Book of the Month
Author of the Month
K.L. Denman was inspired to write for children and young adults when she began reading some marvelous young-adult fiction. Her teen children provided her with many story ideas, and her own teen experiences, including her time working on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, have also found their way into her fiction. Along with writing, Denman has held a variety of jobs, including being involved in environmental preservation and helping a local conservation group to create a butterfly garden at an elementary school.
Denman's first novel, Battle of the Bands, is geared toward reluctant readers. In the story, Jay fronts a punk band called the Lunar Ticks and he is determined to lead the band to greatness in an upcoming battle of the bands. He is disappointed when the Lunar Ticks are beaten by the Indigo Daze, because the Daze lyricist has incorporated a recent tragedy into the band's songs. The defeat prompts Jay to examine what it takes to be a great musician. Deciding that it is not the events that happen in a musician's life, but how the musician understands them, he and the Ticks find greater success in their performances. Battle of the Bands "is quite sweet in its depiction of budding teen romance and feels genuine in its portrayal of teen-parent relationships," wrote Emily Springer in her Resource Links review of the novel. In School Library Journal, Kristin Anderson noted that Denman's "characters are edgy but likable," and Lisa Carlson wrote in Kliatt that the novel is "a lively read with a strong theme that can lend itself to further discussion."
Mirror Image is the story of a relationship between two unlikely friends. Sable is a loner who has not gotten close to anyone since her father's death years before. Lacey, one of the most popular girls in school, is both beautiful and, in Sable's opinion, a bimbo. When the two teens team up for an art project, they start to see each other with new eyes. Lacey tries to teach Sable a bit about fitting in, and Sable becomes an ear for Lacey's concerns about her dark home life. Calling the novel's plot somewhat "contrived," Hazel Rochman wrote in Booklist that, nonetheless, Denman's "dialogue is fast and funny, and so is Sable's wry, honest first-person narrative." Wendy Hogan, writing in Resource Links, concluded of Mirror Image that "Denman has written from her heart and [the novel] … speaks the truth."
In Denman's third novel, Rebel Tag, another teen is dealing with the death of his father as well as with the loss of his grandfather, who left the family ten years earlier. When Sam receives a letter from his absent grandfather, who is hoping to build their relationship again through a mystical treasure hunt, he is not sure whether to forgive the man or remain angry. In Canadian Review of Materials, Marina Cohen wrote that Rebel Tag "will draw reluctant readers in from the get-go and hold them captive until the bittersweet end" due to Denman's "clean" prose and "brilliant" narrative voice.
On the Author's Den Web site, Denman explained that writing brings her both joy and peace. "Not that it's easy!" she admitted. "It isn't. It's a Tilt-a-wheel ride of blank lows, inspired highs, and spinning words into story."
Booklist, March 15, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Mirror Image, p. 46. (Source: Encyclopedia.com)
Canadian Review of Materials, December 7, 2007, Marina Cohen, review of Rebel's Tag.
Kliatt, January, 2007, Lisa Carlson, review of Battle of the Bands, p. 21.
Resource Links, February, 2007, Emily Springer, review of Battle of the Bands, p. 31; April, 2007, Wendy Hogan, review of Mirror Image, p. 40.
School Library Journal, March, 2007, Kristin Anderson, review of Battle of the Bands, p. 208; November, 2007, Meredith Robbins, review of Rebel's Tag, p. 225.
Authors Den Web site,http://www.authorsden.com/ (December 3, 2007), "K.L. Denman."
K.L. Denman Blog site, http://kldenman.wordpress.com/ (November 28, 2007).
Orca Books Web site,http://www.orcabook.com/ (November 28, 2007), "K.L. Dedman."
Writers' Union of Canada Web site,http://www.writersunion.ca/ (December 3, 2007), "K.L. Denman."