This is the third book I’ve read by Laurie Halse Anderson, I frist read Fever 1893 and read Speak after that. She is well-known for her writing on heavy YA topics. Her books are written from the perspective of teens with the wisdom of an adult voice, which is what makes them so universally appealing to all ages. I, for one, loved both of the aforementioned books.
I was drawn to the main character, Kate. She’s a smart, driven, successful, well-liked (but not popular), and family oriented girl. She loves running and chemistry. She wants to go to MIT for college, and doesn’t even consider the possibility of not getting in and doesn’t apply to any other schools. Aside from the MIT bit, she’s basically me, when I was in high school. (I only wanted to go to UW-Madison though I did apply to other schools, just to appease the adults around me.) She’s not as perfect as everyone thinks she is though, and when things stop going according to her plan and she is forced out of her comfort zone, she is forced to re-evaluate everything. Her life. Her future.
Pretty heavy stuff for a 17-yr-old, sure. But remember when you were 17? Everything was heavy. Everything was a big deal. While this wasn’t overly melodramatic, it also wasn’t that compelling I still can’t say why, but I just felt there was something missing from the story. It’s hard to explain, but Kate has an almost robotic character, not in a bad way. She thinks and acts like a scientist, in a way that I can really understand. So, when she “softened”, it almost felt forced.
Catalyst was good, but I didn’t love it as much as the others. I didn’t ever want to give up reading it, and in fact finished it in only a few days, but I never felt that pull to read past my bedtime either. Overall, it was a great story though. I just thought it lacked….something.