Wednesday, June 3, 2020

YA Book Review: Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durst

Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: Clarion Books (June 9, 2020)

Description: Zoe must figure out how to keep a giant kitten safe in this magical adventure about change, expectation, and accepting all for who they truly are—regardless of shape or size.

Zoe named the kitten Pipsqueak, because she was so tiny, and promised to always take care of her. Then the kitten grew. And grew. Now she’s bigger than a horse—and talking as well! Fleeing into the woods to escape the curious eyes of the Internet, Zoe and her best friend, Harrison, must keep the giant cat hidden as they desperately search for a way to return her to normal size. If they don’t succeed, Pipsqueak may never be safe again. But why did she grow so large in the first place? And what if trying to change her back leads to even greater danger?

My Thoughts: Lots of things are changing for almost 12-year-old Zoe. She's grown 4 inches and now towers over her best friend Harrison. Her brother Alex has graduated from high school and won a scholarship to a school in Paris. Her mother has taken a new job with the mayor's office. And her family is getting ready to start on a big remodeling project. Zoe wishes that things would just stay the same for a while.

Zoe has always been the kid who rescues animals in need. Her mom says she can't bring anymore home after the "skunk incident" though. When Zoe finds a tiny kitten between the garage and the garbage can, she doesn't quite know what to do. She decides to bring the kitten in and hide her in her room - just for the night. But she never expects what will happen next.

Zoe names the tiny kitten Pipsqueak and falls in love with her. She promises to always take care of her. So when her kitten starts to grown unusually fast, Zoe has quite a dilemma. Her parents agree to let her keep the kitten if she agrees to be completely responsible for its care. When the kitten grows to become a full size cat in three days and begins to talk, Zoe and Harrison don't know what to do.

It doesn't help that there have been sightings of other unusual animals including a green dog and a flying poodle which are bringing unwanted attention to Zoe's neighborhood. And Pipsqueak keeps growing. Zoe moves her to the garden shed when she gets to be the size of a large dog and still needs to keep her secret both from her family and from reporters who are looking for unusual animals.

Zoe wants to find a way to change Pipqueak back into an ordinary size cat and hopes her Aunt Alecia who believes in unusual things will be able to help her. But the two kids along with Pipsqueak, a rainbow colored mouse with wings, and the green dog have to find a way to travel the hundreds of miles to Aunt Alecia's house to get her help.

They all have lots of adventures and close calls as they find their way to Aunt Alecia's and then even farther into the White Mountains before they learn the secrets Aunt Alecia is keeping.

This was an excellent story about friendship and promises and the way things change even when you don't want the to. I loved the characters and the magic.

Favorite Quote:
Pipsqueak let out an offended meow before saying, "I'm not a robot."

"You're right," Harrison said. "Robots don't grow. But what if her growth were triggered by a robot? Nanotechnology."

"You just wanted to say nanotechnology."

"Yeah, I did," Harrison admitted.

She laughed. "Any other new ideas?"

"Pipsqueak could have come from outer space. Or another dimension. Parallel dimension? Pocket dimension? Mirror dimension?"
I received this one from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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