Full disclosure: Kimberly Pauley was in my writer’s group for (sadly) only a short time before she moved to London. She started writing Cat Girl’s Day Off while here in the Chicago area, and so I’d already read the first few chapters. Understand that I in no way felt obligated to read this cute little YA cat fantasy of a novel because I didn’t know Kimberly long enough to feel obligated and—even if I did—she’s in London!
But read it I did. Purely, I might add, for selfish reasons. In the short time Kimberly was in my writer’s group, I quickly discovered she was one of those writers who’d show up and say something like, “Oh, I just wrote this. It’s not very good…blah, blah, blah.” And, of course, I’d read it and think, Really? This is your first draft? I should quit. Right now. I should just quit writing immediately. Sigh…
Seriously, Kimberly’s an amazingly clever, quirky, little writer who somehow knows how to take what many of us might consider a lame premise (i.e. cat whispering) and turn it into a wacky, wonderful, page-turner of a novel. (Heck, if Michael Jackson could make a hit out of a love song about a rat, anything’s possible.)
In Cat Girl’s Day Off, Kimberly introduces us to Nat Ng, a girl whose superpower is, of all things, the ability to communicate with cats. The kind of superpower that practically begs you to make fun of it.
Hey, Cat Girl, want some milk? Meowwwww
Even worse, Nat is the middle child—the middle girl—in a family of super-talented geniuses (Her sisters’ abilities include levitation, lie-detecting, and the chameleon-like ability to blend into one’s surroundings).
Like any good writer, Kimberly forces Nat to face her biggest fear: everyone—especially her high school peers—learning about her ability. When a spoiled pink cat belonging to famous Hollywood blogger Easton West insists that the person who looks like “his person” is really an imposter, Nat’s star struck friends (and the only two people besides her family who know about her ability) insist she help them find the missing blogger. Chaos ensues as a film crew, complete with screaming divas and hunky actors, that
Easton West had come to town planning to cover, descends upon their high school to film some scenes.
While there’s plenty of mystery, humor, and nail-biting scenes, my favorite part of Cat Girl’s Day Off are the scenes with the cats. It’s easy to picture this as the next Pixar or Disney animated movie with scenes such as the one where a whole kitty litter load of cats descend upon Wrigley Field to help Nat and her friends try to capture the villain.
Cat Girl’s Day Off is clever and fast paced. The characters, from Nat’s super-talented, dysfunctional family, to the clever, neurotic, and heroic cats made it a Super Fun, summertime read!
Find out more about Kimberly Pauley at: http://www.kimberlypauley.com/