Books by Deb Vanasse

NO RETURNS by Gail Giles
Released: Feb. 12, 2014

"The first movement in an ambitious song cycle of a tale which, despite a few sour notes, offers entertaining characters."
Giles (Dark Song, 2010) and Vanasse (Out of the Wilderness, 2013) team up for a paranormal novel, the first in a series featuring three teenage musicians in an unwitting Faustian bargain, a mysterious librarian and a supernatural James Cagney wannabe. Read full book review >
Released: March 22, 1999

Josh, 15, lives with his father and older half-brother, Nathan, in a cabin in the wilderness 100 miles from Anchorage, Alaska. Living there was Nathan's idea; he is full of high-minded ideas about nature that are rigorous but not always realistic. Josh, a pretty good woodsman, would rather live in a place where he could enjoy friends, girls, video games, and hockey, but when he kills a bear that is charging them, Nathan reacts with fury. Josh and his father—who, to Josh's chagrin, would follow Nathan anywhere—learn that Nathan identifies closely with the bears; he decides that he can't live with them because they are meat- eaters, and moves into an elderly neighbor's empty cabin. When the neighbor's relatives (including a pretty 14-year-old girl) come to spend a weekend at the cabin, Josh hopes the conflicts of interest will precipitate his move back to town. In the end, it is Nathan's risky involvement with the bears that forces the issue. Vanasse (A Distant Enemy, 1997) pulls readers into the story from the outset, and her sensitively drawn characters display a realistic mix of love and loyalty. The complex interplay of feelings in this troubled family, set against the pristine beauty of backwoods Alaska, imbues an already compelling read with a refreshing combination of action and psychological depth. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
A DISTANT ENEMY by Deb Vanasse
Released: March 1, 1997

To Joseph, 14, a Yup'ik Eskimo living in remote southwestern Alaska, the coming of the kass'aqs (whites) is threatening his people's way of life, and he is angry. The salmon the villagers depend on for winter sustenance are in short supply, so when the Fish and Game authorities ban fishing (to restore the salmon population), Joseph's rage leads him to slash the tires of the troopers' plane. That act of vandalism is witnessed by his new teacher, Mr. Townsend, whom Joseph hates as a matter of principle because he is kass'aq. When Joseph's first solo hunt for birds to supplement his family's food supply is inadvertently ruined by Mr. Townsend, Joseph retaliates by telling the villagers lies about the man—serious enough, Joseph hopes, to drive him away. Mr. Townsend confronts Joseph about his earlier vandalism and forces the boy to agree to make restitution to the authorities, which he does grudgingly. Only a brush with death induces Joseph to remedy all the damage he has done. Joseph's emotional turbulence in the face of assaults from the outside world makes for a gripping story; Vanasse provides powerful commentary on the conflict of cultures as well as an inspiring story of a turning point in a young boy's life. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >