Natalie Ng, like everyone else in her family, has a Talent. And with a sister who can be a human lie detector, and another who can camouflage herself like a chamelon, Natalie’s talent must be really awesome, right? Wrong. Her Talent is lame and quite useless (if you ask her anyway) because she can talk to cats. And what good is that except for finding out when a cat wants tuna? (And they want tuna all the time!). But maybe her Talent will come in handy when her friend Oscar, a gossiphound, shows her a video of a celebrity blogger being attacked by her own (albeit dyed pink) cat. Natalie realizes the cat is saying the blogger is an imposter. Now Oscar, Natalie, and their best friend Melly, an aspiring actress, are on a madcap tour of Chicago, Ferris Bueller-style, and with cats in tow, to solve the mystery of the kidnapped blogger, and Natalie’s got to put her skills to the test.
I so enjoyed this book that it’s hard to pinpoint what I loved best. First, look at the cover. Diversity! It’s an excellent cover that accurately portrays Natalie Ng as she is. It’s not some homogenized B.S. girl with a tiny tank top bedazzled with rhinestones. Seriously, kudos Tu Books! Also, a gay character, whose sexuality isn’t part of the plot.
This book is fun and light. It’s got some very funny moments. From the moments with the cats (I couldn’t stop cracking up when the cats would refer to Natalie’s crushing on a boy as “she’s in heat for him”) but also the movie-related hijinx. If you’ve ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (and who hasn’t?!), then you’ll remember enjoy some of the plot elements. The romance with Ian is sweet, and when P.D. gets involved, things get really fun. (I’ll let you find out who P.D. is!)
Natalie is instantly likable and she just seems real. The dash of paranormal (“Talents”) mixed with the modern day made a fun, not heavy paranormal read that’s accessible to many. While Cat Girl’s Day Off is hilarious and fast, it also packs a story about a girl trying to find her place in an uber-gifted family. Her dialogue crackles as does the cats’, and rings true. You would think with all the zany plot points that come into play, that the romance subplot wouldn’t work, but it really does. It doesn’t feel like a romance was tacked on just for the point of having a romance because “readers like that kind of thing.”
I think what I really love about this book is the fact you can tell Kimberly Pauley wrote a book that didn’t try to follow any trends, she wrote that proverbial “book in your heart,” and it worked. So well. The quotes about cats for each chapter were a nice touch; I am a true sucker for quotes in a book.
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If you like cats, movies, bloggers, Chicago, and humor, you will love this book! Highly recommended for fans of Maureen Johnson.
Copy for review provided by the publisher.
Title: Cat Girl’s Day Off
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Date: April 2012
Publisher: Tu Books