Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

genre: ya

Kate's life with her dad and brother is handled with precision.  Good Kate takes care, she studies like crazy, she makes sure everyone has what they need.  As soon as she just gets her acceptance letter from MIT, her life will be as orderly and perfect at the periodic table that she adores.

Only, there is another side of Kate: the one that hates being the daughter of a minister.  The one that can't sleep, who has never really mourned the loss of her mother. The one who maybe told a big fat lie about her college applications.  A Kate that isn't brave enough to stand up for Teri when she sees her being bullied. 

Pretty soon, Kate has to find a way to morph back into one self before she crumbles into emotional pieces.  And when Teri ends up being more a part of her life than Kate had ever wanted, Kate is faced with experiences that change everything.

This isn't your average ya novel.  This is a novel that really digs into the hurts we feel, the horrible things that happen to us - and the things we choose that we regret.  Anderson is such a master at writing the female protagonist.  She puts teens in situations that are just too much to handle - just like they get into in real life - and then explores the fallout.  Abuse, loss of a parent, tragedy - Kate has to slog through all of this alongside Teri and I dare any reader to remain untouched by their story.

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bermudaonion said...

I'd read just about anything Anderson writes.

Meytal Radzinski said...

I'm a big fan of Laurie Halse Anderson, though I'm the rare anomaly (even among her fans) who possibly likes Catalyst as much as Speak. Most readers who read Catalyst immediately after Speak are disappointed by Kate's story, thinking that it doesn't come close to Melinda's.

I've always greatly appreciated Kate as a wonderfully drawn, very realistic character. The story is also quite original - both a standard teen problem (college stress and family drama) as well as a deeper, more sentimental and dark story. Catalyst is very special in this sense, because it finds a great way to balance the two stories without any heavy-handedness, thanks to Anderson's writing.

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