Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

1 08 2012

I will admit: I wanted to read this book because of the cover. While there is nothing new with people wanting to read books because of how their covers look — frankly some books people want to read ONLY because of their covers — but there was a particular reason that I loved this cover so much. The cover, at first glance, seems incredibly simple. There’s a picture of an Asian-American girl with a pink streak in her hair, standing beside a cat that has been dyed pink.

But what’s so amazing about this is the very fact that there’s a person of color on the cover. In an age where so many covers simply show pretty white girls, it’s great to see a person of color proudly shown on YA cover. A bonus fun fact: the publisher of this book, Tu Books, is a small company devoted to creating and publishing stories that are diverse and feature people of color. Check out their website; it’s a treasure trove of diversity.

And it’s sad — really sad — that I need to comment on this, but I applaud Tu Books for creating a great cover (love the speech bubbles, they’re so cute, and the cover, IMO, is really well designed) End of cover conversation, onto the book.

Natalie has a Talent: she can communicate and talk to cats, and she excersizes her talent by talking to her cat. However, in her perfect family, this Talent is strange and useless. Who really needs someone to talk to cats? She feels distanced and alone in her family, since everyone else in her family has Talents that are usable and “normal”. She only feels at home with her best friends, who are accepting of her Talent. Soon, her town becomes disrupted as a new movie begins to film in town, featuring the latest hearttrob and his leading lady, Victoria. Besides the movie coming to town, Easton West, a prominent fashion blogger, has also come to town to report on the movie. Natalie and her friends are eager ans hope to be cast as extras in the film. But soon there is a problem — Easton West has been kidnapped, and the number one suspect is Victoria. Now Natalie and her best friends must fight to solve the mystery, using their brains, fashion knowledge, and some cats to save the day.

This book is….campy, frothy, and fun. That’s all it is, that’s all it acknowleges itself as. This is a fluffy book and the reader knows it. The author says that she wrote the book as a homage to 80s movies, John Hughes, and Hughes’ famous film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. There are plenty of references to the film (I didn’t catch them all and I doubt all readers — esp. teens — will, but Pauley lists some of them in the author’s note) and the story is written to be a campy, frothy, fun story in the vein of the film. The book is an easy read that you can fly through it quickly.

This review is going to be shorter than normal, mostly because i really only have a few quick notes:

  • The whole “I’m not special” theme has been explored in hundreds, probably THOUSANDS, of other books. The first time I read this theme was in the “Amazing Days of Abby Hayes” books (great books) and since then I’ve seen the theme over and over again. Generally the ending to this conflict/subplot is easy to guess and ends about the same way in every single one of these books. And yes, the ending in Cat Girl’s Day Off is extremely easy to guess but I really liked how it was handled — Natalie and her parents discussing the issue.


  • Gay best friend! Seriously. Natalie has a gay best friend and he behaves basically like any other sterotypical gay best friend. He loves fashion, “girly” things so to speak, and has his own catchprase. Authors: it’s great that you want to include gay best friends in your books, but make sure that these characters are also well rounded and aren’t just a bunch of sterotypes of gay people stacked on top of each other.


  • The mystery is pretty hard to figure out, actually, and I was surprised by the amount of twists and turns the plot took.


  • So many characters! There were so many characters, and a lot were introduced at the end, that it was hard to keep track of or understand who they were or what they were doing.

Overall, I thought that Cat Girl’s Day Off was a good book — fans of mysteries, 80s movies (especially John Hughes films) and books set in the 80s (a surprising trend) will enjoy the book.




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