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4.43  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The magical story of a hex that goes haywire, and the power of friendship to set things right!

In the town of Howler's Hollow, conjuring magic is strictly off-limits. Only nothing makes Delpha McGill's skin crawl more than rules. So when she finds her family's secret book of hexes, she's itching to use it to banish her mama's money troubles. She just has to keep it quiet as
Published August 4th 2020 by Scholastic
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Brooks Benjamin
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First finished book of 2020 is this gem of a story, a wonderfully inclusive book all about unlikely friendships and the Very Real Magic they can create.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the absolute pleasure of getting an advanced reader copy of this book! I wish I had a book like this as a tween! This is exactly the kind of vibe I would have obsessed over! I love seeing characters I wouldve related too as a kid!!!! ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My advanced reader copy arrived just at the beginning of the current pandemic and it was an utterly delightful diversion from all that has been going on. Cattywampus is delightful story of rival families, forbidden magic, and making really big mistakes that can only be fixed by working together. It is set in rural Appalachia and it does a beautiful job of depicting both the beauty and the challenges of its setting without ever descending into being patronizing. This is something that many ...more
Jan 14, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020, arc-galley
Queer content: one of the two MCs is intersex, and another character has two moms
Ash Otterloo
Mar 08, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm partial to it!
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Unfortunately this fell very flat for me for a number of reasons but I liked seeing Katybird and Delpha become friends. This was also the first time I'd seen intersex rep in MG!
Jenny Mansell
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a complete and utter delight! It's rare that an author writes a book with magic and yet so deftly roots it into a very real place with very real people. So often characters who can do magic are just a little removed somehow from the world where we readers live but I felt as if the characters in Cattywampus were people I knew and I held my breath rooting for them as they went through difficulties. The pace is fast and I read through it all in one sitting because I just couldn't put ...more
Magical, folksy middle grade debut about two new witches learning about themselves and their family history. I so wish I could quote from this book (but can't 'cause it's an ARC) because the voice is awesome and hilarious and fits the characters so nicely. Cattywampus is pretty much my most favorite of words even before reading this.

The character arcs of both Delpha and Katybird are wonderfully done. Delpha's childhood has been shaped by a dad who left one day and never came back. Katybird comes
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was so lucky to read an ARC of this fun, funny, and absolutely magical middle grade debut. I giggled my way through the whole book, both because of the hilarious dialogue and the unexpected events of the plot--an enchanted outhouse? Devilish zombie grannies?

The author weaves Appalachian culture with her own original magic so seamlessly. Her characters have a ton of heart and grit, which is the perfect character combo.

CATTYWAMPUS is a Southern yarn in all the best ways--it's warm and
A folksy, magical MG debut about two young witches from rival families grappling with coming into their powers in the Appalachian mountains. Funny and quirky, this book charms from beginning to end with forbidden magic hexes gone wrong, cemeteries and friendship. Also has great intersex rep.
Gahhh! This is amazing! This book is full of magic and beautifully showcases the doubts, love, and unconscious biases towards folks who are intersex. To have a junior book have a main character who is intersex, another who is fighting terribly to never let anyone in (or else they'll leave like everyone else does), and honest portrayals of the heavy load living in poverty and the necessity of making kids grow up faster than they ever should, is so deeply powerful that I am so happy to of read ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Voicey adventures with layers of heart are the best kind of book, and Ash does that better than just about anyone. I fell in love with the characters from the beginning and will always have a space in my heart just for them. This is one to keep on hand to share with anyone in your life who feels just a little (or sometimes a lot) cattywampus.
Natalie Aguirre
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Edelweiss for an ARC of Cattywampus. This was such a fun, fast-paced story. I loved the magic of the hexes, but especially enjoyed the middle grade issues of friendship, working together, and self-worth that the story explored.

This is probably one of the best middle grade reads I have checked out this year. Funny, quirky, and full of magic, this is one of those stories where family rivalries mean accidental zombies. A total hoot and one worth checking out if you love adorable middle graders and magical fun times!
Tanya Prax
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and magical! I love that there is a main character who is intersex.
Renee Weasley
Delpha McGill longs to be a proper witch. It would certainly help take care of the hundred little things that needed fixing. Her mother's banned any magic in their family due to tragedy, but Delpha's got her mind set. One day she stumbles across her grandmother's spellbook. This could be a game changer.

Katybird Hearn's got her own problems to deal with. Her magic's all wonky. Her hands glow and she can't make any spells work. She's starting to worry if she'll ever be able to perform magic, like
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I read a tween-targeted novel, and Cattywampus reminded me of how delightful they can be. It was a fun and thoughtful little break, a quick read for an adult, but surprisingly rich and layered.

Every character is shown to be a multifaceted, complete person, both flawed and worthy. The adults had emotionally interesting arcs of their own, their foibles presented without condemnation, which is really freaking impressive in a book aimed at a middle school audience. The
Lo Trask
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cattywampus is the debut novel of author Ash Van Otterloo. It follows the stories of Delpha McGill and Katybird Hearn, two young witches who are trying to come into their magic and not kill each other in the process.

