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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman

Things weren't so peachy in Cathy's life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she's failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But now things have suddenly gone from bad to very, very, very, bad. Take Victor, for instance. Sure he looks like he's around Cathy's age, or at least young enough not to make her mother freak out, but what if he's older than he appears? Like maybe 200 years older. And what does the death of Victor's co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy's arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?

Let my just start by saying that this book is incredibly dynamic. The entire novel is formatted as Cathy’s journal, complete with doodles cluttering the margins. At first I found the drawings incredibly distracting, but after a while I began to get used to the blue-inked doodles all over the page. The drawings aren’t just meaningless doodles, rather illustrations to go along with the events of the story, as well as snarky remarks and enlightenment from Cathy.

The illustrations aren’t the only unique thing about this novel, though. The phone numbers aren’t fictional, you can actually call them. In addition to these, there are also pages of evidence (located in a pouch on the front cover for hard covers, and printed onto the front cover and central pages for paperbacks). These pieces of evidence are the exact items that Cathy discovers in the novel and uses to piece together the mystery.

Without all the extras, this book was not incredibly good. The storyline was rather slow at times and the writing isn’t exactly top notch. With the entire novel written in sporadic entries and oddly formatted it’s hard at times to get into the story. However, with the extras Cathy’s story comes to life. Where the writing lacks in imagery and detail, the extras make up.

2.5 Stars!

P.S. Remember to check the evidence frequently (especially the letters!) while reading. There were a few times when I forgot to and it definitely made the novel harder to understand without the information they contained.

Also, hold the book under direct sunlight for some secret doodles on the front and back covers.

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