Jillicious Author du Jour: Deb Caletti

Deb Caletti, a National Book Award Finalist and the recipient of numerous writing awards, writes realistic fiction about teens and the adults in their lives.  She tackles issues like  romantic relationships (both healthy and unhealthy), family dynamics, unwelcome change, persistence, personal growth, and self-discovery.  Another recurring theme in her writing is the connection between people and animals (which I love!).  Her books are set in the Pacific Northwest, and the novels' characters and settings are all intertwined (which I also love!).

Caletti's writing is honest and descriptive.  The way she crafts a particular feeling or experience, such as a first kiss, a drive with the windows down, a view of the ocean, is exceptional.  I always think, "Why couldn't I have described it that way!?  That's perfect!"  I also really like the pacing of her novels.  She will describe in detail the most important, memorable scenes and move the story along beautifully in between.  

Some of my favorite Deb Caletti novels: 

The Six Rules of Maybe

Scarlet is a quiet teen, a "good listener," always living in the shadow of her gorgeous, free-spirited sister Juliet.  Scarlet's world is immediately rearranged when Juliet shockingly returns home pregnant and married.  The biggest surprise is what a great guy Hayden is, although Juliet doesn't even seem to notice.  These sudden changes cause Scarlet to reevaluate her life, her relationship with her sister, and herself.  This is the first Caletti novel I read, and I was immediately pulled into the look at complicated family dynamics.  I loved the characters, Hayden's dog :), and Scarlet's journey in self-discovery.  

 The Nature of Jade

Jade, a teen plagued with high anxiety, relaxes by watching the live elephant cam from the nearby zoo.  While viewing, she discovers a mysterious, handsome guy who regularly visits and also seems to unwind by watching the peaceful, playful mammals.  When she finally meets him, Jade discovers that The Boy in the Red Jacket has a complicated past, yet she hasn't felt so comfortable with anyone in a long, long time.  The characters in the novel as well as the elephants (and the interesting facts about these animals interwoven throughout the story) make this a memorable read.  

Sidebar:  If you are like Jade (and me!) and love elephants,  you might want to check out the 2012 Sibert Honor The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O'Connell & Donna M. Jackson or Elephant Talk by Ann Downer.  Both offer information about elephants and their complex systems of communication.  You also might enjoy the live elephant cam from the San Diego Zoo. :)   


Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

The moment she lays on him, Ruby, a quiet, responsible girl falls hard Travis Becker, the town bad boy.  She is fearless and bold when she's with him, but she also feels a bit outside herself and at a loss as to who she really is.  Then, quite unexpectedly, Ruby and her mother end up on a wild road trip with the "Casserole Queens," a book club full of feisty, outspoken senior citizens.  It ends up being just what they all need.  Honey, Baby, Sweetheart is a lovely tale of unhealthy relationships, family, and the power of redemption.  I just wish I had some Casserole Queens in my life!  

Deb Caletti's latest novel is The Story of Us, and her first adult novel, He's Gone, will be published in 2013.  I can't wait to read both and return with her and her unforgettable characters to the Pacific Northwest.  

Try one of Deb Caletti's powerful novels, if .... 
  • you are a fan of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, or Jandy Nelson.
  • you enjoy multi-generational stories about interesting, complicated families
  • you are a high school girl (or about to be!) who likes realistic fiction 
  • you are looking for a good summer read

Click here to read more about this accomplished author.    

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