Its always exciting to see a queer author writing queer* middle grade. My heart gave a little flutter when Tylers two moms appeared. But Katybird was something special. While coming out stories are always important, it was so refreshing to read about a character who already loved
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a story featuring the POV of an intersex character. I'm both irked that this is the case and so very grateful that Ash Van Otterloo wrote this into Katybird's wonderful arc.

One of the standout aspects of this story is the voice that oozes off the page. I spent some of my adolescence in the South, and although it didn't feel quite like the Southern accents I remember (because it's set in Appalachia which is a different region), it still gave me wicked nostalgia for the small
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC of this book for #bookportage.

The McGill and Hearn families were at each other's throat for generations over their magical use, until a peace settlement was reached. Most people have forgotten about that feud, and that magic ever existed in their town, but all that changes when Delpha McGill and Katybird Hearn butt heads and end up stirring up old trouble. Delpha's mom has banned the use of magic, but once she finds her family's old spell book,
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this book.

Two teenage witches overcome their differences and work together to save their town from a zombie invasion. Also, there are friendly werewolves! This is a sweet story about embracing who you are and finding your magic. Its set in a magical version of Appalachia, and populated by a cast of diverse characters. One of the two main characters is intersex, but shes also a girl... because who you are is about so much more than your DNA. I
Dane Lyn
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A bildungsroman with an appeal to all ages is always a joy to read, and this book feels fresh and was a compelling read. Combining the authentic voice of authors such as John Green, Jerry Spinelli, and Adam Silvera, with the magical weaving of Brandon Mull and Rick Riordan, this book celebrates non-conformity in ways that middle schoolers can relate to. The idea of accepting individuality is tackled in sensitive yet comedic ways as your heart is opened up to two very different girls whose ...more
Ms. Yingling
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Katybird Hearn and Delpha McGill have very different lives in the twon of Howler's Hollow in Appalachia. Katy's family is fairly well to-do. Her grandparents run a local folk museum, and her mother uses plant magic occasionally, although she is reluctant to discuss Katy's nascent powers. Delpha's family is struggling; her father left when she was young, and her grandmother recently died, leaving her and her mother, who is a midwife, to try to scrape together a living.
Deanna Holdsworth
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Delpha and Katybird are two girls from two different families that do not get along. However, they learn that friendship and solving problems together is more important than old feuds. I enjoyed this story because there was fun, magic and life lessons.
Magic in Howler's Hollow is forbidden but Delpha finds a book that has family hexes and she cannot wait to try a few. Katybird also wants this book and as they fight over the book a horrible hex is released in Howler's Hollow. With the little bit
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, lib2020
very fun mg fantasy; I very much appreciated that one of the main characters is intersex. I can't think of any other intersex kid in a mg fantasy, and thought her character was really well done. Her body doesn't bother her except when societal expectations come into play, and other kids start praying for her, and when she feels that she disappoints familial expectations of girls having magic....turns out she does have the family magic after all. The other main character is a girl growing up in ...more
Kerelyn Smith
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
A wild and witchy adventure full of magic and heart and family

Cattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo is a fantastic contemporary fantasy novel about two young witches struggling to come into their powers. The story is told in alternating POVs by the gruff and practical Delpha and the warm and anxious Katybird. They are young budding witches from rival witching families whose members and magic have never gotten along. But when they are forced together to reverse an ancestral zombie curse, they have to
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely adorable debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and the power within us all. I absolutely enjoyed the inclusive nature of the story, and how it did not patronize characters who were different. Featuring an intersex main character, the normalization of ASL with a young deaf character, same sex parents, and so much more. It is rare for me to find a middle grade book that is so inclusive with it's characters, and I love that kids may be able to see themselves in this novel. I ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: other
Great potential and an interesting premise but the book fell flat for me. The feuding families history and zombie ancestors were the 2 best parts of the book and unfortunately didnt get much air time. This was told in dual POV. I enjoyed Delphia's perspective somewhat, but not Katybirds. She was way too whiny and I have a pet peeve about reading a characters inner monologue.

If you are looking for diversity rep there is a good amount in this book(LGBTQ and intersex, and a character who is deaf).
Caleb John Lawson
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cattywampus is a rollicking tale that will have your kids (and you!) reading late into the witching hour, just-one-more-chaptering until you reach the very last page.

This story is told in expressive and captivating prose, featuring an electrifying cast of characters that will have you snickering, sobbing, and sneaking a peek over your shoulder to make sure theres not a haint or a hag creeping through the shadows.

Cattywampus is among the great once-in-a-childhood books that will bewitch any kid
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This middle grade fantasy is told by the two main characters, in alternating chapters. Its set in Appalachia, a region we dont see often in books for kids. I loved the story and the two main characters, as well as their families and the boy who ends up tagging along and helping out. The language was fun and made the zombie apocalypse they bring down on their town less terrifying. I would have enjoyed a little more wrapping up of some things at the end, it felt a bit quick after the climax, but ...more
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Ash Van Otterloo was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills.

They currently live just outside of Seattle with their best friend and four wild forest-children. They are the author of CATTYWAMPUS (Scholastic, Aug 4, 2020) and A TOUCH OF RUCKUS (Scholastic, Fall '21).

Ash is regarded fondly by a dog and two cats, and, like a cat, enjoys people who offer them good food regularly.

Whether or not

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