Kate Cann (1954-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1954, in London, England; Education: Kent University, B.A., 1977, M.A., 1978. Politics: "Left." Religion: "Broad." Hobbies and other interests: "Running, reading, the theatre, my dog, long conversations, wine, and most of all, friends and family."
Agent—Clare Conville, 2 Ganton Street, London WIF 7QL, England.
Time Life Books, London, England, copyeditor, 1979-83. Freelance editor and writer.
FICTION; FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Grecian Holiday; or, How I Turned down the Best Possible Thing only to Have the Time of My Life, Scholastic (London, England), 1999, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002, reprinted as Footloose, Scholastic (London, England), 2001.
Escape, Scholastic (London, England), 2003.
Spanish Holiday; or, How I Transformed the Worst Vacation Ever into the Best Summer of My Life, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004, published as Fiesta, Scholastic (London, England), 2004.
"LOVE" TRILOGY; FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Diving In, Women's Press (London, England), 1996, published as Ready?, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
In the Deep End, Women's Press (London, England), 1997, published as Sex, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Sink or Swim, Women's Press (London, England), 1998, published as Go!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
"HARD CASH" TRILOGY; FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Hard Cash, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2003.
Shacked Up, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
Speeding, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
NONFICTION; FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Living in the World, illustrated by Derek Matthews, F. Watts (London, England), 1997.
Young-adult writer Kate Cann began producing popular novels after many years of working as an editor of teen books. With titles such as Hard Cash and the popular beach-read Grecian Holiday; or, How I Turned down the Best Possible Thing only to Have the Time of My Life under her belt, as well as her popular "Love" trilogy, Cann has gained a following among teen readers due to her talent for describing the complex relationships and romances that occur between young adults.
Cann drew from personal experience as a former teen, a mother, and an editor familiar with available YA literature, in developing her first book. Diving In—published in the United States as Ready?—is the first installment in Cann's "Love" trilogy, which follows the relationship between sixteen-year-old Colette and her boyfriend, Art. Colette has grown up in a household dominated by her feminist mother, but when she spies a gorgeous guy swimming at her neighborhood club, she succumbs to an old-fashioned girlish crush. When she finally becomes acquainted with Art, he lives up to all of her expectations; as the two become involved in a relationship, Colette has to deal with her mother's predictable disapproval. As the pair become closer, Colette finds herself becoming confused due to Art's pressure for them to take their relationship to the next level, because she knows deep down that she is probably not ready. In the Deep End—released as Sex in the United States—charts Colette's growing passion for Art and explores the impact of a physical relationship on all aspects of her life. In Sink or Swim—published as Go! in the United States—Colette finds Art once again back in her life after a break of six months, during which time she has come to terms with her sexuality and her confusion.
While the protagonists of Cann's "Love" trilogy were criticized by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly as somewhat "stereotypical," they were also cited for their complexity and depth. Janet Hilbun, reviewing Ready? for School Library Journal stated that "Cann handles the romance in a competent way and readers will enjoy the likable, well-developed characters." According to Books for Keeps critic Val Randall, the sexual tension at the heart of the series is portrayed with "realism and sensitivity"—the very qualities Cann strived most ardently to convey. In a review of In the Deep End, Randall was particularly enthusiastic, and lauded the convincing, sympathetic, and knowing way the author depicts her teen characters. "This book," enthused Randall, "contains some of the best writing about love and sex that I have ever read in a book for young people." The critic concluded that In the Deep End addresses teenage sexuality "in a way which is both emotionally stunning and morally unshakeable."
Cann once told SATA that while researching her "Love" trilogy "I became increasingly depressed with the double standard in our society. We bombard kids with sexual images in advertising, music videos, and films, yet sex education lessons are often just basic biology lessons. Where are the discussions about feelings—where is the idea that sex can be a fulfilling, holistic experience, not a thing apart but something with implications for the whole of your life?"
Cann's Hard Cash, published in 2003, tells the story of Rich Steele, a seventeen-year-old high-school student who is obsessed with his financial problems. Although he slacks off in school, Rich's teachers let him slide because he has obvious artistic talent. Worse than his concern over his monetary situation is his obsession about the most beautiful and popular girl on his campus, Portia. In an effort to resolve both concerns, Rich decides to take the plunge and make some money. He sends out letters to ad agencies in the hope that one of them might employ him due to his skills as an artist. When one agency is responsive, Rich quickly finds himself on the fast track to power, wealth, and above all, the lovely Portia. He also finds himself working for ad executive Nick, a man of questionable character. With his current success, Portia begins to take an interest in Rich, but when his luck runs out and he finds himself in a bit of a predicament, the teen eventually discovers that success does not come without a price.
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated in a review of Hard Cash that the novel contains "some great moments, such as a tender scene between Rich and his mom after he's moved out." Noting that the book is the first installment in a new series, the reviewer also opined that Cann's plot is perhaps "too formulaic and may not excite much interest in the next episode." However, Deborah Kaplan in Kliatt praised Hard Cash as "Well-written with an enjoyable voice, and a protagonist who's likable."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Books for Keeps, January, 1997, Val Randall, review of Diving In, p. 27; March, 1998, Val Randall, review of In the Deep End, p. 26.
Kliatt, September, 2002, Sarah Applegate, review of Grecian Holiday, p. 16; November, 2003, Deborah Kaplan, review of Hard Cash, p. 12.
Observer (London, England), August 3, 2003, Kit Spring, review of Escape, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, July 16, 2001, review of Ready?, p. 182; October 13, 2003, review of Hard Cash, p. 81.
School Library Journal, October, 1997, p. 131; January, 1998, p. 120; August, 2001, Janet Hilbun, review of Ready?, p. 177; November, 2003, Hillias J. Martin, review of Hard Cash, p. 134.
Times Educational Supplement, November 29, 1996, p. 10.
Romantic Times Web site, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (February 5, 2004).
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