Rallison, Janette 1966–

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Rallison, Janette 1966–

(Sierra St. James)

PERSONAL:

Born 1966; married; children: five children.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Chandler, AZ. E-mail—jrallisonfans[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist.

WRITINGS:

YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS

Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies, Deseret (Salt Lake City, UT), 1996.

Dakota's Revenge, Deseret (Salt Lake City, UT), 1998.

Playing the Field, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, Walker (New York, NY), 2003.

Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws, Walker (New York, NY), 2004.

Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, Walker (New York, NY), 2005.

It's a Mall World after All, Walker (New York, NY), 2006.

How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, Walker (New York, NY), 2007.

Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Walker (New York, NY), 2007.

UNDER NAME SIERRA ST. JAMES

Trial of the Heart, Deseret (Salt Lake City, UT), 1999.

Masquerade, Bookcraft (Salt Lake City, UT), 2001.

Time Riders, Bonneville Books (Springville, UT), 2004.

What the Doctor Ordered, Deseret (Salt Lake City, UT), 2004.

ADAPTATIONS:

Several of Rallison's novels have been adapted as audiobooks.

SIDELIGHTS:

Janette Rallison began writing at age six, and many of her books draw on her memories of growing up in a small town in eastern Washington. Specifically, Rallison focuses on the concerns shared by most teen girls—dating, dating, and dating—and her entertaining novels, such as All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, and How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, feature heroines attempting to discover, rekindle, jump-start, or repair a love relationship with the boy of their dreams. When mining her own memories dors not yield the perfect character or plot element, Rallison has been known to adapt events from her teenage daughter's life. Living with a teenager "is sort of like living in your own reality show, but with fewer commercials," the author explained on her home page. "I borrow from [my daughter's] … life a lot. In fact while I was writing It's a Mall World After All I once lifted dialogue for a scene right off the text message log in my daughter's cell phone."

Rallison began her publishing career with the teen romance Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies, which was released in 1996. Another of her early novels, Playingthe Field, finds thirteen-year-old McKay trying to keep his head above water in algebra class, because a bad grade will mean the end of his spot on the school baseball team. When his friend Tony suggests that he wrangle free tutoring from a brainy math student by pretending that he has a crush on her, McKay buys into the scheme. Ultimately, Serena discovers the plot, Tony proves to be a less-than-loyal buddy, and soon McKay realizes that he has to approach his life, and his relationships, with a little more integrity. McKay is a likeable and well-grounded hero, noted Booklist contributor John Peters, the critic adding that Rallison delivers her message "without lectures" and by presenting "a set of situations that readers will have little trouble relating to." Noting Rallison's use of "humor and realistic characters," Linda Bindner concluded in her School Library Journal review of Playing the Field that the novel will "be a hit with anybody interested in … baseball, friends, and that mysterious … first crush."

Described by a Kirkus Reviews writer as a "witty, often hilarious romp," All's Fair in Love, War, and High School finds popular head cheerleader Samantha Taylor frustrated by her inability to pull decent scores on the SAT exam. To balance out her college applications with some positive credentials, the teen decides to run for student body president. Unfortunately, Samantha's dry, sarcastic humor will not serve her well on the campaign trail, so she enlists the help of ex-boyfriend Logan to plan her election strategy. This strategy has an unsettling effect on her personal life, however; not only does Samantha lose her current beau (and thus have no date for the Junior Prom), but the bet she has made with Logan that she can hold back her sarcasm for an entire week seems as doomed as her future college career. In Publishers Weekly, a critic wrote that Rallison's use of "appealing characters and snappy dialogue give this light fare a satisfying bite."

Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List finds New Mexican high-school junior Jessica dreaming of a Hollywood film career. When her role in the school play—an "unintentionally hilarious politically correct rewrite of West Side Story," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer—is threatened, so is her future, so she decides to court Jordan, a new student at school, when she finds out that his divorced father is a famous actor. Although Jordan wants his dad's identity to remain a secret so that he can be judged on his own merits, Jessica disagrees and cuts their relationship short. When she realizes that fame is less important than lasting friendship, the teen decides to set matters right and this time puts more sincere energy into winning Jordan back. In her review in Booklist, Hazel Rochman praised Jessica's "cool, hilarious first-person" narration and noted the novel's themes of "rivalry, the embarrassment, and the romance between friends and lovers."

Incorporating a nod to Jane Austen, in the opinion of one reviewer, It's a Mall World after All introduces two teens who, despite their continual verbal sparring, are destined for one another. In addition to her part-time job as a perfume spritzer at a local shopping mall, her work helping an underprivileged boy, and her effort to keep up her honor-student status, compassionate Charlotte still has time to fret about friend Brianna's errant boyfriend, Bryant. When her efforts to catch Bryant in an indiscretion are continually foiled by Bryant's friend, the rich, preppy Colton, Charlotte gradually finds her frustration with Colton shifting to attraction despite their many differences. Although Rallison's heroine has a quirky personality that sometimes gets her into trouble, she is nonetheless an "appealing" character, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. It's a Mall World after All offers teens the best of all worlds, in the opinion of Booklist reviewer Debbie Carton. In Carton's view, the novel is "a fun romp of a read that's … [also] light and breezy," and the Kirkus Reviews writer concluded that Rallison's story offers up "plenty of laughs and some insights too."

A common dating quandary—how to deal with a boyfriend's annoying friends—factors into the plot of Rallison's 2007 novel How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend. When sixteen-year-old Giovanna's boyfriend Jesse chooses to support the campaign of a snobby friend rather than aid her twin brother in his run for student council president, she rashly ends the relationship. Too late, she realizes that she made a mistake, and now her job is to make Jesse jealous enough of her new dates to take time out of his campaign-manager duties and woo her back. Although a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Jesse's appeal to Giovanna is "somewhat of a mystery," How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend benefits from a "spunky protagonist" and a "satisfying" end to the teen-friendly story. In School Library Journal, Stephanie L. Petruso recommended the novel to fans of authors Meg Cabot and Cathy Hopkins, calling it a "breezy look at high school life," and a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed the book characteristic Rallison: "fast-paced and funny."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2002, John Peters, review of Playing the Field, p. 1597; November 1, 2004, Debbie Carton, review of Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws, p. 486; October 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, p. 43; January 1, 2007, Debbie Carton, review of It's a Mall World after All, p. 83.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July, 2002, review of Playing the Field, p. 416.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, p. 1275; August 1, 2004, review of Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws, p. 748; August 15, 2005, review of Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, p. 921; October 1, 2006, review of It's a Mall World after All, p. 1023; May 15, 2007, review of How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend.

Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2003, review of All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, p. 65; June 25, 2007, review of How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, p. 61.

School Library Journal, April, 2002, Linda Bindner, review of Playing the Field, p. 156; September, 2003, Lynn Evarts, review of All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, p. 219; November, 2004, Sharon Morrison, review of Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws, p. 153; November, 2005, Amy Patrick, review of Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, p. 146; December, 2006, Heather M. Campbell, review of It's a Mall World after All, p. 152; July, 2007, Stephanie L. Petruso, review of How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, p. 108.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2002, review of Playing the Field, p. 122; June, 2004, Eileen Kuhl, review of All's Fair in Love, War, and High School, p. 135; February, 2005, Amanda Zalud, review of Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws, p. 84; October, 2005, review of Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, p. 312; April, 2007, review of It's a Mall World after All, p. 55.

ONLINE

Janette Rallison Home Page,http://www.janetterallison.com (October 27, 2007).