Books by Deb Caletti

A FLICKER OF COURAGE by Deb Caletti
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 7, 2020

"Too-clever details and cloying messages get in the way of this story. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Four kids fight back against an evil tyrant in this fantasy geared for middle graders from a veteran YA author. Read full book review >
A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD by Deb Caletti
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 18, 2018

"A timely novel with strong secondary characters that emphasizes the complexities of the heart and doing what is right. (Fiction. 14-adult) "
Annabelle Agnelli runs from Seattle to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to outrun a traumatizing incident that occurred less than a year earlier. Read full book review >
WHAT'S BECOME OF HER by Deb Caletti
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 18, 2017

"A darkly enchanting romance sinks into a thrilling cat-and-mouse game."
When charismatic, brooding aspiring poet and Edgar Allan Poe aficionado Henry North arrives on Parrish Island, Isabelle Austen is smitten. But Henry comes bearing secrets that may spell Isabelle's death. Read full book review >
ESSENTIAL MAPS FOR THE LOST by Deb Caletti
YOUNG ADULT
Released: April 5, 2016

"A cleareyed story about love and loss, mental illness, and taking charge of one's own fate. (Fiction. 15-19)"
Two teens meet under unusual and sorrowful circumstances, and together they learn that life is full of both joy and despair. Read full book review >
THE LAST FOREVER by Deb Caletti
ROMANCE
Released: April 1, 2014

"A story that proves there can, indeed, be life after death. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
A despairing father and his 17-year-old daughter take an emotional journey together that brings redemption, hope and healing. Read full book review >
HE'S GONE by Deb Caletti
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 7, 2013

"Well-written, strongly characterized and emotionally complex fiction."
YA veteran and National Book Award finalist Caletti (The Story of Us, 2012, etc.) makes a striking adult debut with this tale of a husband's mysterious disappearance. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF US by Deb Caletti
Released: April 24, 2012

"Still, Caletti's exceptional insight into and compassion for her characters more than compensate. Adrift in a world where only impermanence is permanent, they remain hopeful, loving what they know can't last. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
Cricket accepts that life is transient and change is inevitable; she just needs a survival guide for getting through it. Read full book review >
STAY by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 19, 2011

A dissection of an unhealthy, obsessive relationship as seen in its aftermath. Clara catches Christian's eye from across a crowded gymnasium, and they quickly become an exclusive couple. However, Clara soon realizes that exclusivity can have its downsides, as Christian's devotion takes a frightening turn and he begins stalking Clara. To protect his daughter and to give her "a place to breathe for a while," Clara's father whisks her away to a sleepy coastal town without notifying anyone of their new location. Through chapters that alternate between Clara's present life at the beach and her rocky relationship with Christian, readers bear witness to Clara's attempts to confront her fear and grow. Adding layers of depth to this text and its characters are several auxiliary relationships, including a dynamic bond between Clara and her father, that all with time are seamlessly woven together. Quirky footnotes are sprinkled throughout attempting to inject humor and tidbits of background to illuminate Clara's past; however, they are often disruptive and easily skipped. Despite salty language, sex and violence are not graphically depicted, making this a safe read for younger teens. While her story's not particularly new, Calletti knows her audience and tells it well. (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
THE SIX RULES OF MAYBE by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 16, 2010

Analyzing other people's emotions and motivations is Scarlet Ellis's greatest talent. At school, she's close to few but a confidante to all. Her quiet home life consists mostly of taking pictures and involving herself in her neighbors' business. Since childhood she's idolized her older sister, Juliet, who comes home pregnant and married after years of working as a singer. Scarlet forms a strong bond with Juliet's husband, Hayden, and becomes convinced that Juliet is cheating on him with her high-school boyfriend. At the same time, Scarlet finds herself falling for Hayden. Narrator Scarlet is content to tell everyone's story but her own, and as a result, no plot ever really develops beyond her thoughts. Though Scarlet is thoughtful and well read in psychology, many of her observations about other people's relationships come off as melodramatic rather than enlightening. The most interesting story line involves Scarlet's matchmaking of two oddball classmates, a feat that shows off her interpersonal skills. Overall, because of her lack of focus and sense of self, readers may have a hard time sympathizing with her. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
THE SECRET LIFE OF PRINCE CHARMING by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 7, 2009

Caletti traverses familiar narrative terrain—emotionally wounded women search for Mr. Right amongst an overabundance of Mr. Wrongs—and adds a road trip as the vehicle for finding truth. Seventeen-year-old Quinn Hunt is appalled when she discovers that her father, a womanizer, has kept as trophies objects of great emotional importance that belonged to each of his numerous lovers. Along with a cast of unlikely mates, including a stepsister she's never met, Quinn sets off to return the stolen items. Slow going at first, the familiar plot perks up during the trip. The first-person narrative is humorous and chatty as Quinn recounts her frustration with her father and her hopes that this "karmic mission" will heal their strained relationship. Punctuating this, and set apart in a different typeface, are the accounts of the other female characters as they share their romantic mistakes. The author excels at getting to the heart of her protagonists' mixed-up emotions, and her fans will not be disappointed. (Fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
THE FORTUNES OF INDIGO SKYE by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 25, 2008

