Laurie Halse Anderson
FROM THE COVER:
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 happen like 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 by and she’s still waiting to hear from the only college where she’s applied: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of control – and then, something occurs that truly blows it all apart.
My rating: 4 stars.
Catalyst is full of blunt, raw emotion.
The plot is rough-going, and at times, the same goes for the characters. For most of the story, Kate is detached from both her life and the reader – but that’s her purpose. When you think you know her, another layer reveals itself. Teri is readable, although not as strong of a character as Kate.
Throughout the course of the book the writing remains simple, but plaintive. The dialogue is slow. Anderson creates the tone through narration instead. But it’s this narration – Kate’s personal voice – that encompasses the story and keeps it alive.
Depressing but hopeful, Catalyst offers emotional insight that other novels lack.