Catalyst is a very different book from my last Anderson book, Speak (a book I highly recommend). Where Speak was very much a story about a tragic incident that happened to one person who lived inside her own head for most of the book, Catalyst was about Kate, who had a lot of friends, but was so single-minded about getting into MIT that she couldn't see anything that was right there in front of her. When she begins to notice, she forms an unlikely friendship and you can see her grow beyond her obsession with MIT to what is truly important in life.
This book was so well written that I cried like a baby when the most tragic scene unfolded. Anderson writes this in first person present tense prose and it is done so well that it holds up beautifully through the entire novel. The pacing was very well done, with just the right mix of high and low tension, so that neither dominated the book. Also, there was no point in this reading where my mind wandered because there wasnt enough occurring. The author crafted a story that was so absorbing that it could be read in one sitting which is actually what I ended up doing because I couldnt put the book down.
While this book doesn't top Speak, it's still a good read. I especially like the main character - an atheist pastor's dauther!
A very enjoyable book. It made me tear up a bit, and it really brought a lot of difficult facets of life, especially teen life, to the surface.