Read Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson Online

catalyst

Meet Kate Malone-straight A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, girlfriend, unwilling family caretaker, 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, like a string of chemical reactions, everything happens: the Malones' neighbors get bMeet Kate Malone-straight A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, girlfriend, unwilling family caretaker, 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, like a string of chemical reactions, everything happens: the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their home and move in. Because her father is a Good Man of God (and a Not Very Thoughtful Parent), Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's adorable, troublemaking little brother. And through it all, she's still waiting to hear from the only college she has applied to: MIT. Kate's life is less and less under control-and then, something happens that blows it all apart, and forces her to examine her life, self, and heart for the first time. Set in the same community as the remarkable Speak, Catalyst is a novel that will make you think, laugh, cry, and rejoice-sometimes at the same time....

Title : Catalyst
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670035663
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 233 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Catalyst Reviews

  • karen
    2018-10-31 18:13

    shrug.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, and i'm sure it is comforting to read stuff like this if you are going through stuff like this. (don't look at me, i'm not a spoiler bomb.) and yet, i still want to read more from her. is that madness? what am i finding so compelling about her books that i keep reading them? because i have only ever been gently moved by them. i read them and it's eh and i grab another book and i never think of them again. what kind of a hold does she have over me?? does she have my kitteh hostage? nah, but it's like a potato chip book. i in fact just ate about half a bag of potato chips when my intention was to eat just one little salty handful. and then i was like, well, there's not that many left in here, i wouldn't want them to get stale or anything... and then i just kept eating and idly reading reviews on here(you guys write good reviews...) and then before i knew it, they were all gone. that is how her books feel to me. i know i am not getting anything out of them, but that salt...it defeats me.i think it's great that the main female character in this is a total science nerd. that's great for young girls, right?? but everything else in her life is so crappy, what if it is because of her affection for science?? food for thought. maybe science makes your.... oh. nope, not a spoiler bomb. nice try.this is kind of like a pre-black swan book, where there is a highly driven female character who should really have everything go right for her, based on how much time and effort she puts into being the best. but life has its own ideas.that's just science, after all...

  • Daniel
    2018-10-25 15:12

    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.

  • Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
    2018-11-02 19:53

    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.Kate Malone lives with her Dad who is a reverend and after applying for College, a fire occurs nearby meaning one of her nemesis having to move in as the house is being rebuilt. Will say trigger warning for death as a young character does die towards the end of the story which was upsetting to read. I couldn't connect with Kate or any of her fellow classmates, the plotline was disjointed and some of the actions undertaken by the main character Kate to be childish and questionable. The ending was also abrupt leaving me with more questions than answers. Very disappointed, will not be reading any more books by this author.

  •  Imani ♥ ☮
    2018-11-05 13:17

    (-_-) ^You see that face right there? That was what my face looked like when I finished reading this book eight minutes ago. Yeah. That's right. I used a carrot. This book doesn't even deserve a real arrow. What was Anderson thinking when she decided to write this book? Maybe this:Hmm, let's see. Maybe I'll write a book about a nerdy preacher daughter who really loves science and math. She's only going to apply to MIT since she's all smart and everything. And then she'll get rejected and be devastated. Oh! And then meanwhile, she can have these neighbors whose house burned down! And since her father's a preacher, they'll have to live with her. Oh! And guess what else? The daughter in that family will be Kate's (that's what her name will be) 'arch nemesis'. And they'll have to get along. Ah. Too simple. Someone has to die. But who...? *Thinking* Oh I know! We'll just kill off the little 'brother'. He'll get electrocuted to death. That's pretty good. But wait, there has to be another twist. This 'brother' could be the actual son of the nemesis (Teri her name will be). Yeah, and to top it off, it'll be by her father! WHOA!!!!!!!!!!Not. I'm sorry if I'm giving away spoilers. But really, come on. It clearly says on the first page summary (and i quote) 4. Death--Fiction.Someone has to die. And you might as well know now that it was the little 'brother'.I didn't mind the writing style at all. I enjoy how Anderson writes. The thing was, nothing was even resolved. I know that in real life, often times things don't have a happy ending. But this book didn't even have a sad ending. It didn't have anything. There was a lot of moping around going on in this book. Kate would mope. Teri would mope. And the worst part to me, about everything, was when Teri stole Kate's watch. I didn't even like Kate (she's stupid for only applying to one darn school) but i was ticked off for her. AND she stole the necklace. Things like that get on my nerves. Sigh. This is just like that darn Twisted book. Same author. Same none plot. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Okay let me stop. I'm beginning to sound like the characters in this book. Too late.

  • Tziggy
    2018-11-09 17:10

    I struggled reading this book. It was good at times. But for me it never seemed to reel me in. I was waiting and waiting and waiting to get engrossed in it. It never happened. When I read a book I don't want to have to use a bookmark. I want to read something that remembering the page that I am on is second nature. This wasn't one of those books for me.

