Home and office—Annapolis, MD. E-mail—[email protected]
Novelist for teens and adults. Formerly worked as an actress and model; National Geographic Television, Washington, DC, former staff writer.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Learning to Swim, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2007.
The Pretty One, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2008.
FOR ADULTS; UNDER NAME MARGARET ALLISON
Indiscretion, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Promise Me, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Last Curve, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.
At Any Price, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Principles and Pleasures, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Mistletoe Maneuvers, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2005.
A Single Demand, Silhouette (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of short fiction to anthology Upon a Midnight Clear, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997).
Novelist Cheryl Klam leads a double life: in addition to writing for young adults, she also pens romantic suspense novels under the pen name Margaret Allison (the
name of her grandmother). A Michigan native, Klam studied political science in college and then did a few years' worth of acting and modeling before realizing that her true calling was writing. Her first book, Indiscretion, about a young woman who falls for the wrong guy (her boss), was sold to Pocket Books as part of a three-book deal. Her second novel, Promise Me, mixes suspense and romance as it focuses on an investigative journalist who becomes drawn into a celebrity suicide that may hide some family secrets. Her follow-up, The Last Curve, was described by a Library Journal critic as "a fast-paced page-turner" about an assistant state attorney's hunt for the serial killer who murdered her sister.
Klam turns to teen readers in Learning to Swim, which introduces a seventeen year old whose peripatetic family life is the result of a romantically unstable mom. Steffie Rogers has moved over a dozen times in her life, and every move has been prompted by her mother's desire to get away from an ex-and-usually-married boyfriend. During her summer spent working at an island country club as a resident maid, Steffie finds herself confronting a similar situation when she meets lifeguard Keith McKnight. Even though Keith has a girl friend, Steffie finds herself attracted to him and realizes that she may be as weak as her mom when it comes to resisting temptation. A good choice for a "summer read" due to both plot and pace, Learning to Swim was praised by Kliatt critic Stephanie Squicciarini as a novel "that will pull readers along" and features an empathetic heroine who "has a believable voice."
The complex relationship between two teen sisters is at the center of Klam's second teen novel, The Pretty One. The Fletcher sisters, Megan and Lucy, are close in age and both attend a private high school for budding performers. Not surprisingly, there is a subtle competition between the girls, as Lucy seems to have more advantages and receives a greater share of attention from others. Although Megan would rather be backstage than in the spotlight, the attention directed to Lucy is somewhat hurtful. Then the unwished-for happens: a tragic accident injures Megan and the resulting reconstructive surgery turns the tables on both sisters. In School Library Journal Heather E. Miller noted that the novel's insightful young "protagonist … is a good role model for teens who think that life is easier if you're the pretty one."
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Biographical and Critical Sources
Annapolis, June-July, 2002, profile of Allison.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2007, review of Learning to Swim.
Kliatt, May, 2007, Stephanie Squicciarini, review of Learning to Swim, p. 25.
Library Journal, May 15, 1999, review of The Last Curve, p. 82.
School Library Journal, June, 2007, Jennifer Barnes, review of Learning to Swim, p. 150; August, 2008, Heather E. Miller, review of The Pretty One.
Cheryl Klam Home Page, http://www.cherylkam.com (June 30, 2008).