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Book Reviews of Catalyst

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
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ISBN-13: 9780142400012
ISBN-10: 0142400017
Publication Date: 9/15/2003
Pages: 240
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 86 ratings
Publisher: Speak
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

16 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Catalyst on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Anything that Laurie Halse Anderson touches turns to gold, and this book is no execption. It's absolutely amazing.
reviewed Catalyst on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Another amazing read from Laurie Halse Anderson. This is not a sunny book filled with happy days and sweet endings. A brilliant Senior doesn't get into MIT and her world crashes around her. Only that's just the beginning. The next thing she knows her worst enemy is living in her room, secrets tumble out, and Anderson throws a gut-wrenching twist into the mix that makes the worst of everyone's problems seem like nothing.

This is a book for mature young readers, and more adults should read her work.
reviewed Catalyst on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a very intelligently written book about a straight-a student, whose life is spinning out of control by a series of events that rock her world. Kate Malone thinks she can handle anything, but her life to spin out of control. This is a complex story that I enjoyed immensely. Parts of it were very sad. It puts you right in to Kate's shoes. A super read!
reviewed Catalyst on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
From Chemistry honors student and cross-country runner Kate Malone is driven. Daughter of a father who is a reverend first and a parent second ("Rev. Dad [Version 4.7] is a faulty operating system, incompatible with my software.") and a dead mother she tries not to remember, Kate has one goal: To escape them both by gaining entrance to her own holy temple, MIT. Eschewing sleep, she runs endlessly every night waiting for the sacred college acceptance letter. Then two disasters occur: Sullen classmate Teri and her younger brother, Mikey, take over Kate's room when their own house burns down, and a too-thin letter comes from MIT, signifying denial. And so the experiment begins. Can crude Teri and sweet Mikey, combined with the rejection letter, form the catalyst that will shake Kate out of her selfish tunnel vision and force her to deal with the suppressed pain of her mom's death? "If I could run all the time, life would be fine. As long as I keep moving, I'm in control." But for Kate, it's time to stop running and face the feelings she's spent her whole life racing away from.
reviewed Catalyst on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
this was a mind blowing book with twists in every chapter. it was a pheonomanal book that had me never wanting to put the book down. it is a great book to learn about what teeagers are thinking and what they sometimes go through
reviewed Catalyst on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I like books in this genre of realistic teenage fiction. However, this one may have hit a bit too close to home for me. It's about the intense stresses of getting into college, and frankly reading it stressed me out to no end. Hearing her obsess about getting into MIT reminded me of how badly I want to go to Stanford, and I could feel at times the stress kind of bleeding over. Also, I felt that there were a lot of events in the book that were a bit over the top, drama-wise. It is still a good book, and I like this author. I just found this to be particularly intense, and not in a good way.
reviewed Catalyst on + 29 more book reviews
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.
sues avatar reviewed Catalyst on + 94 more book reviews
A surprisingly quick read. A look inside the mind of a girl finishing up her senior year in high school and about the pressure she put on herself to succeed and get into MIT. Also about fitting in and acceptance of others, as her father, a pastor, tries to help out the less-fortunate neighbors. I really enjoyed it, didn't want to put it down, and am now interested in checking out more from this author.
TropicAtHeart avatar reviewed Catalyst on + 32 more book reviews
While this book doesn't top Speak, it's still a good read. I especially like the main character - an atheist pastor's dauther!
nursemare avatar reviewed Catalyst on + 75 more book reviews
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.
wintersqt4ever avatar reviewed Catalyst on + 61 more book reviews
Excellent book, I loved the whole hopeful concept.
reviewed Catalyst on + 3 more book reviews
The writing in this book is superb. You feel the panic and stress along with the narrator.
reviewed Catalyst on + 37 more book reviews
My high school daughter really liked this book.
reviewed Catalyst on + 25 more book reviews
Kate has a plan for her life. She has been working on it for as long as she knows, however her life has other plans. Kate is so determined that she will get into MIT that she choose not to apply anywhere else. However Kate is about to discover life has other plans for her. She is forced to realize that there is more to life than MIT in the form of her dad and Teri the angry unpopular kid in her class, who she thought she had figured out but slowly she learns there is more going on in her backyard than she knew.
reviewed Catalyst on
A good read about insight and planning, but not as good as Speak.
reviewed Catalyst on + 14 more book reviews
amazing book about a problem that surrounds one troubled girl throught high school. no matter how many towns she moves to she cant get rid of a vioce in her head that tells her to tel someone that big secret that changed her life forever that saturday night.