Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was my first Laurie Halse Anderson book, and maybe I chose the wrong one, because all I’ve been told is that she’s awesome and this book was okay. Suggestions?

The story: Kate is a senior who made a huge mistake in only applying to one school — MIT. Oh, boy. So she’s freaking out about whether or not she’ll get into college, and lying to her friends and family about getting into other schools, and also generally worrying about getting through the school day, as you do in high school. She thinks her problems are pretty bad, but then the house of a girl she doesn’t really like catches fire and Kate’s dad (a pastor) decides to take that family on as a big project, and now Kate and this girl, Teri, are sharing a room. This makes Kate’s life worse, of course, but she also starts to see how maybe her problems aren’t quite so bad.

I was all right with the story most of the way through; I thought it was fairly realistic and I could empathize with Kate’s “good Kate, bad Kate” inner struggle. But then… then another terrible thing happens and the story just goes completely off the rails and I don’t even know what’s going on and then BOOM there’s a sickly sweet ending, much like in The Last Exit to Normal. Barf.

Please, give me a different one of her books to remove this one from my brain?

Rating: 6/10
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See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

3 thoughts on “Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. Mary says:

    I remember fiercely loving Speak when I was in high school (English Festival book selection). I think that was her first, and it's the only one I've ever read.

  2. Mary says:

    Annnnd in looking that up to confirm that I'm not crazy I discovered that there's now a 10th anniversary edition of Speak. Now I feel old.

  3. Alison says:

    Haha, yeah, we are old. I have heard good things about Speak, perhaps I will check that out next. Apparently Catalyst is a companion book of sorts… it takes place at the same high school and apparently the protagonist of Speak is mentioned, though I wouldn't have noticed. 🙂

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