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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  16,383 ratings  ·  1,486 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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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,383 ratings  ·  1,486 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.
Alice (MTB/Alice Tied The Bookish Knot)
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.
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
Jun 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading about whiny protagonists
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.
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: drama, young-adult
{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: ya, 2009
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 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
bec ɤ
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
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
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelves
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
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
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.
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
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.
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Hannah P
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 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
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ap
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Could you give up your dreams to let out a friend. Kate Malone a senior in High school, only has one thing on her mind getting into MIT. For getting accepted into college is a huge deal for people in this school. Which mean a lot of the kids in the school are one way minded. Meaning worry about themselves, get homework done, and get accepted into your top school of choice. When a girl named Teri Linch pops into her life; things take a turn that was unexpected. Teri house burns down, and Kate Fat ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Devon Munn
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson
Another Laurie Halse Anderson book i really enjoyed, i wasn't too impressed by Speak, but this (and Wintergirls) i really enjoyed

I liked the writing style in this book. It was very interesting to see how the main characters mind worked, though she was annoying and the characters were pretty underdeveloped (and the connection to Speak was kinda pointless, but that's just a nitpick) this was a solid novel
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