  • Moira Russell
    2018-10-16 13:51

    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 get to know any other characters, either. Where Melinda, in Speak, was believably acid-tongued because of the trauma she was enduring, Kate's bright brittleness is blamed on the early death of her mother (whom we never see, either). The division of her character into outward, conforming Good Kate and inner caustic Bad Kate is as binary and simplistic as the nomenclature. Unlike the year-long exploration of the art program in Speak, the chemistry talk in this book feels painted on, a thin literary contrivance that can't support the thematic weight it's asked to bear in place of real structure or characterization. The real story here is Teri's, but nobody tells it -- not Teri, not Kate, not Anderson herself. Kate's English teacher "still thinks understanding Greek mythology is the key to happiness. If you ask me, Theresa Litch is a living, breathing Greek tragedy." In an especially annoying and typical trend in modern literature, the plot and its problems are never resolved -- there's just a fake 'epiphany,' and the book simply ends. Melinda herself from Speak makes a cameo as a student building an art installation on campus, but it's just a gag since she and Kate only exchange a few words and she means nothing to the story. I paid two dollars for this book at a Value Village, and it was too much.Probably Catalyst's biggest disappointment, and the biggest reason for its failure, is its heroine -- or rather, heroines. Anderson falls into one of the oldest narrative traps of all: how do you write about a boring character without being boring? Kate isn't boring, exactly (well, probably not intentionally, anyway) but she's closed-off and defensive and shut down. Teri is the one with the story which drives the plot, but we're stuck listening to Kate; Melinda couldn't speak to the people around her in her own world, and so her voice, speaking directly to us, created a unique bond between the character and the readers. Her story not only had a clear arc and well-defined end, there was a reason she was telling it, to us; the storytelling itself became part of the plot and theme, as it does with all good first-person novels. Kate, by contrast, doesn't speak to -- or for -- us, or anyone else, at all.

  • Summer
    2018-10-28 19:18

    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.Another thing that bugged me was how stupid Kate was. She brings shame upon all perfectionists everywhere; if I was one, I would be very offended by how they are portrayed. It is claimed that she is a straight-A student who is perfect in school. But, alas, she has absolutely no common sense. She doesn't apply to multiple colleges, because she is obsessed with MIT. (Which is completely out of character.) Not only that, but she spends the entirety of the book moping around and whining. The multiple references to chemistry was a bit overused and unnecessary, in my opinion. To me, there wasn't really a point to this novel. It kind of just rambled on and on about MIT this, cross-country that, and loads of drama over insignificant things. To say Kate is melodramatic is an understatement.Don't get me wrong, Kate's character actually had potential. If LHA executed her character well, this would have been a semi-enjoyable read. But she was so unbearable and irritating that it was hard to sympathize with her.Maybe I'm totally missing the point of this book. Maybe this book has a really good message that I am unable to see. I don't know. What I do know for sure is that this book was a pain to read, and unless you want to torture yourself and be trapped in the mind of Kate Whining Malone, you probably won't be a fan of this one.

  • R.J.
    2018-10-15 16:12

    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.

  • Emma
    2018-10-28 20:50

    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, and Terry's little brother are living with the Malones. Kate tries to ignore all of these problems by running and keeping her head in the sand. Besides, things couldn't get any worse. Until they do.You'll have to read the book to figure out what happens next because I don't do spoiler reviews.So now we can talk about the book in technical terms: The book is broken up into elements (solid, liquid, gas) and features quotes from an AP Chem prep book. Most of them are straightforward enough to be understandable and relate to the story. Kate also makes use of scientific elements for her narration without being overly scientific (AKA confusing/boring).I greatly admire Laurie Halse Anderson. She's a great writer and she never comes off as smug or pompous in her interviews at the back of her books. Even better, Anderson is a fresh voice.That said, the voice here was not as fresh as it was in Speak. In other words, Kate's narration sounds a lot like Melinda even though they are completely different characters. That bothered me. I like that Anderson's prose is so snappy and often sarcastic, but it was weird having two disparate characters narrate in almost the same voice. Given the connection between these two books, I suppose comparisons are inevitable so I'll finish the thought: Melinda is a more likable narrator than Kate. That makes a difference.Ironically, the increased dialogue in this book (Melinda does not talk throughout most of hers) doesn't make the characters more developed. The minor characters, particularly Sara and Travis, remain flat: developed enough to be quirky but not present enough to be memorable. This might be because Kate's social circle is larger, giving Anderson more characters to fit into the narrative.The other thing to bear in mind about Catalyst is that it is not the same kind of book as Speak. Kate's path throughout the narrative, and her way through her problems, is very different than Melinda's. (If you haven't guessed yet, Kate's path involves a lot of running.) This book also has a different appeal. Speak seemed more universal, the scope for Catalyst is more narrow. Anderson does a great job of capturing the anxiety and drama that surrounds the college application/acceptance process. She also creates a compelling study of the silent, overachiever that seems to be at every high school. More importantly, Anderson shows that those achievements don't always come without a cost.Overall, Catalyst is a good book. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it. But Speak was a great book that was, overall, more powerful than its sequel.You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print

