The Thirteenth Cat

Clarion. Sept. 2021. 240p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358394082.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Brooklyn, NY, native Zoey is spending her summer in Bexhill with her Aunt Alice when strange events start to occur. Zoey notices a pack of black cats, led by a long-haired white cat. They are all owned by the cruel yet fashionable Miss Dupree who is not pretty, but not ugly; not old, but not young. After a run-in with Miss Dupree, Zoey and her friend Lila are turned into cats. Lila and Zoey team up with Nia, another girl-turned-cat, to break the evil spell Miss Dupree has cast on them. This tale is creepy and reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Readers will feel a sense of dread as the story comes together and they realize why the girls have been turned into cats. There is little character description, so it’s up to the reader to imagine what Zoey and Lila look like. The ending is happy, but also sad; not everyone is saved, which makes the horror all the more effective.
VERDICT This twisted tale would be good for older elementary students who love stories with magic, witches, and impending doom.

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