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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  17,132 ratings  ·  1,545 reviews
Meet Kate Malone—straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell "Early Decision Harvard" Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all—or so she thinks. Then, things change as suddenly ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Speak (first published January 28th 2002)
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Lee I agree with Carrie. Not appropriate for a 6th grader because they wouldn't really relate to the character's issues.…moreI agree with Carrie. Not appropriate for a 6th grader because they wouldn't really relate to the character's issues.(less)

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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,132 ratings  ·  1,545 reviews

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Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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,
Schizanthus Nerd
If I could run all the time, life would be fine. As long as I keep moving, I’m in control.
Kate Malone runs at night. She does the housework and makes sure her younger brother and Reverend father are looked after. She is on the honour roll and can’t wait to attend her dream school, MIT. She barely sleeps. Her life is perfectly planned. Until it isn’t.

Teri Litch is an outcast. She wears her attitude like armour. She and her brother stay with their neighbours, the Malone’s, after a fire damages th
Dec 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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So I'm doing this project where I'm rereading the books I enjoyed as a teen. It's called the literary-sad-girl-canon, because I was both mopey and precocious, a literary sad girl. Yes, I know it's dumb but that's what I'm calling it. Anyway, when I was young, my mopey self was super into Laurie Halse Anderson. I mean, super. I didn't know book-signings were a thing back then but if I did, I probably would have dragged my mom to one becau
Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice)
It isn't often that I give books I manage to finish reading one star, mainly I DNF at an earlier stage but with Catalyst, that was a different story. Because of the short length, I decided to plough through and see if the storyline and characters were going to be appealing and compelling. Sadly, it was neither of those things. I enjoyed Forge and Chains both by the same author when I read them aged fourteen as a high school student but since then, the writing style doesn't quite sit well with me ...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jun 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.

Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Nov 01, 2022 rated it liked it
The catalyst was my first book by Laurie Halse Anderson and I was terrified of reading it.

This book was just okay not because of the plot but the length. The book has around 220 pages but it fully packed with so many different things as well as a lot of trauma.
While reading the book everything was really really rushed and I was confused how we moved through everything so quickly.

I would have love to seen more of basically everything. Kate Malone had a really interesting pov and reading about
ATheReader- check my bio
This book was extremely bad (And don't get me started on how hideous the cover is on Goodreads. WHY DID THEY PUT AN EYE ON IT?).

Catalyst is about straight-A student Kate who has always dreamed of going to MIT like her mother. She also takes care of her family, has a terrible sleeping schedule, and is obsessed with long distance running. This book starts out when her neighbor's house burns down and she has to live with her "nemesis" Teri and her brother.


I absolutely hated Kate.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Feb 06, 2009 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 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, ya
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
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
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
Cindy G.
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2011 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
L.E. 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
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
"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
Kali Dunson
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book honestly surprised me. I was reading it to preview for my students before teaching it. At the beginning, I was very disinterested. I just thought typical story about a high school girl with inner struggles. Once I hit the climax of the book, I was thoroughly heartbroken, engaged, and sympathetic towards the characters. I really enjoyed this quick read and am excited to see how my students will respond.
Erin Wikoff
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of those books that really sticks with you. Something you'll keep thinking about long after the book is back on the shelf. ...more
Aya Farhat

I didn’t enjoy reading this book very much.. but I pin-pointed some good dialogues and situations.. but overall it wasn’t my cup of tea (especially the ending😐)
Ryan Lovelass
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson is an entertaining and adventurous novel for teens and adults. This novel is focused on the life of Kate Malone, a High School Senior who is a straight A student, long distance runner, daughter of the local minister, and new girlfriend to Mitchell “Early Decision Harvard” Pangborn. Everything seemed to be looking up for Kate, she was excelling in school, she had a new boyfriend, there were no major troubles at home, until, one of her neighbor’s houses burned dow ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it liked it
3/5 stars bc it wasn't anything incredibly mind blowing for me, but i liked it a lot! very easy read and a little dated sounding (published in 2002 so that makes sense ig its been a while). def a twist that made the book much more entertaining but not sure I really get Kate's character. ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A quick read and engaging story that disappointingly ended without warning. As this YA book trips along, it lets us see more and more of its primary characters, warming us up to even the most prickly ones. But just as it's getting really good, the characters becoming real and sympathetic, it's over. A solid so-so. ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Preacher's daughter Kate Malone is smart, popular, and she has to get into MIT. It's the only school she applied to, and her dead mom is an alum. When she's not busy taking care of chores at home, including her father and younger brother, she runs track, works part time and she hangs out with her boyfriend and friends. Outcast Teri Litch couldn't be different. Both bullied and a bully, Teri is responsible for her baby brother's care and taking care of her brain damaged mother. When circumstances ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tsg-book-club
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
Keri Rico
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
Ever since I read Speak, I have been enamored with this author. The way she builds upon her words creates such a heart-wrenching display of emotions fought by young adults. Although I did enjoy this version of a Merryweather High School student, I didn't quite latch on as much I had with Melinda. Both were starkly different, but each so significant for young adults to read. It's another media for kids to realize they can have a voice.

As usual, Anderson really gives you a taste of each main chara
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UPDATE! SHOUT, my memoir in verse, is out, has received 9 starred reviews, and was longlisted for the National Book Award!

For bio stuff: Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and adults. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. Her new book, SHOUT, a memoir-in-verse about surviving sexual assault at the age of thirte

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