My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Natalie Ng: sister to uber-super-overachievers. Twelve year old Emmy is a senior in high school, two years ahead of Natalie herself. She can hide like a chameleon. No, really, she can. Older sister Viv has multiple super gifts and is already being eyed by BERM ( the Bureau of Extra Sensory Regulation and Management) as a great field agent. And Nat? Nat’s feeling kinda bummed, and not a little inferior. Really, if you had a brilliant family, how would you feel about yourself if your gift was, well, understanding what cats are saying? I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. I thought I’d be reading a chick lit book, maybe a fun, quirky one, but I was surprised and delighted: by the writing, the humor, and especially the characterizations. I knew these people. I hurt for them, was angry at them, and laughed my head off at some of the things Cat thought of, even in times of crisis.
The book is filled with references to the classic teen movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The plot hinges on a remake of the movie being filmed at Nat’s school, but we’re also treated to kidnapping and other mayhem as the story progresses. Well-paced, exciting and funny, in the end, it is really about Nat, who finds her own path and discovers that she needn’t define herself by the achievements of others. It really is true that even humble-seeming gifts have real importance, though we may not see that at first glance. I know that sounds cliche, but living through this discovery is fresh and delightful.
I loved this book! To whom would it most appeal? Those who never quite fit into any real category, those who look to define themselves by their experiences, and not by the world around them. Oh yeah – in high school, that would have been someone like me! That can be a lonely place to be, but Cat Girl? She is one cool chick.