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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  14,032 Ratings  ·  1,268 Reviews
From the author of Speak comes a novel that confronts the conundrum of young adult life. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all--or so she thinks. Then things dramatically change.
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published January 28th 2002 by Perfection Learning
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Lisa I would not call it a cliff hanger. I think she wraps it up well, but yes, there are still things to leave you thinking.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 15, 2011 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya

it's fine.

is laurie halse anderson the jodi picoult of the YA set? is this a fair assessment?? jodi picoult's schtick is to just take whatever makes the headlines and structure a book around it. anderson's seems to be to take a teen problem and structure a book around it. (this is excluding her historical stuff, which i liked a lot more than any of the three contemporary problem novels i have read) and it's probably a great thing that she does this - there are so many different problems,
Dec 01, 2007 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 Imani ♥ ☮
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moira Russell
Not anywhere nearly as good as Speak. Kate, the science brain who is nevertheless too stupid (or too driven) to apply to any other college than MIT, doesn't get in (that's not a spoiler, it's the first twenty pages) and her life is turned upside down when her reverend father takes in Teri Litch, an outcast girl, and Teri's mother and young brother. Teri is the catalyst of the hackneyed title, altho we never see anything from her point of view and never get to know her as a character. We don't ge ...more
Jan 16, 2009 R.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a work of terrible genius, but I can't go into too much detail because it will break me. Suffice it to say that it's brilliant and that it completely blindsided me and wrecked me emotionally in a way that no other book I've read has ever done.
Oct 03, 2007 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson is a sequel/companion to Speak. It's set one year after the events of Speak. This novel is narrated by Kate Malone: straight-A senior, science and math whiz, and daughter of the local reverend. Kate's also a great runner, which is good because Kate's been running from a lot of things:

Kate has been the family caretaker since her mother died. She hasn't been sleeping as she waits to hear from her dream college (she runs instead). And now Teri Litch, Kate's nemesis
Jun 26, 2013 Summer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading about whiny protagonists
Shelves: annoying-mc
Me before reading Catalyst:

Ooh it's written by Laurie Halse Anderson! This should be good!

Me after reading:

Why the hell did I even waste money on this book and WHY did I actually waste precious reading time to suffer through this garbage??

Yep. It was that bad.

And the thing is, I kept reading, mistakenly thinking that this would be one of those books that resolves everything in the last few pages and everything clicks by the end of the novel.

But, disappointingly, nothing was resolved. At all.

rebecca ɤ
2.5 stars
Feb 06, 2009 Megan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, drama
{Catalyst* is missing a huge part of what could have made up a good book for me. The main character, Kate, is an ambitious over-achiever science geek with plans of getting into MIT, but her hopes are dashed when she is rejected from her dream school - and it happens to be the only college she applied to. Meanwhile the rest of her life is going crazy as her neighbor's house burns down and the messed up family - including a really rough and tumble girl Kate doesn't get along with very well - move ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, ya, ala-ya-2003
This is another emotional story written by Laurie Halse Anderson. "Catalyst" is a novel about Kate - high school senior who thinks she has all her life planned out and under control. She is a perfectionist and does everything to make sure her life doesn't steer away from her plan. Some might think that Kate is self-centered and almost obsessive, but in reality she uses this orderliness to shield herself from the deep pain caused by her mother's death. After a series of events, some catastrophic, ...more
Cindy G.
Jan 27, 2010 Cindy G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Even though I was exhausted, I stayed up until 1:00 AM reading Catalyst. I was all ready to put the book down, then something happened, and there was no way I could stop reading until the end.

