Never listen to a cat. That will only get you in trouble. Actually, scratch that. Listening to cats is one thing, but really I should never listen to my best friend Oscar. It's completely his fault (okay, and my aspiring actress friend Melly's too) that I got caught up in this crazy celebrity-kidnapping mess. If you had asked me, I would have thought it would be one of my super-Talented sisters who'd get caught up in crime fighting. I definitely never thought it would be me and my Talent trying to save the day. Usually, all you get out of conversations with cats is requests for tummy rubs and tuna. Wait . . . I go back to what I said first: Never listen to a cat. Because when the trouble starts and the kitty litter hits the fan, trust me, you don't want to be in the middle of it.
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The real magic of CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF is the narrative voice. Natalie Ng is quirky, slightly snarky, and usually feels in over her head. She is both brave and insecure, and consistently undervalues herself (for reasons that make sense) even while she reluctantly assumes the mantle of heroine. I laughed countless times during the book, thanks to Nat's voice. And I ached for her to find her happily ever after with her love interest. I worried that she'd get into so much trouble she wouldn't find her way out. And I loved every second of Nat's discovery that the Talent she thought was nothing special (which lead her to believe SHE was nothing special) was the only way to save the day.
There are lovely little moments along the way between Nat and her family and friends. There are cringe-worthy moments as well, especially at school, as the attention-shy Nat lands herself in hot water in the most memorable way possible. I absolutely couldn't put the book down. This is a wild, funny, heart-warming adventure that will have readers begging for a sequel.
This is one hilarious, fun romp that made me want MORE! Nat's family has special abilities like her older sister who is a living lie detector and her 12 year-old-sister who's in high school. Nat's talent is being able to communicate with cats. Her mother is allergic so Nat ends up with the expensive hypoallergenic one. She's kind of embarrassed of her ability until she sees Rufus on TV screaming that his human is gone. Now her friends, who are equal parts quirky and lovable, convince her she has to help.
If you've seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you get an idea on the rollercoaster ride Nat and her friends go on.
My favorite character has to be Rufus. Yes, he's a cat but man he's filled with kitty 'tude and you know not to mess with him. Nat's interaction with Rufus and the other cats is so funny. One scene has Rufus with Meeta, Nat's cat, discussing how much Nat 'likes' this one guy, in front of him. Of course he doesn't understand 'cat' but Nat is dying of embarrassment. Readers will be hooting and giggling. I did!
CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF is a refreshing YA in a sea of dark paranormals out there. Plus it has characters you care about that aren't cardboard caricatures. A total must read!
2. Great characters
3. A fast-paced romp that makes you want more
4. Rufus. Need I say more?
So here’s how it is. Natalie Ng's family are all Talented. Her super-genius younger sister can vanish like a chameleon. Her beautiful older sister can levitate objects and knows if someone is lying. Even her dad has a supersensitive nose. Middle-kid-to-the-nth-degree Nat has a Talent too, but it's seriously Grade B, as in B-oring. She can speak to cats.
This is not a gift Nat particularly wants anyone to know about, fearing social death and everyone calling her Cat Girl. Her best friends Oscar (outrageous gay side-kick) and Mellie (gorgeous movie-star-to-be) know, but that's it. Yet when a celebrity-gossip blogger is kidnapped – replaced, her pet cat screams, by an imposter – it’s only Nat who understands. You know at the start that the three friends will end up saving the day, but along the way there are twists, turns, surprises, a startling number of cats – and a story that kept me reading (and giggling) without pausing for breath or bathroom breaks.
The characters were similarly both familiar and surprising. Nat on the one hand fits the mold of the odd-girl heroine, but she never became a stock character. She felt powerfully real – so real I truly cared what happened between her and (*sigh*) Ian, and I really wanted her family to see her in a new light. Oscar and Mellie likewise – in the hands of a lesser writer, they both could have been clichés, but Pauley infused them with full, rich lives and selves. I ended up wishing they were MY best friends, and that I didn’t have to leave them behind when I turned the last page. The urban-fantasy element—that some humans have Talents (not superpowers, Nat’s mother insists)—was utterly believable, and never needed dull exposition to justify its existence.
The (dare I say zany?) madcap adventures in Kimberly Pauley's truly delightful new book are Hughes-ish in the best possible way, happy ending and all. I can’t imagine finding a better beach book this year, but if I were you, I wouldn’t wait until summer to read it.