Thursday, March 25, 2010


Laurie Halse Anderson is the queen of suburban girls in a downward spiral. From eating disorders to college stress to divorce to sexual assault, her heroines hide their problems behind extreme behavior. She has an amazing ability to get into the minds of these troubled girls and draw the reader in as well.

Catalyst takes place in the same community as Speak (note to self: do not raise a teenager girl there) and focuses on Kate Malone. Teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Kate is awaiting admission to MIT, where she sent her lone college application. She is also not dealing with her mother’s death, trying to run a household, and deal with a bully named Teri Lynch.

All of Anderson’s work is dark and Catalyst is no exception. Kate is an unlikable character and does not rouse very much sympathy from the reader. In fact, none of the characters are likable, but they are extremely readable. Full of unexpected events, I found Catalyst hard to put down.

From Speak to Wintergirls to Catalyst, this is my year of Laurie Halse Anderson. Please, somebody donate Fever 1793 or Chains to our school!

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