Money is bad. That polemic resides at the heart of Caletti's latest and overwhelms almost everything else. Eighteen-year-old Indigo Skye is a devoted waitress with no further aspirations and a too-mature voice that sometimes contradicts her stated lack of worldly experience; discourses on topics such as shopping for fulfillment and "airport time" sadly sound like adult intrusions (although they make for delightful reading). When Indigo receives a 2.5-million dollar tip, she turns into a spoiled brat who spends wildly, accuses her long-standing boyfriend of wanting nothing but her money and turns her back on the motley crew of diner patrons who are her extended family. Ultimately, Indigo learns to be rich and responsible (after a fling with the darker side of wealth), ensuring that readers are left with a clear sense of the moral rocks beneath the novel's ground. Despite myriad flaws, Caletti's fans will doubtless embrace this, even if the story is swallowed by the message with a capital M. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
THE NATURE OF JADE by Deb Caletti
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 27, 2007

For Jade, prone to panic attacks that consume her, watching the elephant cam from the nearby zoo offers peace. But when she becomes smitten with a boy she sees also watching the elephants, Jade finds herself shaken out of her complacent and often narrow life. As she cleans elephant feet and learns valuable lessons from the head keeper about love and family, Jade continues watching for the boy. When she meets him, a lovely romance ensues—until Sebastian's past (and the mother of his young son) comes forward to complicate things. Suddenly, Jade must take control of herself and make some difficult decisions. Smart, engaging (and occasionally awkward) first-person narration, genuinely complex relationships and strong secondary characters (Sebastian's activist grandmother; Jade's falling-apart parents) combine to make this a sure hit for fans of Sarah Dessen. The naturalist element evident in the zoo scenes is an added and original bonus. All in all, a pleasure. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
WILD ROSES by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Caletti probes the links between madness and artistic genius, passion and stability. Cassie's famous violinist/composer stepfather Dino is "both crazy and a genius," a person the politically correct might call "joy-impaired," "excessively imaginative," "abundantly security conscious" or "emotionally challenged," but who Cassie sees as "hugely depressed," "delusional" and "paranoid." Now, with the looming pressure of an impending concert, he's getting more out of control every day. The situation is exacerbated when against Dino's wishes, Cassie begins seeing his student, an impoverished but incredibly talented violin prodigy who, though ambivalent about a music career, is working furiously to prepare for an audition. At times, the narrative seems to lose focus or drag, and the madness-genius connection fails to convince. Still, Caletti's perceptions on divorce are crystalline, the story is populated with delightfully oddball yet solidly real characters and shot full of genuine wit, and readers will support her likable protagonist's quest to find the balance she needs. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
HONEY, BABY, SWEETHEART by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2004

Tender and poetic, Caletti's tale of the multifaceted effects of the many kinds of love tells the story of Ruby, who, in an effort to break out of her quiet-girl persona, begins dating an exciting but amoral rich boy. To bring Ruby back into the fold, her divorced librarian mother gets her involved in a reading group for the aged. One of the members of the book club, an elderly woman recently debilitated by a stroke, turns out to be the real-life love of an author whose book they are studying. In the least inspired part of the tale, the crowd decides to kidnap the incapacitated lady from her controlling daughters and bring the lovers together. Caletti has the gift of voice and tells her story with humor, insight, and compassion. Listen to Ruby musing on the delicate balance of kindness and truth between mother and daughter. "We cared too much for each other to have between us the recklessness of complete honesty." Lovely. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING by Deb Caletti
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

Alternating between pithy humor and ominous foreboding, high-school junior Jordan MacKenzie's voice describes her life, family, and friends in this gothic with an edge. The edge is from her own witty commentary on life on Parrish Island, an imaginary community located off the coast of Washington State in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The bringing together of sadness and foreboding with humor is reminiscent of Elvin in Chris Lynch's Slot Machine (1995) although Jordan appears to be less intentionally working at being funny. It is simply her take on life: her values, her awareness of pretensions, oddities, and incongruencies. The characters leap to life (including the dogs), as Jordan details the daily events that inexorably lead first to tragic events, and ultimately to a rescue of a sort. Threading throughout is the awareness that horror is ahead. When it does arrive, it doesn't quite seem as ghastly as expected. Most of the plot is driven by actions of the adults in the story, but when Jordan chooses to act, she's obviously learned a trick or two about manipulation and getting what you want. She's chosen to live with her father as the more normal one of her parents, but he becomes obsessed with a married woman and Jordan's life spirals out of control. While not the focus, her own first miserable experiences with sex and the death of a grandparent are encompassed in this somewhat long, but nonetheless fast-paced debut. Humor gets little respect, but 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. Cosmic comedy. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >