Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: September 15th, 2003
Page Count: 232
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Meet Kate Malone-straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell "Early Decision Harvard" Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, things change as suddenly as a string of chemical reactions; first, the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their own home and move in. Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's little brother. The days are ticking down and she's still waiting to hear from the only college she applied to: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of her control-and then, something happens that truly blows it all apart.
"Look at the stupid, poor people. Look at the stupid, poor, burned-out people. Look at the stupid, poor, burned-out people, look at their dead baby. It's death porn for the masses."
Few Wild Words Quickie
There is definitely a beautiful gem hidden in this book.
I started CATALYST with the thought 'this will be another typical/predictable read, sigh', taking into consideration that I had read SPEAK (which happens to be a favourite of mine). I would say it was mostly the summary's fault for making me think in that particular way.
Not much to my surprise, it did start off something like that - a predictable read.
The main character Kate Malone went straight onto my negative side not many pages in and knew all the wrong things to say. But, as I was reading, Laurie Halse Anderson's writing style clearly rang through. It was probably the reason that I just didn't put this book on my DNF pile only 10 pages in. There is something unique and beautiful about the author's writing even though Kate was annoying me.
HOWEVER...that didn't last for long. CATALYST started flowering into its full potential not long after.
Throughout the book you are introduced to a range of characters, from Kate's friends to the members of the Church. Most the characters were unique in their own way, making them stand out. Teri Litch was one of those characters that you grow closer to as you read on. She comes across as hostile and aggressive, though that may not change as the book progressed but you get to a point where you begin to understand her. Teri's story strongly drives the plot which is one of the reasons as a reader you can get to know her better.
Kate being the main character and all, you can see a change and growth in her as you read. You even begin to like her and see that she's not the most horrible and annoying person in the world.
Half way through the book, I swear my heart was pulled out from my chest and ripped into pieces, I shed many tears and had to put the book down for 10 minutes and rein in my emotions.
This particular event that takes place in the book set up the mood for the rest of the book. That is probably when you realise how amazing Anderson's writing is. Everything in the book feels REAL, like you are experiencing it. It's basically my favourite type of writing. At that point, I think Kate's voice comes through strongest and powerful. I will again repeat this book felt realistic!
A bonus for anyone who read Speak, CATALYST is set in the same school. AND GUESS WHAT?
Melinda from Speak makes an appearance and there is even short dialogue between Kate and Melinda. That was probably one of the awesome points of the book too. It felt like I was checking up on an old friend.
I wouldn't say this book is plot driven but much more about the characters and exploring them. I don't think this book will be enjoyed by everyone but it should definitely be given a chance.
Anyone else read the book?
If you have, what did you think?