James Klise        Chicago-based young adult author
 young adult author

Reviews

THE ART OF SECRETS

Teen Vogue: "Where there’s smoke, there’s fire . . . and apparently, valuable art! When the Khan family’s home is mysteriously burned to the ground, the funds from a priceless painting come to their rescue. Through unique journal entries, articles, and interviews, a tangled web of unusual secrets unfolds." 

Christian Science Monitor: "'The Art of Secrets' is part thoughtful novel and part edge-of-your-seat mystery. This story about a family of Pakistani immigrants whose apartment is destroyed by arson culminates in a shocking twist of an ending that will engross readers until the very last page. There’s no magic or science fiction involved – just smart and often humorous storytelling that raises tough questions about racism, prejudice, and belonging. Readers will arrive at differing conclusions about what the ending means and what it might suggest about the nature of altruism and the meaning of truth."

Kirkus Reviews: "Enjoyable...briskly paced...Relationships, secrets and lies aplenty for caper-loving fans."

Booklist (starred review): "Klise lets loose a chorus of genuine voices...This art mystery is that rare book that will be passed around by teens as well as teachers in the faculty lounge, discussed and dissected and immediately reread to scour for hidden clues and motivations. The incidents at the Highsmith School will stay on readers' minds long after the last page."

The Horn Book: "The novel surges forward to a surprising but disturbingly plausible conclusion... This darkly ambiguous, provocative novel highlights several themes worthy of discussion, including the destructive power of secrets and the politics of generosity."

Publishers Weekly:
"Through emails, texts, journal entries, interview transcripts, newspaper clips, and official documents that pull in the perspective of students, teachers and others, Klise simultaneously reveals details about what might have transpired while allowing characters' darker motives - prejudice, envy, greed - to emerge...The question of 'how far would [people] be willing to go to make [their] dreams come true' propels the book forward to its scandalous conclusion."

Shelf Awareness: "A clever mystery told in many voices... Klise's short chapters do more than efficiently advance the story. Readers will be fascinated to see how unfolding events can be interpreted in so many different ways. Greed and jealousy go head-to-head with kindness and good intentions. The author weaves a satisfying mystery here, and, yes, everybody has secrets."

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates): "This is a book about the secret motivations that drive us all. Klise develops a set of complex characters...who must deal with their own beliefs about fairness, belonging, and truth. This mystery is well-crafted and will leave readers guessing as to the identity of the culprit to the end. This is an excellent addition to collections where mysteries are popular and will give readers much to think and talk about."

TeenReads.com: "This innovative mystery explores issues of secrecy, social class, greed, family, self-justification and the need to belong in one's community. Saba's internal and external struggles...will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider."


LOVE DRUGGED

Publishers Weekly: "Klise has created an empathetic protagonist ... and a thoughtful story about identity, sexuality, and learning to accept oneself.
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Time Out Chicago: "Delightful...Simultaneously captures moments of possibility and angst in the story of a Chicago gay teenager."

Booklist:
"Klise's first novel succeeds in capturing the terrible anxiety of a teen discovering the truth of his sexual identity... An excellent novel for both classroom and gay-straight alliance discussion."

The Advocate:
Klise "elicits both laughs and suspense with this tale of closeted high school freshman Jamie, who just wants to fit in and keep his orientation a secret."


VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates):
"This coming-of-age gay novel includes the basics of learning to accept who you are and adds a touch of intrigue... This is a great choice for anyone questioning their sexuality or for teens who like a little twist in their mystery."

ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents): A July 2010 Pick!
“This book exemplifies the struggles young teens may feel with their sexuality and the decisions they make to repress their feelings... Jamie’s experience is authentic, and his feelings are presented in a way that is relatable for teens.”

Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens: "Though the well-paced science fiction story (something of a rarity in LGBT fiction) combines humor with suspense, it also addresses serious ethical issues of medical technology's ability to alter identities. A good read that also offers excellent opportunities for discussion."

David Purse for Lambda Literary Foundation: “One of the most accomplished aspects of this terrific debut is Klise’s portrayal of the emotions that people go through while being in the closet. The fear, the confusion, and indeed the feeling of not really belonging will definitely resonate with readers who are or have been in a similar situation. LOVE DRUGGED is a dramatized coming out story that many teens will relate. With a rather fairytale-like ending, the book shows that the most damaging lies can be the ones that we tell ourselves and that after we come to terms with who we really are, there is an opportunity for things to get better.” 

TeensReadToo.com: “Every now and then a novel is published that will change the lives and minds of whoever reads it, and LOVE DRUGGED just so happens to be the one. James Klise creates a realistic character who some will fear because he is all too easy to relate to. Just like Jamie, those who are gay are sometimes unsure whether they will be accepted, mainly because a picture of a perfect, normal guy who is meant to play sports and marry a woman is painted and loved by family and friends. Little do they know that they will still be loved for who they really are.”

Some of my favorite reviews from the blogosphere:

Bibliophilic Book Blog

Kelly at Stacked Books

DJ's Life in Fiction

Brent at Naughty Book Kitties

Abby the Librarian

Sarah's Random Musings

Book Chic Blog

Page Turner's Blog