By Laurie Halse Anderson
Viking, 2002. 232 pgs. Young Adult
Kate Malone has a lot to live up to--she's the preacher's daughter, family caretaker, and a science and math whiz who has applied to her deceased mother's alma mater, MIT. She's also an expert at organizing her life and pushing her feelings aside. Having been wait-listed at MIT, though, makes her stress out about whether or not she'll be accepted, and then her enemy, Teri Litch, has to move in with her when Teri's house burns down. Suddenly, life is spinning out of control for Kate, and she just might not be able to handle it all.
Catalyst is an excellent book. Kate is genuine character and Anderson portrays human emotion well. The plot is gripping; the twists and turns and the way Kate deals with them are realistic. Subject matter and themes may be difficult for some readers, but they're ones that well-worth reading about and discussing.
I listened to this book on CD and would recommend that as well. Samantha Mathis was a great narrator and made the story one I wanted to keep listening to.