The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
Age Range
Release Date
April 02, 2013
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In this warmhearted middle-grade novel, Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat, Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet’s office, Oona tells the stories of his previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook’s lives have echoes in Oona’s own family life, which is going through a transition she’s not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan—whom Oona secretly calls “the villain.” The truth about Dylan, and about Zook’s medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story.

Editor review

1 review
Dealing with a sick pet
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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Oona and her brother Fred are still coping with the death of their father from cancer a few years ago when their cat, Zook (short for zucchini) starts to have problems with kidney failure. In order to help Fred, Oona starts to tell him stories about the different lives the cat has had, just like their father used to tell stories to them. The two are also dealing with the fact that their mother is dating a man they don't like. Dylan is a male nurse, and ends up being very helpful in dealing with Zook's treatment, and Oona and Fred get a lot of support from their close-knit, multicultural Californian neighborhood. Unfortunately, Zook is not going to make it, and the family has to put the cat down. Oona deals with many problems surrounding how she got Zook (she lies quite a bit), problems with friends who become estranged, and with her mother moving on after her father's death.
Good Points
This was a very compelling book, even though I knew that Zook would not have a happy ending. Readers of Rocklin's first book, One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street will enjoy this story as well.
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