Natasha Deen

Natasha Deen was born in Guyana but grew up in Calgary, Alberta, in a mixed race family: Chinese, African, West-Indian, East-Indian. Deen studied psychology in university. She is a respected and prolific writer for children and young adults and now lives in Edmonton. Deen was the inaugural 2013 Regional Writer in Residence for the Metro Edmonton Library Federation. Several of the books that Deen wrote for an adult audience are only available in electronic formats.

Fiction (Young adult)

Across the Floor

Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2016.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Luc Waldon always figured he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, he breathes it—and he thinks he has what it takes to go all the way to the NFL. So when his football coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc’s less than thrilled. When he realizes that dance might actually be his true passion, he faces a tough decision. Is he willing to leave behind the field and a real shot at professional sports, and disappoint his parents, his coach and his teammates, in order to pursue a new dream?

Fiction (Young adult, Mystery)

At Dock’s End

[]: Blueberry Hill Press, 2014.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from Deen’s personal website)

Three hours after accepting the case of Cyril Tethers, teen detective Briscoe and Boots find themselves standing on the rainy docks of the Thames, watching as their client’s body is pulled from the murky water.  In 1895 London, the death of the fashion designer is their biggest case—and the one that can cost them.  If high society finds out the terrible secrets Cyril was hiding, the scandal will leave his widow and her children destitute.  As the sleuths race to catch the killer and protect their client’s family, Boots discovers a shocking secret of his own. Now, he must make the ultimate choice: sacrifice his integrity for self-preservation, or lose everything he loves in the name of justice.

Fiction (Young adult)

Burned

Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Two years ago, Josie Smith’s life went up in smoke. Literally. Everyone and everything she ever loved burned in a fire—one set by a crooked cop. To survive, Josie’s been living under the radar as a homeless kid while trying to find a way to knock the cop down a few notches and put her on the other side of the prison bars. But time’s running out. A pimp’s got his eye on Josie, and if she doesn’t get off the streets soon, she’ll be the one brought down. Her salvation and the key to the cop’s undoing seem to lie with a car thief and a rich kid. Trust and teamwork don’t come easily to Josie—in fact, they don’t come at all—but if she can’t find a way to make the team work and find justice for her family, she will get burned all over again.

Fiction (Young adult)

Game’s End

Winnipeg: Great Plains Teen Fiction, 2017.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Maggie Johnson is dealing with too much — the rising distrust and hate of the townspeople, her growing (and unpredictable) supernatural powers, and the dead, waiting to be transitioned from this side to the next. Right now, they’re her saving grace. But when a soul-eater steals the ghost she’s transitioning, things don’t just take a turn for the worse, they take a turn for the personal. This thing has a connection to her and to her family, and it’s coming for revenge.

As Maggie races to stop the entity, the body count ticks up, and the soul-eater’s touch reaches close to home. The answers Maggie seeks are coming to a head, but will she survive the revelation?

Fiction (Young adult)

Gatekeeper

Winnipeg: Great Plains Teen Fiction, 2016.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

A month after solving her first murder (and almost getting killed in the process), Maggie Johnson and her soul brother Serge Popov are hoping for some peace and quiet to figure out…well, everything. But the dead wait for no one. Especially a dead guy like Kent Thomas. He was every parent’s dream, the kind of good kid who excelled at school, and never caused trouble. And he was the kind of guy all the guys liked. Add in a hot factor that made him every girl’s fantasy, and he was the least likely person to be murdered. So who tossed him off a cliff?

Maggie’s determined to find the killer but if she’s not careful, she’ll end up just like the soul she’s trying to save.

 

Fiction (Young adult)

Guardian

Winnipeg: Great Plains Teen Fiction, 2014.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

For seventeen-year-old Maggie Johnson, transitioning the dead isn’t hard. What’s tough is surviving the insults and pranks of Serge Popov, high school thug and the dumbest jock to ever set foot in Dead Falls, Alberta. When she finds him dead and later discovers his spirit trapped in her room, she figures it’s a case of divine justice. Let the jerk rot for eternity, bound to an earthly prison. But someone—or something—has a different agenda. If Maggie doesn’t help Serge cross over, she’ll die at the hands of the otherworldly entity that’s taken an interest in the dead bully. As she digs into the circumstances of Serge’s murder, she’ll uncover the secrets hidden by the world of the living and the wonders revealed by cities of the dead—if her investigation doesn’t kill her first.

Fiction (Young adult)

In the Key of Nira Ghani

: Running Press Kids, 2019.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira’s grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it’s now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.

A relatable and timely contemporary, coming-of age story, In the Key of Nira Ghaniexplores the social and cultural struggles of a teen in an immigrant household.

Fiction (Juvenile, Chapter book)

Lark and the Dessert Disaster

Illustrated by Marcus Cutler
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2019.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In this illustrated early chapter book, Lark and Connor Ba have been invited to judge a community baking contest, but when a contestant’s dessert is sabotaged, the amateur detectives have to solve the case if they are going to have any sweets left to sample.