  • Megan
    2018-10-28 15:01

    {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 in with her. It sounds like a great setup for learning to take what you're dealt and make the best of it, for learning to deal with rejection and failure and unexpected life events - for learning to grow up. But the book ends with Kate not really having dealt with a lot of the plot's conflicts, and not having learned very much. That is, though it's first person narrated, Kate's inner monologue lacks any real self-awareness, she never has any revelations or epiphanies at all about her situation, she mostly talks in circles and beats herself up. If anything, she seems to use the tragedy of her neighbors to sort of say "Well, it could be worse" and ignore all her problems and not resolve anything. Even at the end, though outwardly she seems more calm and some conflicts are partially resolved... there is no place where we can clearly see that Kate has changed very much, or if so, why and how. It just felt like this book went nowhere. A lot of the high drama elements came of nowhere, weren’t very effective, and then didn’t resolve. Actually, there's a lot of stuff in {Catalyst that just doesn't work for me. I hated the gimmicky chapter headings of scientific concepts and "safety tips" under each one. They are really reaching to be metaphors for what's going on in the plot but when they make sense at all, they are kind of cheesy. I think the whole bit about Kate being a great cross country runner rang totally false - I mean, seriously, so many of the details are just WRONG, which mystifies me because in the acknowledgments Anderson thanks someone for providing details about cross-country. But the whole idea wasn't really used properly to deepen the character as much as it could have been, so it just seems like a waste. I don't know why so many writers who choose to write about runners try to make it all about some kind of masochistic obsession that's just slightly acceptable - for "good kid" characters; "bad kid" characters are cutters or something. Also, the idea of running obsessively as a metaphor for running away from problems? So old. And OBVIOUS. Gah. I found this book at my house, but have no idea where it came from. I realized it was by Laurie Halse Anderson of Speak fame so I read it the other day, thinking if it was good I would keep it and if not, I would purge it with a bunch of other book I'm getting rid of soon. This one is going on the purge pile.* And yes, the title really does have that { at the front. The ‘y’ in catalyst is also in a mathematical usage font, but I couldn’t replicate that here.

  • rebecca ɤ
    2018-10-23 21:04

    2.5 stars

  • Cindy G.
    2018-11-13 20:59

    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 Cambridge school. Kate is the kind of girl who not only feels like she needs to be perfect in school, but also has to take care of everyone around her. She cares for her pimply younger brother's asthma and folds her minister father's laundry. When the next door neighbor's house becomes uninhabitable after a fire, and the neighbors have to move in with Kate and her family, the chemical reaction referenced in the book's title is set into motion. That reaction is further complicated by the fact that Kate receives that letter from M.I.T. that she was waiting for.I could really relate to Kate's character as she struggles to deal with the demands and expectations of the people around her combined with her own feelings and expectations for herself. Furthermore, the plot was fast-paced and exciting. I have not yet read a book by Laurie Halse Anderson that I didn't love, and Catalyst is no exception.

