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Catfishing on CatNet

(CatNet #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,447 ratings  ·  459 reviews

How much does the internet know about YOU?

From Hugo and Locus Award-winning author Naomi Kritzer, Catfishing on CatNet is a thought-provoking near future YA thriller that could not be more timely as it explores issues of online privacy, artificial intelligence, and the power and perils of social networks.

New York Times Editors’ Choice/Staff Pick

Kindle Edition, 297 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Tor Teen
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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“I do not entirely understand people.
I know quite a lot about people, though.”
What would you do if you were a young, innocent and very much benevolent AI obsessed with cat pictures? One course of action, apparently, is to make a safe well-moderated online forum CatNet where like-minded people hang out in char rooms (known as Clowders) and exchange animal pictures while you pretend to be just another forum user (and all the admins, too). Meet CheshireCat, “the world’s most badass cat picture
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A Clowder of Catastrophes, Catalysts and Catharsis

3.75 stars. Review first posted on

Using her 2015 Hugo award-winning short story “Cat Pictures Please” as a jumping-off point, Naomi Kritzer wrote Catfishing on CatNet, an engaging near-future YA science fiction novel about a benevolent, sentient AI and teens and young adults who are having life troubles and have found their primary emotional support in an online chat group — which happens to be moderated by the AI.

Steph is
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2019
As promised by the blurb, the story does go to some extent into thought-provoking questions on how much information about us is available to any serious hacker or an AI and how trusting we are of the good intentions of those who have become a member of our social network closer circle. But it isn't all dark and gloomy, quite the opposite. It is more about our fundamental desire to make friendships and find people we belong with.

Steph Taylor has changed six high schools. Her slightly paranoid mot
Helen Power
This book is marketed as a dark thriller. I mean, look at that cover (Which, by the way, is not the cover it had when I requested it through NetGalley. That cover had cute cyber-kitties on it). Doesn't this cover make the book look dark and spooky? Even the description and the initial reviews made it sound like a dark thriller about an AI that goes off its rocker.

On the contrary, this is a light book about a girl who's always been on the run with her mother. They always have to move to d
Allison Hurd
Don't read this if you don't want any impressions of the SFFBC BOTM!

I haven't yet read the short story that inspired this, but I'm quite impressed with the heart infused throughout this story.

CONTENT WARNINGS: (a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The Clowder. Yay internet friends! This felt very authentic, a hug for all the people who get us through tough times even if they're just there lea
Sherwood Smith
Steph Taylor has never really learned to make friends after she was yanked from her first at age seven. Even before then she has always been on the move, and always in the middle of the night. Never with a destination named. Her mother says it’s for their own safety, as Steph's father is a psychopath and convicted arsonist, and if they show up on the grid in any way, he will find them.

Steph has always accepted this, but of late she’s begun to question details that don’t add up. Especially as her
This is a light, diverting YA novel I read as this month’s SF pick of the SFFBC book club. As it unfolds, it touches on some more serious themes of domestic violence and stalking, but it succeeds best when it bubbles along as a sweet tale of friendship between some appealingly drawn internet teenaged geeks and the AI who helps them. The teens are sharply drawn and authentic, and there’s a welcome presence on non-binary and queer characters. I think it’s difficult to craft a tale that can honor t ...more
Peter Tillman
A first-rate YA action-adventure, based on Kritzer's award winning short “Cat Pictures Please,” still available online at If you missed it, a good introduction to the ideas she extended into her first novel. Which is not a subtle book, but well-written, and I liked the teens and their coming-of-age stories. Steph's Bad Dad is a bit much, and the confrontation at the end is, well, melodramatic. But still fun. I'll probably read the sequel. Recommended, ev ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YA SF that ties into the Hugo-award winning short story Cat Pictures Please.

Steph Taylor is at a new high school, an experience she's had far too much of. Her mother moves them every few months in an effort to keep them both away from Steph's supposedly abusive and controlling father. who Steph doesn't actually remember. Constant moves means it's hard to make and keep friends, so Steph's friends are mostly online, on CatNet, a social network where animal pictures are currency. What Steph doesn't
It's been a long time since I really enjoyed a YA novel. I'll be back with some comments though..

* Plot: 4★
* World building: 3.5★
* Characters: 4★
* Language/Humour/Witticism: 4.5★
* Enjoyability: 4★
Kristin B. Bodreau
This was a delightful read. Not particularly deep, but thought provoking in it’s own way. It was a somewhat simple story on the surface, definitely good for teen audiences, but with some really important themes. There is food for thought here about PTSD, the importance of support systems, domestic violence, gender identity, sexuality, privacy and internet safety.

I was particularly fond of some of the “throwaway” moments. For instance, at one point the main character wonders about bird genetics b
3.5 stars

I don't actually remember requesting this book.

Blurb: "... a social media site where users upload cat pictures ..."

... But I can certainly guess why I did.

So this was quite fun! Don't get me wrong, most of the time it was pretty intense - there's a homicidal father on the loose, trying to find the MC and her mother, and the stakes are very high. There are car chase scenes and everything. I finished the book in two days.

