Catalyst: Book summary and reviews of Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

Catalyst
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2003,
    240 pages.
    Age range: Young Adult


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Book Summary

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 change as suddenly as 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 down and she's still waiting to hear from the only college she applied to: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of her control - and then, something happens 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Intelligently written with multi-dimensional characters that replay in one's mind, this complex, contemporary story carries much of the intensity and harshness of Speak. It confronts moral issues, religious conundrums, and the dynamics of emotions in young adult lives as two girls driven by the past and present realize their impact on the future." - Kirkus Reviews

"Teens will take to Kate instantly, but as the novel continues, they may be confused about what makes her tick. Still, the universal obstacles she faces and the realistic outcome will likely hold readers' attention." - Publisher's Weekly

"There is too much happening too fast and readers are left with many unanswered questions, and an ending that seems neat but unlikely. This title has a good premise and some moments of fine writing, but it lacks the depth of characterization that made Speak so compelling." - School Library Journal

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Author Information

Laurie Halse Anderson Author Biography

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Anderson was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature…". A wife and mother of four, Anderson lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.

Link to Laurie Halse Anderson's Website

Name Pronunciation
Laurie Halse Anderson: Halse rhymes with waltz

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