  • Angela
    2018-11-11 14:11

    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 picked up my violin and left the room. The reason I write about this dream is because I had it last night, right after I read this book, and in so many ways it’s revealing to how I feel about it. On one hand, I am a HUGE Laurie Halse Anderson fan and loved the poetic power of her words. On the other hand, I had a particular dislike for both the message of the book and the way it ended. Let me explain how my dream pertains to all of this.In the dream I was waiting, waiting for my turn to play the violin, excited for the music, but captive to the words of the tall man giving the sermon. I felt much the same way reading CATALYST. My joy for the music was like the joy I felt in discovering Kate as a character. The girl is a minister’s daughter; her mother is dead; she takes care of her father and brother; she has issues with good and bad, particularly with integrating the good and bad parts of herself. This becomes clear when she refers to herself as both Good Kate and Bad Kate on the first page. It’s genius. Here’s the quote:“On the outside I am Good Kate, Rev. Jack Malone’s girl, isn’t she sweet, she helps so much with the house, so sad about her mother, and she’s smart, too. . . . On the inside I am Bad Kate, daughter of no one, she’s such a bitch, thinks she’s all that, prays with her eyes open, lets her boyfriend put his hands all over her, Miss Perfect, Miss Suck-up, disrespectful, disagreeable, still waters run deep and dirty.” Catalyst p. 3-4Then you see that Kate is running, not just for the exercise or because she’s good at it, but as a way to run from who she is, her feelings and thoughts and traits which don’t fit into the Good Kate mold. Despite the fact that this girl had straight A’s and had applied to MIT, despite the fact that she had really good friends and was an overachiever, I very much related to the perfectionist tendencies that drove Kate to run from herself. Enter Teri: the nemesis whose house burns down (though we never learn the details of how). All we really know is that Teri comes to live with Kate because she has nowhere else to stay, that Kate and Teri don’t get along, not so much because Kate is a snob, though. More because Teri used to beat up Kate when they were younger, and because Teri flicks Kate off regularly and has a habit of being mean to her, and because Teri steals her things. Needless to say, I was not a Teri fan. And this is where the tall man in my dream comes in. I was expecting to find a reason to like Teri. She has a little brother who is two-years-old who loves her to death, a mother who’s out of it, and a father who died in prison. There are lots and lots of reasons to feel sorry for Teri. She’s bullied at school by the football team, takes vo-tech classes, and is pretty much looked down upon by everyone in her life. I could relate to the bullying thing, and have a particular love for underdogs. So imagine my shock when I just could not, not matter how hard I tried, find a way to relate to Teri. I mean, yeah, sure she was taunted and teased and targeted by the football team. But she was a bully herself as well.Now, I know a lot of people say that bullied kids turn into bullies, and I’m not going to argue with that. My guess is that the boys at Columbine would not have gunned down their classmates if they hadn’t been the targets of shameless bullying. And I agree that Teri had some horrible situations to deal with. Her home situation was a hundred times worse than mine was in high school; her situation at school was pretty bad too. Things got even worse for her in the middle of the book. So if anything, Teri had a right to be angry.But as a child who was bullied so severely myself that people threw rocks at me, and as a person who was ostracized, who had to listen to boys make animal noises as I ran past, who was systematically pushed into walls, sexually harassed, and had nasty rumors spread around about me, I was always ALWAYS aware that I had a choice how I treated others. It was the constant ill treatment I received as a child that drove me not to treat others that way. Giving in to my anger, cutting people down, acting like a jerk was not an option. I chose not to be like my tormentors. It was the only form of control I had.And Teri, no matter her circumstances, had a choice to how she treated others too. It was, in fact, the only form of control she had; and she chose to steal Kate’s watch and necklace, to hotwire her car, to steal food from the grocery store thus making Kate an accomplice to a crime. She chose to call Kate a spaz, to make fun of her inability to use a hammer, to point out her flaws, and to push her around. She chose to tear apart the house others build for her and throw paint cans at those who tried to be her friends. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Teri had no right to be angry—she had every right to be angry, but how is the way she dealt with that anger any better than a father who screams at his children and throws things because he’s a rageaholic? I’m going to be blunt here and say, I think it’s EXACTLY the same thing.The difference is that when Laurie Halse Anderson writes about the rageaholic father in TWISTED, he’s the problem, and the one who ruins his family’s life. But when Ms. Anderson writes about the same kind of character in CATLYST, we’re supposed to pity the girl and see things from her point of view.This is where the tall man giving the sermon in my dreams comes in. He represented Teri and the way she treated those around her. Even though the author tried to make Kate stop running by having her help out Teri in the end, I didn’t feel like Kate did the right thing. She calls her boyfriend a jerk for telling the truth to Teri. Here’s what he says to her, “ . . . I know you’ve had a really hard life. But that doesn’t give you permission to make Kate feel like shit, or make fun of people, or steal from them . . .” p.222I get the impression that as a reader I’m supposed to be appalled by Kate’s boyfriend being so “mean” to Teri. But instead I’m sitting there, reading it, and agreeing with Every. Single. Word.What Kate truly does at the end is disown “Bad Kate” instead of integrating her healthy negative feelings into her identity. She doesn’t really stop running, instead she runs into another bad friendship. One where the girl treats her like crap and Kate’s expected to just put up with it. Like the fat little blond girl that gets hit on the head in my dream. I feel sorry for her.

  • Lauren Fidler
    2018-11-14 13:14

    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 plays out.sigh.just so you know, i'm most likely going to spoil this one.right, so Catalyst begins like most other laurie halse anderson novels - with a girl, angsty, and prone to teenaged histrionics. our heroine is kate, the preacher's daughter, a science nerd bent on getting into MIT. so bent that she's decided to ONLY apply to MIT.apparently, the mathematical side of science is not the compelling part for kate; those odds are terrible.anyways, kate hasn't heard and she's stressed - like half-crazed, running at night, insomnia stressed. she is overcompensating for losing her mother at a young age by trying to become her mother (who did go to and graduate from MIT). she views life as a series of chemical reactions and equations and monitors her little brother's cough as if he's one of her on-going lab experiments. her father, a man of god, seems like a foreign entity to her, a girl who has actively chosen to define her life in terms of the rational and explainable. and, predictably, she hasn't clued him into her plan of only applying to one school.because that's totally healthy.around this point, i'm thinking: huh? this whole book can't be all about how this girl didn't get into MIT and goes more crazy, right? because that would be kind of lame.enter teri.teri is a beefy senior girl who is sort of depicted as a cross between a lumberjack, a biker babe, and cletus the slack-jawed yokel. we learn her pathetic backstory: teri got really fat in 9th grade, then she got thin (or thinner, muscular, like a female boxer). now she beats up football players and steals watches. or something.ok, so teri is important.long story short, teri's house burns down and teri and her two-year-old brother come to stay at the preacher's house, as teri's mom has a weak heart and her father went to prison and died (maybe in that order?). can you see where this is going?good.teri and kate have what can best be described as a fond mutual loathing for one another. kate uses teri's tragedy to deflect her father's questioning about her post-high school career when she does, in fact, get rejected from MIT. kate also starts to tolerate teri by attaching herself to the adorable little brother mikey and working on rebuilding teri's charred home. things are looking up (we even get a nifty little glimpse of that melinda girl from that other laurie halse anderson book - she's still hangin' with mr. freeman, working on her art therapy, getting down with her good self, if anyone's curious).then, we get halse andersoned.mikey goes missing! terror sets in! people start searching desperately. and i remember why i stopped reading.(REALLY BIG SPOILER)mikey dies. he gets electrocuted. i think i was pregnant at the time i was reading this and that's why i put it down way back when. i wish i had remembered that.the rest of the story is just...awkward. mikey isn't teri's brother; he's her son. and her criminal dad was the father. absolutely no surprises there, of course. what is truly uncomfortable is how the motherless kate and the childless teri leach onto one another on their individual paths of self-destruction. with about twenty pages left, i was wondering how the hell we were going to sordino ourselves out of this janitor's closet of a mess.it isn't pretty. and it isn't particularly satisfactory. there is no real closure, just promises made in moments of severe vulnerability.sad, but lacking the sincerity of Speak.

