Monday, September 12, 2011

A Review of 'Catalyst' by Laurie Halse Anderson (Audio Book)

"Meet Katie 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.

Set in the same community as the remarkable 'Speak,' 'Catalyst' is a novel that will change the way you look at the world."

Note: a catalyst is used when one wants to speed up a chemical reaction.  More bonus points for integrating what I learned (sophomore year)?  You'll think about it?  Great.

Once more, Laurie Halse Anderson leaves me in awe.  I don't know how she does it.

At the beginning of this book, Anderson hits home for me as Katie applies to colleges (well, one college: MIT) and waits to hear what the verdict is.  Right from the start, I had a horrible feeling when Katie said that she'd only applied to one college.  I have a friend who's doing that, and I'm so afraid for her.  She's not applying anywhere as gutsy as MIT, but still, wouldn't you rather have that peace of mind that you have a back up plan waiting for you?  That's my feeling, and now I'm for sure going to apply to number of colleges, not just my first choice.

I felt that dread after (SPOILER) Katie gets her rejection letter and she has to figure out what to do next.  And the bad thing is, she struggles with this decision until the end of the book, which means I'm left hanging and sweating out this problem myself (which, in hindsight, seems a little silly, since this is fictional, but I guess that's the sign of an author doing an awesome job).

After this occurrence, the story takes an unexpected turn as Teri's-- son?  Littlest brother?-- Mikey dies of an electrical shock.  The response to this tragedy is sad, but awesome.  There is a large funeral and I loved it when Katie and her friends decide to create a sort of mural in the room that would have been Mikey's room.  It seemed like a good way to have closure and a good way to let the anger at the situation out.

Anderson's characters were very well-written, I continue to enjoy her writing style, and I was able to connect to this book emotionally (as well as understand the chemistry and math references... some of them... to a certain degree...)

I didn't care for this book as much as I liked 'Wintergirls' or 'Speak,' but it was very interesting nevertheless.

I give 'Catalyst':
Thanks for reading!


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