TULLSON, Diane




Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult

Diane Tullson’s Red Sea (Orca 2005) was named Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association in 2006. It also won the Stellar Teen Book Award administered by the Young Readers’ Choice Awards Society of B.C., who also administer the Red Cedar Book Awards, and made the New York Public Library's list of "Books for the Teen Age" and the Tayshas Reading List from the Texas Library Association. In this teen thriller about surviving an attack by present-day pirates, fourteen-year-old Libby is an unwilling participant in a year-long sailing trip with her mother and stepfather. “I’ve seen walk-in closets bigger than our boat,” she complains, “but it could be the Queen Mary and still not be big enough.” Their sailboat is named Mistaya, meaning little bear. “I think it means big mistake,” Libby gripes. For five years Libby has resented the addition of a stepfather, Duncan, and she pines for her 19-year-old boyfriend. Then her problems really begin.

Having sailed from Djibouti at the southern end of the Red Sea, bound for the Suez Canal, the threesome are attacked by murderous pirates. Libby’s stepfather is shot and killed, the boat is ransacked and Libby’s mother is seriously wounded. Brought roughly on deck in her pajamas, Libby is in danger of being gang raped by the masked invaders until a suddenly impending storm convinces the pirates to hastily depart. They knock Libby unconscious and disappear. The mainsail is in rags, peppered by bullets. Left to manage a crippled boat, Libby must sail to safety and find help for her wounded mother who doesn’t realize Duncan is dead.

Red Sea was written after Diane Tullson spent two years sailing around the Mediterranean with her family. She previously wrote Saving Jasey (Orca, 2001), the story of a 13-year-old boy’s search for acceptance and hope within a dysfunctional family and his concurrent friendship with, and infatuation for, Jasey, who worries that Huntington's disease within her family will prove hereditary. Tullson's third juvenile fiction title Zero (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006) provides a subtle portrayal of an otherwise successful teenager named Kas who struggles to conceal her eating disorder. The novel includes an afterword that outlines the warning signs of anorexia and bulimia, as well as some common misconceptions about the victims of eating disorders.

As a follow-up to Red Sea, Diane Tullson has published another harrowing tale, this time set in the mountains beyond Whistler. Friends since the first grade, twelfth graders Tej and Liam are avid snowboarders who have an accident with their truck on a remote logging road. Rather than walk out of the wilderness for several days on a forestry road, Tej convinces Liam to try taking an overland shortcut. Without any food except granola bars, Tej, the brash high achiever, jokingly tells Liam after nightfall, "Looks like you're going to win the Darwin Award--you're dying young and stupid before you can pass along your genes. Our species is better for it." When they know they are being tracked by a grizzly, their friendship unravels in The Darwin Expedition (Orca 2007). Liam breaks his leg as they desperately escape from the bear, forcing Liam to go for help on his own.

A gullible teen named Daniel is duped by his girlfriend Cyn to smuggle drugs across the border in Dianne Tullson's Orca Soundings novel for ages 12+, FoolProof (Orca 2015).

A disaster as a cook, fourteen-year-old Tax ends up in a cooking competition in her food-science class. How she copes is the story behind Dianne Tullson's 11th book Taz's Recipe (Orca 2016).


BOOKS:

Saving Jasey (Orca, 2001) 978-1551432205
Edge (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2002)978-0773762305
Blue Highway (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004) 978-1550051247
Red Sea (Orca, 2005). $9.95 1-55143-331-1
Zero (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006). $12.95 1-55041-950-1
The Darwin Expedition (Orca, 2007). $9.95 1-55143-676-0
Lockdown (Orca, 2008) $9.95 978-1-55143-676-0
Riley Park (Orca, 2009) 978-1554691234
Riot Act (Orca, 2012) 978-1459801394
FoolProof (Orca 2015) $9.95 9781459810341
Taz's Recipe (Orca 2016) $9.95 9781459810358

[BCBW 2016] "Kidlit"