  • Tatiana
    2018-10-29 15:17

    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, some not that vital, Kate is forced to lower her "shield;" she finally starts to understand what is really important in life and faces her emotional issues. I enjoyed this novel. Anderson's writing, although it requires some getting used to, is superb and deeply personal. This is definitely one of the better YA books. Although I didn't come to understand Kate and Teri as much as I would like to (sometimes Anderson's writing is too subtle for me) and this book wasn't as focused as her other book I've read "Wintergirls", I enjoyed "Catalyst" enough to continue on reading this writer's other books.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2018-10-16 16:16

    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, I'm pretty sure I need to reread Speak soon.Speaking of Speak (which is published by Speak), Catalyst actually takes place in the very same high school, and Melinda makes a brief appearance. The Melinda here seems pretty happy and is still doing her art. Yay! Of course, she was only in for a page, but, hey, it was nice to see her and to get the sense that she's actually recovered. I really love when authors reference previous works.Laurie Halse Anderson's writing makes me want to spin around Julie Andrews style because of how freaking wonderful it is. Seriously, if I had to quantify my favorite writing style, it would be one that is dark, funny, and dripping with wit. Her writing here fits in perfectly with John Green's and A.S. King's, in the category of writing so good that it kind of makes me never want to write anything, since I can never be that good at putting things into words.Of course, Anderson does not merely excel at writing. She backs it up with characterization. Kate Malone bursts with personality. She has both teenage hubris and insecurity in spades. Her voice is powerful and acerbic. A pastor's daughter, she has developed a dichotomy within herself of how she's supposed to act and all the things she wants to say: Good Kate and Bad Kate. While this technique can be awful when done wrong, Anderson used it effectively. It just fit Kate and her rigorous need to be perfect warring with her judgmental personality.Kate loves math and science, dreams of attending MIT, her late mother's alma mater. She's done everything she can: earned the grades, taken the tests, filled her life with extracurriculars, excelled at a sport, volunteered at her father's church, and worked part-time at a pharmacy. She's a shoe-in, right? Well, she told herself that anyway when she decided to apply only to MIT and nowhere else...even when she wasn't accepted early decision.With the letter, hopefully the fat one, from MIT due any day, Kate cannot sleep, spending most of every night running or performing household chores. The own stresses in her life are put into perspective by a larger tragedy that forces her into a relationship with her childhood tormenter, Teri Litch. The main detractor in the novel was that I felt like Kate forgave Teri much too easily and let her get away with too much. The whole time I kept yelling at her to get the watch and necklace (both with sentimental value) Teri stole from her back.Another wonderful thing about this book: the romance. Unlike most YA, it's not about Kate's relationship, nor does it include a new love interest. She already has a boy, Mitchell, her former rival, who she argues with a lot less now that they spend quite a bit of time kissing. Also setting this book apart, Mitchell is not the kind of guy most girls would find attractive, but Kate still thinks he's hot, which was so cute and refreshing. Their relationship definitely reads like one that will not last long once they go to college, and it was so much more authentic than all of these soulmates confessing their love on a first date.While I do think some of the plotting elements were a bit rushed, I loved this book for the characterization, the writing and for completely surprising me. Seriously, there was a twist I did not see coming at all. Anyway, Anderson is brilliant, in case you didn't know that already.Find more of my reviews and other awesomeness at A Reader of Fictions.

