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FICTION

Catalyst

HMH/Clarion. Jun. 2020. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358065029.
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Gr 4-7–Pipsqueak is a tiny little kitten that Zoe has promised to take care of. Zoe found the kitten out by her family’s garage right before her 12th birthday. She has always loved animals and brought home quite a few strays in the past. Zoe takes Pipsqueak in and introduces him to her best friend, Harrison. Zoe’s parents reluctantly agree to let Zoe keep Pipsqueak since Zoe’s older brother left for college in France. Everything is going great until the kitten begins growing. He gets bigger and bigger until Pipsqueak is no longer a pipsqueak. Knowing that this is not normal, Zoe takes him to the vet, who doesn’t see a problem. But as Pipsqueak continues to grow to the size of a horse, Zoe knows she needs to make a plan. She contacts her Aunt Alecia, who lives in the mountains of New Hampshire. Along with Harrison’s cousin, Surita, Zoe convinces her parents to let her go away to the summer camp where Surita is a counselor, and she uses this time to travel to her aunt’s house instead, via Pipsqueak. When Zoe finds out that there are local reports of a green flying poodle who looks a lot like a dog Zoe saw at the vet, she knows that she has made the right choice. She needs to figure out what is going on and fast. Zoe’s family obviously cares for her, and their interactions are amusing. It would have helped, though, to know more about Aunt Alecia before the adventure continues at her house.
VERDICT A fast-paced, engaging fantasy novel that cat lovers will adore and fans of the author will read vigorously. A solid purchase for fantasy lovers.

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