwatch, May, 2007, "Simon & Schuster."
Hollywood Reporter, July 25, 2007, Gregg Goldstein, "Vulcan ‘Falls’ for Rights to Caletti Series."
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2002, review of The Queen of Everything, p. 1610; January 15, 2007, review of The Nature of Jade, p. 71.
Kliatt, May, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, p. 6; January, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of The Nature of Jade, p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, November 18, 2002, review of The Queen of Everything, p. 62; June 7, 2004, review of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, p. 51; February 12, 2007, review of The Nature of Jade, p. 87.
School Library Journal, November, 2002, Miranda Doyle, review of The Queen of Everything, p. 158; July, 2004, Lynn Evarts, review of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, p. 102; May, 2007, Marie C. Hansen, review of The Nature of Jade, p. 129.
Deb Caletti Home Page,http://www.debcaletti.com (March 10, 2008).