  • Ryan Lovelass
    2018-10-18 12:58

    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 down. This very house just so happened to be the house of Teri Litch. Lets just say that Teri and Kate aren’t the best of friends. Teri is the kind of person that takes things day by day and waits to see what happens. Kate on the other hand is a go getter and hard working type of person. Kate has also recently applied to MIT, her dream school. She was focused exclusively on getting into MIT. Now with Teri moving in it will be a lot harder for Kate to keep her life organized and on track. Another thing that is bugging Kate right now, is that she hasn’t told anyone this was the only school she applied to. Anderson does a great job in the novel developing suspense by using dramatic irony. An example of the use of dramatic irony in the novel is “Sara doesn’t understand why I’m so stressed. I should have told her. I should have told Mitch, too. Maybe even Dad.” (Page 12). This quote is talking about how she applied to only MIT and didn’t tell anyone else about not having a back up school. You can see that this is really bugging Kate but will she be able to hold in her emotions and feelings. Another example is “You know how you’re supposed to apply to five or ten or twenty of your top schools and then a couple of safeties just in case? Well, I sort of didn’t follow the rules. And I sort of neglected to tell anyone.” (Page 12). Anderson does a great job of using dramatic irony to build up the suspense of what will happen. The reader knows what Kate did but none of the characters in the book do. This novel makes you want to keep reading. I really enjoyed this book not just because Laurie Halse Anderson did a great job writing it, but I also liked the way it made you feel connected with the story and what was really going on.I recommend this book to anyone and I hope that they enjoy it as much as I did.Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson is an entertaining and adventurous novel for teens and adults. You won’t want to stop reading this book. Does Kate ever make it to MIT or does she find something better along the way?

  • Michelle
    2018-10-24 14:18

    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.

  • Harun Harahap
    2018-10-29 17:02

    Kate Malone, seorang gadis pintar dan pelari jarak jauh berbakat. Gadis 'beasiswa' dapat dijadikan nama panggilannya. Di penghujung tahun ketiganya di SMU, Kate bersiap untuk masuk ke sekolah pilihan utamanya, MIT. Hanya di sanalah ia mendaftarkan dirinya untuk kuliah. Ia percaya dan yakin bahwa dirinya akan menjadi salah satu mahasiswa universitas tersebut. Lalu bagaimanakah kisahnya berlanjut ketika MIT menolaknya?Simak kisah 'perjuangan' Kate dalam menerima kenyataan tersebut. Seorang gadis remaja yang tentu saja normal kalau emosinya masih labil. Namun, dia cukup bisa mengatasinya dengan baik. Apalagi ditambah dengan harus hidup satu atap bersama musuh masa kecilnya, Terry Litch, yang juga sedang bermasalah.Kisah ini cukup bagus menurutku untuk para remaja. Kita dapat melihat bagaimana cara mereka berpikir dan bertidak dalam menghadapi sebuah masalah. Memahami bahwa remaja juga mempunyai masalah hidup yang kadang kita anggap enteng tapi berat buat mereka.Judul tiap bab dan subbab buku ini sangat menarik. Sangat berbau fisika, kimia dan matematika. Mungkin akan tambah menarik jika kita mengetahui kaitan antara judul tersebut dengan isi ceritanya. Sayang, saya tak begitu berminat untuk mengetahuinya. Hehe..Nice Story, Miss Laurie...

  • Laurie
    2018-10-19 19:16

    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 considered a bit of a bully. The football players tease her with caution because she is likely to fight back! Kate learns acceptance, tolerance, love, and friendship as she and Terri endure the worst of situations together. In order to not give away too much of the story, I'll leave you with this thought--you don't expect what happens to happen. It is really quite shocking.I would recommend this book to secondary readers without a doubt. It is a book that could be taught in the classroom and excerpts would even be appropriate. Great book!

  • Hannah Bradley
    2018-11-07 14:17

    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 go "ok but why?" And finally I felt like there were too many things thrown in for shock factor like "ohh wait it's her son" "oh wait her dad is the father" and idk it just felt kind of cheap. OH WAIT What I just realized: What would have made this book so much better was if Teri had been the main character. Like if we had focused on her, her son, her house, her college acceptance. I think it would have made for a much deeper story and we would have understood more and honestly the plot twists would have been okay.

  • Lynai
    2018-10-20 21:00

    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 applied to – MIT. Kate is a straight A student, a minister’s daughter, and a responsible child. Or so people thought. Because Kate is not as good as others see her.Continue reading.

  • Thomas
    2018-10-15 19:13

    "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 the really good things about this book was the plot, but at some points the execution of the character's wasn't as powerful as I thought they should've been. I also thought the ending was a bit rushed, but it was still a pretty good read.

  • Claire
    2018-10-21 17:54

    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 for the tragedy that ensues toward the end of the book. Great read!

  • Morgan F
    2018-11-04 16:08

    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.