But there's also the part with the human-like AI, which asks for som
Dawn C
Sadly none of this months’ SFFBC group reads did anything for me, though for different reasons. I’m just not the target for this young adult novel. While there are some I have enjoyed, this was much too teenage cutesy wutesy for me (that’s probably not a word) and nothing resonated with me, from characters to writing style. I’m leaving off a rating as this is definitely a case of it’s not you, it’s me.
I had so much fun with this. A very relatable MC. A fantastic group of online friends (yay). An AI who likes cat pictures.

Yet no matter how fun the book is, the thought (and fact) that we are so easily tracked via our own devices is super scary. At least use VPNs, people! Careful of app permissions!
The Captain
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

I have only read two of Naomi Kritzer's shorter length stories.  One was the "The Thing About Ghost Stories” which was nominated for the 2019 Hugo for novelettes.  The other was "Cat Pictures Please" which won the 2016 Locus and Hugo awards for best short story.  This book ties into the 2016 story.

Steph and her mom have been on the run from her father
This was a nice and easy read, but not the kind of writing I'm enthusiastic about.
It is another case of me not being the intended audience, so I go for the middle rating.
Really liked this for a YA story -- it manages some brief deep-dives into various societal, personal and ethical issues without being overly complex, and the the plot move that throws a wide range of diverse teenagers into a 'team' (of sorts) makes the compactness of plot and theme believable.

Short synopsis -- two-and-a-half semi-parallel narrations; one by "AI" (for artificial intelligence), a unique self-aware computer program that has created CatNet as a social networking site for cat-picture
The Kawaii Slartibartfast
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book so much and I am so glad I got read it.

The story revolves around Steph and the AI she befriends.

Steph's had a lonely life moving from place to place to escape her abusive father. Her only friends are on the social media sites CatNet.

This is a wonderful story about friendship, loyalty and a kind-hearted AI who just wants to look at kitty pics.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, women-2020
4.5 stars for lots of good reasons but the extra 1/2 star is definitely for describing driving in Boston and robot restaurants from MIT!
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
4 1/2 really.

Part of the reason I loved this book was because of the connected short story Cat Pictures Please, which you can read at

There were only 3 things I didn't like about this book:
1) It was YA. I think it could have been better if written with a more adult protagonist, though it might have been harder. I'm getting kinda tired of YA.
2) After the end, basically, the author put a string out there to make me want to read the next book. Unnecessary
Beth Cato
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a gratis copy as part of my Norton Award finalist packet.

I was pretty sure I’d love this book because I adored the short story that inspired it. Sure enough, I was right. Catfishing is a fast-paced YA novel loaded with surprises, wit, and an AI who loves cat pictures.

The books follows two perspectives. Steph is a teenage girl who moves constantly because her paranoid mom is sure her abusive ex will find them. Her one constant is her tight-knit group of friends online at a site called Cat
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a wonderful book!
Maria Haskins
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved Naomi Kritzer's short fiction for years. She has a remarkable talent for writing sharply observed, subtly funny, and quietly profound stories that show a deep appreciation for the human condition. Her Hugo Award winning story "Cat Pictures, Please", about a kind and considerate AI that wants to do the best it can for people (and also really, really likes cat pictures) is one such story. Out of that piece of short fiction grew this wonderful, near-future science fiction novel about tha ...more
Stay Fetters
"Intelligence is knowing Frankenstein was the creator, not the monster. Wisdom is knowing Frankenstein was actually the monster."

Have you ever talked about or mentioned a movie, a song, or a product and logged into social media and seen an ad for that thing you mentioned? You realize that your phone listens to everything you say and do. This takes that to a larger scale and it is creepy. You better watch what you say next time, you never know who’s listening....

Do you ever really think about all
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, lgbt
I requested and received a copy of this book for honest review, thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and author.

Catfishing on CatNet is the full length novel inspired by Kritzer's previous award darling short Cat Pictures Please. For me this reads like a cross between Eliza and Her Monsters (which I really enjoyed) and Murderbot (which I loved). We get three unique perspectives:
Steph - A high schooler who has been unable to put down roots anywhere, being moved to a new rural Midwestern town by her
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I know nothing about this book, but after reading this delightful story on titled "Little Free Library", I immediately bought this book, wanting to read more from this author.


So, because I started this without knowing anything about it, I thought it’d be a cute YA SF book about an AI and a group of internet friends. This is actually a THRILLER. And it gets kind of intense.

I enjoyed it, loved the diverse characters, and thought the writing was solid.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have some major mixed feelings about this book.
On one hand it's not badly written and has a decent plot, but on the other it's weirdly written and the plot sometimes is just over the top.
Corey Eiseman
This was a fun, interesting read. It kept me engaged throughout, although it lost a little steam toward the end, and the final destination was not as fulfilling as the journey. The online teenage voice seemed incredibly authentic to me, and there’s quite a bit of LGBTQ representation. I felt compelled to recommend it to both my teenage daughters, and hope they read it. I was impressed with how the author dealt with serious ethical questions and important issues about how technology impacts our l ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Really, really excellent. More thoughts to come.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just a delightful read. I did the classic start-reading-late-evening-unable-to-stop-til-finished thing.

This is an...expansion?...of the idea that Kritzer used in her short story Cat Pictures Please, in which a benevolent AI tries to look after people in various ways, because it loves people, and in particular their internet cat pictures.

Catfishing on CatNet (pretty much my only criticism is that the new title is a bit silly!) expands significantly by telling the story of Steph, a teen girl whose
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