Catalyst tells the story of Kate, a senior chemistry geek, who is determined to attend M.I.T. She is so fixated on going to the school of her deceased mother that she applied no where else and did not tell anyone. At the outset of the book, Kate is desperately waiting for a letter from the prestigious Cambr
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
After my last read, not to be confused with my last review, I needed something powerful and beautiful and character-driven. Catalyst turned out to be a perfect choice. Until now, my experience with Laurie Halse Anderson consisted solely of Speak. At that time, I didn't really read much realistic fiction, and I mostly steered away from unhappy books. As such, I really was not sure what to make of it, and could not appreciate it as much as I know I could now. Having read and super liked Catalyst, ...more
Lauren Fidler
you know what sucks? when you're about 150 pages into a novel and you get that funky deja-vu-y sort of vibe about it. or, more specifically, when you've had that deja-vu vibe for 150 pages or so and then you realize you've read it before.

yeah, that old chestnut.

you know what's worse? when you remember actively making the decision to stop reading a book, but then, upon accidentally rereading it, realize you've gone past the point of no return and now you have no choice but to see how this badboy
Sep 17, 2011 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last night I dreamed that I was sitting in a gathering of people, waiting for my turn to get up and play my violin. There was a tall guy with dark hair speaking to the crowd, and a little fat blond girl sitting across the aisle from me who the tall guy called an idiot. This struck me wrong, so I told him to stop. Not just because he’d called the girl an idiot, but because he’d yelled it, said it in a mean and condescending way. Instead of listening, though, he slapped the girl on the head.

I pic
Jul 12, 2015 Shelby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I should rate this a 4 but I'm just not sure. I felt really squeamish and uncomfortable reading it at times which im pretty sure is what the author intended...I'm just not into feeling all cold and lost while reading. Besides the weird emotions I felt, it was a great, gritty story that went in an unexpected direction.
I’ve reviewed five of Laurie Halse Anderson’s novels so far, and I think I’ve made it clear that she’s one of my all-time favorite YA authors. That said, it’s not difficult to identify a sort of formula. Most of Anderson’s YA novels are problem novels about a particular issue. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - Anderson writes problem novels better than pretty much anyone I can think of. She writes novels that are realistic and relatable, and she never sacrifices character development or an en ...more
Hannah Bradley
This book was "okay" in the most okayest way possible. I read it in like 2 days and it was light and easy to read. I did enjoy reading, I guess, but I just didn't really care much about it. There were so many things happening but somehow I couldn't bring myself to care about it. I didn't like how LHA totally shifted halfway through the book. It was like a book about college acceptance and a book about a child's death mashed together with no real correlation. A lot of things happened that made me ...more
Nov 16, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone--it's excellent
Recommended to Laurie by: Dr. Mark Letcher
Laurie Halse Anderson has become one of my favorite authors!

Catalyst is about a girl named Kate Malone, the daughter of a preacher, and science whiz is school. Her dreams and aspirations revolve around her acceptance into MIT. The book takes the reader through Kate's trials as she waits for a letter, any letter, from MIT. Just as Kate gets into a groove a tragedy happens. Her neighbors house and barn are on fire! Her neighbors are the dreaded Litch family. Terri Litch is a large girl who is cons
Harun Harahap
Mar 29, 2011 Harun Harahap rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Harun Harahap by: christian simamora
Shelves: punya, fiksi, terjemahan
Kate Malone, seorang gadis pintar dan pelari jarak jauh berbakat. Gadis 'beasiswa' dapat dijadikan nama panggilannya. Di penghujung tahun ketiganya di SMU, Kate bersiap untuk masuk ke sekolah pilihan utamanya, MIT. Hanya di sanalah ia mendaftarkan dirinya untuk kuliah. Ia percaya dan yakin bahwa dirinya akan menjadi salah satu mahasiswa universitas tersebut. Lalu bagaimanakah kisahnya berlanjut ketika MIT menolaknya?

Simak kisah 'perjuangan' Kate dalam menerima kenyataan tersebut. Seorang gadis r
Jan 22, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am slowly working my way through all of Laurie Halse Anderson's books and have yet to be disappointed. How she can get inside the minds and think like a teenager AND put it on paper is beyond me! Even having a 16 year old and 12 year old I could never have insight she possesses. Elastic Condition, Scientific Method and Flammability are just a few of the chapter titles which is so intriguing to me. I love the transition between Good Kate and Bad Kate and was totally taken aback and unprepared f ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Lynai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-a-copy
Speak was the very first novel I read by this author and though it was a good book, reading the reviews before I actually read it spoiled a lot of things for me, especially the main premise of the story. So, lesson learned, I skipped reading reviews until after I have finished reading the book. This is the reason why I love Catalyst more than Speak.

