Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 12, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I rarely read books in the fantasy or young adult genres, but every once in a while, I get a pitch to review a book that sounds so intriguing that I agree to take a look. I’m glad I did for Catalyst. This story about 12-year-old Zoe, who rescues a tiny kitten on her birthday, and the adventures that her act of kindness lead to, appealed to me on a lot of different levels.

From the publisher:

Zoe named the kitten Pipsqueak, because she was so tiny, and promised to always take care of her. Then the kitten grew. And grew. Now she’s bigger than a horse—and talking as well! Fleeing into the woods to escape the curious eyes of the Internet, Zoe and her best friend, Harrison, must keep the giant cat hidden as they desperately search for a way to return her to normal size. If they don’t succeed, Pipsqueak may never be safe again. But why did she grow so large in the first place? And what if trying to change her back leads to even greater danger?

Aimed at readers in grades 5 through 7, I nevertheless found myself drawn into this story almost from the very beginning. Durst’s writing style is beautiful, and that alone made reading a pleasure. But it’s the plot and the vivid descriptions of the magical creatures that really delighted me and kept me turning the pages. I found myself smiling and holding my breath, sometimes at the same time.

Ultimately, this is a story about growing up, about change, and about accepting others for who they truly are, regardless of species, shape or size.

I think this is a wonderful book for young readers, but it can be equally enjoyable for adults who are willing to suspend belief and escape the current reality for a little while.

Catalyst is available from Amazon.

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