Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James Klise  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Peoria, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Klise was born in Peoria and currently resides in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

James Klise is a high school librarian, supervisor of the high school literary journal and teen book club as well as the Gay-Straight Alliance advisor at Chicago International Charter School Northtown Academy. His short stories have appeared in many journals, including ''StoryQuarterly'', ''New Orleans Review'', ''Ascent'', and ''Southern Humanities Review''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Love Drugged
ISBN: 0738721751

Flux. 2010

If you could change who you are, would you? Should you?

Fifteen-year-old Jamie Bates has a simple strategy for surviving high school: fit in, keep a low profile, and above all, protect his biggest secret-he's gay. But when a classmate discovers the truth, a terrified Jamie does all he can to change who he is. At first, it's easy. Everyone notices when he starts hanging out with Celia Gamez, the richest and most beautiful girl in school. And when he steals an experimental new drug that's supposed to "cure" his attraction to guys, Jamie thinks he's finally going to have a "normal" life.

But as the drug's side effects worsen and his relationship with Celia heats up, Jamie begins to realize that lying and using could shatter the fragile world of deception that he's created-and hurt the people closest to him.

Told with equal doses of humor and suspense, Love Drugged explores the consequences of a life constructed almost entirely of lies . . . especially the lies we tell ourselves.

An American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in Children's & Young Adult Literature

The Art of Secrets
ISBN: 1616201959

Algonquin Young Readers. 2014

A Fire Destroys . . .
A Treasure Appears . . .
A Crime Unfolds . . .

An Edgar Award Winner, Best YA Novel 2015
A Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" 2014
A Booklist Editors' Choice, Books for Youth 2014
A Booklist Top Ten Crime Fiction for Youth 2014

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again. Should Saba’s family have all that money? Or should it go to the students who found the art? Or to the school? And just what caused that fire? Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as students and teachers alike debate who should get the money and begin to point fingers and make accusations. The true story of the fire that sets events in motion and what happens afterward gradually comes together in an innovative narrative made up of journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages, and other documents.


Love Drugged

  • Stonewall Honor Award, 2011
  • ALA Rainbow List of Recommended GLBTQ Books for Young Readers, 2011
  • Lambda Literary Award Finalist, 2011
  • Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens, 2015
  • The Art of Secrets

  • ILLINIOS READS Book, 2015
  • Edgar Award Winner, Mystery Writers of America, 2015
  • "We Need Diverse Books" Educator Kit Selection, 2015
  • Bank Street Best Books for Children Selection, 2015
  • Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, Master List, 2016
  • Sakura Medal H.S. Nominee, Japan, 2016
  • Chicago Public Schools Recommended Reading List, 2015
  • ALA Booklist Editors' Choice Winner, 2014
  • Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" Selection, 2014
  • Booklist "Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth," 2014
  • ABC Best Books for Children & Teens Pick, 2014
  • Christian Science Monitor "25 Best New Middle Grade Novels," 2014
  • Houston Chronicle Summer Reading List, 2014

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Klise enjoys visiting high schools to talk to groups of any size, especially around Chicago. He will conduct half-day or full-day writing workshops, or to provide "book talks" about other contemporary novels that will get teens excited about reading. Fees vary, depending on travel. For more information, email him at