Daniel's Reviews > Catalyst

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
638550
's review
Dec 01, 07

bookshelves: young-adult
Read in October, 2006

** spoiler alert ** This is very typical "Young Adult" fare, with every emotion and act being handled with high drama. Everything could lead to the end of the world in this girl's mind.

I don't enjoy this kind of book, but I understand its place in juvenile literature. It feeds a certain kind of reader.

That aside, I didn't care for much of this book. The premise was slippery at best. A girl smart enough to think she can get in to MIT but doesn't apply to any other schools. A girl that smart, but who lies about applying to other schools. A girl that smart, athletic, and strong enough of nerve to mouth off to a bully who takes on the entire football team, but doesn't apply to more than one college ... and lies about it. Hmm. Doesn't fit for me.

The aspect of the girl being a runner and one who often runs as a way to spend time thinking, was never explored properly or used efficiently.

I liked being surprised that the little boy was actually the son (not the brother that we expected) of the female bully. And the son by the bully's father! A great twist and character defining opportunity.

Having the boy die seemed totally unnecessary, even to create high drama for a YA book.

I wouldn't recommned this, even to those who like YA books.
16 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Catalyst.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

MK (Consultant, Corporal Therapist) For me I liked the college anxiety bit. The rest was a bunch of fluff. But I enjoyed it. It was my first time reading this author.Great review. I like honest opinion. not just it sucked. Thanks!


message 2: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Loy Son Urg, spoiler alert.


message 3: by Moe (new)

Moe I thought that the fact that she applied to only that one college (even though she's smart) actually WAS realistic; it showed how truly arrogant she was. She was that confident that she'd make it. I also liked how she complained ad nauseum about how irrelevant her English Language Arts class was, only to find out that her weak writing on the essay of her application sealed her fate. Guess she should've paid attention in ELA!

I hear you about the high drama, but being a teenage girl is kind of like that. Everything does seem life or death at the time.

I thought the running was really a symbol of her habbit of "running away" from issues instead of dealing with them rather than a method to think.

I just read the book and was anxious for a discussion group---hence the comments from a stranger! Your review gave me something to think about. Thanks!


Daniel Moe wrote: "I thought that the fact that she applied to only that one college (even though she's smart) actually WAS realistic; it showed how truly arrogant she was. She was that confident that she'd make it...."

I appreciate the counter thoughts and can totally understand where you are coming from. My 13 year old daughter just read the book herself and really liked it.

I understand the high drama in YA fiction like this -- and if this girl's stupidity in not applying for college helps my daughter tackle the future well, then this is great.

I've met Laurie Anderson at SCBWI conventions and she's very sweet, and I've read a bunch of YA high drama books, but I still don't care for this particular book.

Your comments will make me think, though...! Thank you!



♥Jenny♥ You act like smart girls can't have moments of courage and stupidity. Nobody's perfect. I've read a true story about a smart girl (I'm talking, straight A's, makes her mom proud smart) who gets hooked on Crack and completely screws her life up, ends up having children, and then screws up the lives of her children (by the way, at this point, she's still hooked on crack). We all make mistakes, even the smart kids, so get off her case. The boy didn't die for drama, he died to show the emotions that came with his death. It's a coming of age novel, something has to happen where the teenage protagonist has to rethink his/her life and life in general. This book was amazingly written. And if you don't agree, don't read any more of Laurie Halse Anderson's books, because they're all great and I'd hate to see you butcher any more of her books with your less than appreciative reviews.


Daniel Jenny, you wrote..."The boy didn't die for drama, he died to show the emotions that came with his death. It's a coming of age novel, something has to happen where the teenage protagonist has to rethink his/her life and life in general." Don't you consider that drama?

I'm not quite sure how I "butchered" the book -- I stated I didn't care for it personally but that I understand how others get in to this kind of fiction, and I gave my reasons for not liking it.

I'll continue to give less-than-appreciative reviews to anything I don't like, fully knowing and expecting that IT IS A PERSONAL OPINION and that others will feel differently. If we all liked the same things, this would be a pretty boring world.

And by the way people...I donated my copy to my local library so that people who might enjoy it, can do so, freely.

Thanks for expressing your thoughts!


Allegra Peery Perfectly said. Even I, as a young adult did not enjoy it & felt like the college thing was so dumb. Also Mikey did not have to die, let's get real.


back to top