Fiction (Juvenile, Chapter book)

Lark and the Diamond Caper

Illustrated by Marcus Cutler
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2017.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Rookie detectives Lark and Connor Ba are back on the case! When a pair of diamond earrings goes missing from the neighborhood general store, Lark and Connor just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Carefully mining the adults for clues, the twin sleuths work together to solve the mystery.
Lark and the Diamond Caper is the second title in the Lark Ba Detective series, following Lark Holds the Key.

Fiction (Juvenile, Chapter book)

Lark Holds the Key

Illustrated by Marcus Cutler
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2016.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

It’s the third day of summer vacation, and Lark’s halmoni—that’s Korean for grandmother—has promised to take Lark and her twin brother, Connor, to the library. Only trouble is, they arrive to discover that the town librarian is missing her key to the library. Lucky for her, Lark just happens to be a budding private eye. Can rookie detectives Lark and Connor solve this mystery and recover the lost key?
Lark Holds The Key is the first book in the Lark Ba detective series.

Fiction (Juvenile, Chapter book)

Lark Takes a Bow

Illustrated by Marcus Cutler
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2018.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In this early chapter book, amateur detectives Lark and Connor Ba figure out which of their follow actors is playing pranks on the local theater company.

Fiction (Juvenile, Chapter book?)

The Not So Secret Case Files of Billy Vale, P.I.

[]: Blueberry Hill Press, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from Deen’s personal website)

Billy Vale is the best detective in the school. Of course, he’s the only detective in the school, but that’s beside the point. Whether he’s dealing with a tricky client, dodging the school bully, or out-smarting the school’s meanest teacher, Mrs. Smith, if there’s a case that needs solving, then Billy’s the kid to call!

Fiction (Adult)

The Promise of Home

[]: Pelican Ventures Book Group – Harbourlight Books, 2014. (ebook only)

Publisher’s Synopsis

Agreeing to renovate a church in a remote northern Alberta town is an act of panic for a man anxious for a break from God, but ex-pastor Luke Parks needs escape from the girl who crushed his heart. He’s hoping to outrun his crisis of faith, but his doubts quickly find him. To make matters worse, he’s stuck with a snarky church secretary and saddled with an inexperienced assistant.
Through a chance encounter Luke discovers not just a lost kitten, but a deeper, richer side of the congregation. Just as he’s becoming comfortable in his new routine, life takes another swing. His ex-fiancée shows up begging for forgiveness, and in the process, turns his new friends against him.
As Luke struggles to figure out the line between accountability and forgiveness, he can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever find a place to call home.
 

Fiction (Young adult)

Sleight of Hand

Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

On a dare from his girlfriend’s brother, Javvan steals a neighbor’s car. Now he’s got a criminal record and a bigger problem: get a job or violate his parole. Endless interviews later and no one will hire him because of his criminal record. Whatever happened to a second chance? Finally, he gets a gig with a contractor named Kevin, and Javvan figures his life is on an upswing. Too bad Kevin’s a thief and he’s given Javvan one choice. Help him steal, or he’ll make sure Javvan ends up back in jail.

Fiction (Young adult)

Terminate

Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2017.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Josie’s friend Amanda is missing. But because she’s a runaway with a history of drug use and other risky behavior, no one seems to care. Clem, the owner of the community kitchen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where Josie works in exchange for food, advises her to just leave well enough alone. Then a young man whose friend is also missing asks her for help. Josie learns that she, along with the other teens who helped her bring down the cop responsible for the death of her entire family, is becoming known on the street as a person who makes sure justice is done. When the battered bodies of homeless teens start filling the city’s morgue, Josie and Team Retribution suspect a connection to their missing friends and begin investigating. They discover an underground fight club where at-risk youth are being forced to fight and even kill each other for sport. Josie is captured and may have to enter the ring herself to save her friends.

Fiction (Young adult)

True Grime

[?]: Blueberry Hill Press, 2011.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from Deen’s personal website)

Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with Violent Illness of Unusual Resistance and Strength (humans call them “viruses,” but their mistake is understandable.  The very young often get their words wrong.).  When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her.  To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a V.I.U.R.S in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human.  But once Pepper’s theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity’s worth saving?

Fiction (Young adult)

True Grime 2: Angel Maker

[]: Blueberry Hill Press, 2012.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from Deen’s personal website)

For the last two years, human Aponi Runningbear has been training to be part of Grime, the magical police division tasked with protecting humanity from SOAP terrorists. But things aren’t going well. She’s barely keeping up with her studies, failing the physical component, and her Generalized Anxiety Disorder is making her bad days even worse. When her team is given the chance to find a missing coworker and stop SOAP from producing a DNA-altering drug that’s killing humans, Aponi grabs hold of the chance to show she’s meant for Grime. But as the investigation heats up, she’s forced to deal with the tormentor from her past, dead bodies, and the certainty that SOAP’s going to win this battle. Humanity’s dying, Grime’s in trouble, and she’s failing…does a foster kid really have what it takes to save the world and herself?

Links

Natasha Deen personal website

Publisher Great Plains, Yellow Dog imprint

Publisher Orca Book Publishers

Publisher Running Press (RP) Kids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group