  • Angela
    2018-10-31 20:03

    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 picked up my violin and left the room.The reason I write about this dream is because I had it last night, right after I read this book, and in so many ways it’s revealing to how I feel about it. On one hand, I am a HUGE Laurie Halse Anderson fan and loved the poetic power of her words. On the other hand, I had a particular dislike for both the message of the book and the way it ended. Let me explain how my dream pertains to all of this.In the dream I was waiting, waiting for my turn to play the violin, excited for the music, but captive to the words of the tall man giving the sermon. I felt much the same way reading CATALYST. My joy for the music was like the joy I felt in discovering Kate as a character. The girl is a minister’s daughter; her mother is dead; she takes care of her father and brother; she has issues with good and bad, particularly with integrating the good and bad parts of herself. This becomes clear when she refers to herself as both Good Kate and Bad Kate on the first page. It’s genius. Here’s the quote:“On the outside I am Good Kate, Rev. Jack Malone’s girl, isn’t she sweet, she helps so much with the house, so sad about her mother, and she’s smart, too. . . . On the inside I am Bad Kate, daughter of no one, she’s such a bitch, thinks she’s all that, prays with her eyes open, lets her boyfriend put his hands all over her, Miss Perfect, Miss Suck-up, disrespectful, disagreeable, still waters run deep and dirty.” Catalyst p. 3-4Then you see that Kate is running, not just for the exercise or because she’s good at it, but as a way to run from who she is, her feelings and thoughts and traits which don’t fit into the Good Kate mold. Despite the fact that this girl had straight A’s and had applied to MIT, despite the fact that she had really good friends and was an overachiever, I very much related to the perfectionist tendencies that drove Kate to run from herself.Enter Teri: the nemesis whose house burns down (though we never learn the details of how). All we really know is that Teri comes to live with Kate because she has nowhere else to stay, that Kate and Teri don’t get along, not so much because Kate is a snob, though. More because Teri used to beat up Kate when they were younger, and because Teri flicks Kate off regularly and has a habit of being mean to her, and because Teri steals her things. Needless to say, I was not a Teri fan.And this is where the tall man in my dream comes in. I was expecting to find a reason to like Teri. She has a little brother who is two-years-old who loves her to death, a mother who’s out of it, and a father who died in prison. There are lots and lots of reasons to feel sorry for Teri. She’s bullied at school by the football team, takes vo-tech classes, and is pretty much looked down upon by everyone in her life. I could relate to the bullying thing, and have a particular love for underdogs. So imagine my shock when I just could not, not matter how hard I tried, find a way to relate to Teri. I mean, yeah, sure she was taunted and teased and targeted by the football team. But she was a bully herself as well.Now, I know a lot of people say that bullied kids turn into bullies, and I’m not going to argue with that. My guess is that the boys at Columbine would not have gunned down their classmates if they hadn’t been the targets of shameless bullying. And I agree that Teri had some horrible situations to deal with. Her home situation was a hundred times worse than mine was in high school; her situation at school was pretty bad too. Things got even worse for her in the middle of the book. So if anything, Teri had a right to be angry.But as a child who was bullied so severely myself that people threw rocks at me, and as a person who was ostracized, who had to listen to boys make animal noises as I ran past, who was systematically pushed into walls, sexually harassed, and had nasty rumors spread around about me, I was always ALWAYS aware that I had a choice how I treated others. It was the constant ill treatment I received as a child that drove me not to treat others that way. Giving in to my anger, cutting people down, acting like a jerk was not an option. I chose not to be like my tormentors. It was the only form of control I had.And Teri, no matter her circumstances, had a choice to how she treated others too. It was, in fact, the only form of control she had; and she chose to steal Kate’s watch and necklace, to hotwire her car, to steal food from the grocery store thus making Kate an accomplice to a crime. She chose to call Kate a spaz, to make fun of her inability to use a hammer, to point out her flaws, and to push her around. She chose to tear apart the house others build for her and throw paint cans at those who tried to be her friends. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Teri had no right to be angry—she had every right to be angry, but how is the way she dealt with that anger any better than a father who screams at his children and throws things because he’s a rageaholic? I’m going to be blunt here and say, I think it’s EXACTLY the same thing.The difference is that when Laurie Halse Anderson writes about the rageaholic father in TWISTED, he’s the problem, and the one who ruins his family’s life. But when Ms. Anderson writes about the same kind of character in CATLYST, we’re supposed to pity the girl and see things from her point of view.This is where the tall man giving the sermon in my dreams comes in. He represented Teri and the way she treated those around her. Even though the author tried to make Kate stop running by having her help out Teri in the end, I didn’t feel like Kate did the right thing. She calls her boyfriend a jerk for telling the truth to Teri. Here’s what he says to her, “ . . . I know you’ve had a really hard life. But that doesn’t give you permission to make Kate feel like shit, or make fun of people, or steal from them . . .” p.222I get the impression that as a reader I’m supposed to be appalled by Kate’s boyfriend being so “mean” to Teri. But instead I’m sitting there, reading it, and agreeing with Every. Single. Word.What Kate truly does at the end is disown “Bad Kate” instead of integrating her healthy negative feelings into her identity. She doesn’t really stop running, instead she runs into another bad friendship. One where the girl treats her like crap and Kate’s expected to just put up with it. Like the fat little blond girl that gets hit on the head in my dream. I feel sorry for her.