Catalyst is a story about Kate Malone who is about to graduate from high school and is hoping badly to be admitted to the only college she applie
Mar 28, 2009 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: After reading "Speak" I picked this one up
"Catalyst" is about Kate Malone, the somewhat typical straight-A acheiving cross-country running unsatisfied daughter of a preacher. At the beggining of the book the main conflict comes from the pressure she experiences while she waits to get accepted (or rejected) by MIT. Then, she runs into the ever so unfriendly neighbor girl Teri Litch. That really mixes up the plot, and the story.

While I enjoyed reading this book, it was no where close to as good as Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak". One of t
Jul 18, 2015 Ella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
I always love Laurie Halse Anderson's writing and this book was no different. The plot follows a teenage year who is smart and ready to go to college. As the tension of getting or not getting in to the only school she applied for( MIT) heightens, the rest of her life starts to crumble as other people have problems that she is drawn into. Her neighbors house burns down, of course the neighbor is kind of an enemy to the main character... And her brother is pretty crazy too, if not cute :) As she s ...more
Shaina Chen
Apr 05, 2015 Shaina Chen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up after reading "Speak" by the same author, and was pleased to find this one written in the same language style. Anderson has a unique way of writing that incorporates the main character's thoughts into the action, making it a more sensual experience. Sometimes she pauses midway in the action with a thought from the main character, intensifying the build up to the climax.

Before I started reading, the title of this book interested me. I was unfamiliar with the word, so I searc
Morgan F
I really enjoyed this book. The narrator was witty but painfully realistic. Everything about this book was real and gritty. Some of the lines were just perfection. I can't think of any more words to describe this book because I loved it so much.
Laurie Halse Anderson will always be one of my favorite authors.
Chris J
Jan 09, 2014 Chris J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catalyst Book Review (Literature)

Catalyst is a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson about a stressed, over-worked teenager who goes through a series of struggles while trying to get through her last few weeks of high school. The main character, Kate Malone is a chemistry loving, track running, honor student, preacher's daughter whose biggest concern is getting into the college of her dreams, M.I.T. Through the last weeks of her senior year, world is turned upside down; to the point where her prioritie
This book was... fine. Like 2.5 stars. I am maybe disappointed because I loved Speak and Wintergirls so much. But the characters left me flat. I was also confused about the point of putting the book in the same setting as Speak. Like, Kate has a conversation with Melinda. And she sees her doing art. But why? It seemed just like a random thing that brought nothing to the story. Also, Kate's characterization as chronic good/smart girl didn't really ring super true to me. I felt like Anderson was t ...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Se avessi letto il libro a 14 anni, lo avrei adorato alla follia. A 25 (quasi) l'ho trovato un po' banalotto, pur avendolo letto con molto piacere.. Lo stile della Anderson mi piace molto e mi è piaciuta la protagonista *_*
La trama del libro è.. Non so, un po' eterea. Fa pensare a mari e monti, in realtà è una storia quasi totalmente priva di nota che non mantiene nessuna aspettativa.
Tu lì a chiederti e chiederti e chiederti cosa ci sia di sbagliato in Kate, perché è così arrabbiata, perché è in
Jamie Brooks
I really loved Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I also follow Anderson on twitter and like her as a person, but it was difficult to like this book. There were parts I enjoyed and as a whole it wasn't bad per say it was just ......pointless I guess. I think if the characters had been explored more thoroughly it would have had more potential. A good way to describe it is I felt like the first part and the last part of the book were missing. It seemed like what I was reading was the middle chunk. ...more
I have read other books by Anderson but I cannot dredge up a single thing that occurred in those books. I have a feeling the same will be said for this book in a few years.
I liked Kate and found myself relating to her on a few levels. Teri didn't seem fleshed out as a character until much later.
I find no fault with Anderson's writing but as for finding a point in this book... good luck. I wasn't expecting a happy neat ending, but I thought there might be a purpose for this story but I was wrong
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