  • Mike
    2018-10-14 19:07

    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 engaging plot for the sake of exploring the issue of the day. But still, a formula is a formula, even when it’s a good one, and Anderson’s works would get boring if she didn’t shake it up every once in awhile.I think that’s part of the reason this novel worked so well for me. Because, of Anderson’s YA novels that I’ve read so far, this one follows the formula the least. There is no one issue that Anderson chooses to explore here. Anderson always writes character studies, but this is the first time the development of the main character, Katie, has been the focus of one of her novels. The premise of the novel is that Katie is a senior with only two weeks left of high school, and she’s only applied to one college: M.I.T. The odds that she’ll get in are looking increasingly low, but it’s her only option. Meanwhile, a recent fire has burnt down the house of Teri, a classmate who Katie doesn’t like, so Teri and her little brother are living in Katie’s house, generally increasing Katie’s stress level. And that’s about it. The plot is pretty thin, on the whole, and while it does get too flimsy at points, the novel required a thin plot. This novel isn’t really about the story, it’s about Katie, and to a lesser extent, Teri. Katie is probably Anderson’s most compelling protagonist, and I don’t say that lightly. Anderson always writes protagonists that feel real to me - she always does a good job of fleshing out their interests, their likes and dislikes, and just in general, what their lives are like. Here, this is all true, but more so. Anderson’s main goal here was to flesh out all of this believably, and it shows in so many little details. Katie has some friends she isn’t particularly close to, and even though we don’t see them a ton, Katie knows a ton about them and has inside jokes with them. She goes to get her glasses fixed. She has multiple hobbies. She goes to church events every Wednesday. And yet, all of this is shown without being intrusive into the story, and it never got boring. Katie’s personality is so present in all of this that it was never tedious to read, as it would be in the hands of a lesser author. I almost never see YA books that put so much effort into fleshing out their protagonist.The side characters are equally well-developed, particularly Teri. Because we’re seeing Teri through Katie’s eyes, our image of her is somewhat skewed. From the beginning of the novel, Katie strongly dislikes her, to the point where she’s annoyed or angry during every conversation. But, to Anderson’s infinite credit, Teri manages to feel like a well-rendered character nevertheless. There’s a lot of subtext in the scenes where she’s present, and Anderson manages to communicate both the way Katie sees Teri, and what Teri is actually like. Some of the subtlety is lost towards the end, but Katie and Teri’s interactions are still remarkably well-written. Teri’s character arc follows a fairly predictable trajectory - she’s at first seen as annoying, but then we find out she has a tragic life, and she’s redeemed. It’s probably a cliche in contemporary YA at this point. But this story is still worth reading, simply because I rarely see it done with such nuance and skill.That said, I still wouldn’t say that this book is quite good enough to be among Anderson’s best. And the main reason for that is the plot. Really, this book has two plots - one of them involving Katie’s struggle with the end of high school and whether or not she’ll be accepted into M.I.T., and the other involving Teri living with Katie and her family. It’s hard to connect the plots, in terms of events or themes - I guess you could say that both Katie and Teri have to move on from sort of disaster, but that’s not really the focus of Teri’s story. The focus of Teri’s story is more her interactions with Katie and how Katie inaccurately prejudges her. I honestly liked the college plot a lot better. You’d think Teri would have the more engaging story, but the problem with Teri’s story is that Katie is telling it, and Katie just isn’t a very interesting perspective on it. She spends most of the novel being annoyed by Teri - it gets a little monotonous after a while. Even when Teri undergoes huge emotional trauma, it’s made less engaging because we only see Katie responding to it. The plot might’ve been a lot more interesting if Teri herself were telling the story, but Katie just wasn’t a very interesting narrator for it. The college plot, on the other hand, was unique and engaging. There are so few YA novels that acknowledge the pressure on students to do well in high school and get into the best college possible, and Anderson seems very aware of it. The stakes are so unusual for a YA novel - I genuinely haven’t read anything where the outcome of a college application is shown to matter so much, in a realistic way. It’s a shame that this plot is shoved to the background for the second half of the novel, in favor of Teri’s development, because it’s some of the most engaging material in Anderson’s career.This wasn’t my favorite novel Laurie Halse Anderson has ever written, but it’s certainly very good. While I would recommendWintergirls andThe Impossible Knife of Memory over this one, this is still an exceptionally strong novel, and if you haven’t heard of it, it deserves a look.This review can also be found on my blog.

  • Shiloh Rockey
    2018-11-07 19:50

    Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of the perfect high school student Kate and how her life is turned upside down after her arch enemy Teri moves into her room after Teri’s house is destroyed by a fire. Then her dream school, MIT, rejects her and she hasn’t applied to any other schools so Kate is left wondering “What do I do now?” Surprisingly, Kate and Teri grow closer as they are forced to hang out and help Teri fix up her house. Kate learns from Teri that it's okay to relax and just go with the flow. Teri and Kate become good friends and learn the importance of just living life and not having to plan out every step.

  • Rachael(RachaelReadsAndRaves)
    2018-11-06 14:18

    This was a Read-Or-Unhaul pick and I will be unhauling this one after all. I have really liked Anderson's other books, but I just couldn't get into this one. There is a very moving scene which explains some of the reactions of the characters, but several characters are just so selfish and whiny. Quick read, like this cover, but just not my kinda LHA book.

  • Ishita Khichar
    2018-10-24 15:03

    I'm giving it 3.5. This novel has the power to shake someone and so anyone reading must know that. I found the experience dark.It isn't as good as speak, but then we must not compare. The stories are very different. I found the writing rather weak in the beggining, but it started getting really intense towards the middle. I think it was because I could relate to some things, and share the insecurities of the narrator.