“I was a freak from a family of freaks.” High school sophomore Natalie “Nat” Ng has a “Talent” she’s not proud of: the ability to talk to cats. Her younger sister is a “supergenius” with chameleonlike abilities; her older sister is proficient in truth divination and levitation, and has X-ray vision; and her parents work for the Bureau of Extrasensory Regulation and Management. When a film crew comes to Nat’s Chicago high school to shoot a takeoff of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off things get fishy: the female star isn’t acting like herself, and Nat learns from a cat that celebrity blogger Easton West may not be who she claims to be. Along with her friends Oscar and Melly, Nat gets dragged into a whirlwind adventure to find out what happened to the real Easton. Pauley (Still Sucks to Be Me) offers amusing insights into the minds of cats, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot. Readers should easily relate to Nat, and cat-lovers in particular will find a lot to enjoy in this romp. Ages 12�up. Agent: Susanna Einstein, Einstein Thompson Agency. (Apr.)
VOYA - Cassandra Rondinella
What do Ferris Bueller, a celebrity blogger, a pink cat, and two movie-star-obsessed best friends have in common? A whole lot of chaos for Natalie Ng. Nat tries to keep a low profile at school, especially since everyone in her family possesses extrasensory talents. But Nat feels that her ability to communicate with cats pales in comparison to lie detecting, super-smelling noses, and blending into walls. Outside of her family, the only people who know of her talent are her two best friends, Oscar and Mellyuntil one day, while watching a YouTube video, she hears celebrity blogger Easton West's cat, Rufus, yelling that the human carrying him is an imposter. Since Easton is in town covering a remake of the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is being filmed at her own school, Nat, Oscar, and Melly decide to investigate the situation on their own. After rescuing Rufus and collecting more details, the trio discovers that there is not only an imposter on the loose but a dangerous kidnapper with Nat's own talent. After several comic events involving Rufus, an army of cats at Wrigley Field, accusations of stalking, and Nat being arrested, Nat and her friends not only save Easton West but also another unknown missing movie star. Pauley's latest novel is well written, entertaining, and keeps the story moving with short chapters. A great combination of action, adventure, and comedy, this book will make an excellent addition to any library collection. Reviewer: Cassandra Rondinella
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Natalie can talk to cats. She has a Talent for it. But no one knows that except her family and her two best friends and she'd like to keep it that way. Oscar and Melly are caught up in the celeb craziness that is sweeping their school thanks to a spinoff of Ferris Beuller's Day Off that is being filmed at their high school (which is also the school used in the original movie). They're watching a news clip of Easton West, a famous celebrity blogger, and her two pets arriving when Natalie notices that Easton's cat is yowling that she's been kidnapped. Since no one will believe a bunch of kids they take it upon themselves to solve the mystery and end up risking their lives and becoming heroes. There are mistaken identities, more kidnappings, gun play, hidden Talents, secret government agencies, a herd of cats, young love and more to be tangled with as Natalie comes to understand how special she is and how important her (seemingly useless) Talent can be in her family and to the world. The kids had fun and believable personalities and Natalie's voice had just the right amount of sarcasm and self-loathing to make it pure teen without becoming overly angst-y. The celeb element (her friends over the top fan mania and the actors themselves) balanced nicely with Natalie's more down-to-earth way of looking at things. As a bonus there's an author's note about the movie and John Hughes. This is a soft X-Men-ish sort of tale that tweens are sure to enjoy. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
Natalie Ng, gifted with the Talent of being able to communicate with cats, embarks on an impetuous adventure as a movie riffing off film classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off is filmed at her Chicago-area high school. Natalie comes from a Talented family, but her two sisters and her parents all possess high-grade Talents such as blending like a chameleon, knowing when people are lying or having an ultrasensitive sense of smell. Still, Nat's unique ability to understand cats means she's the only one to hear celebrity blogger Easton's cat screaming for help because his owner has been kidnapped and replaced with a look-alike. Since there's no one else ready and able to rescue Easton, Nat and her pair of slightly off-beat friends take on the job. This leads to one perilous situation after another, many of them featuring the italicized thoughts--appropriately laconic and snarky--of the various cats that Nat seeks out for help. Her bumpy budding romance with classmate Ian adds an amusing love interest to the mix. The fantasy elements, solidly grounded in an otherwise real world, seem ever-so-believable. Lively conversation, strong characterizations and a fast pace make this a breezy read. The funny feline thoughts are catnip for the audience. A worthwhile adventure and an easy sell for feline fanciers who already know what their pets are saying. (author's note) (Fantasy. 11 & up)
Cat Girl's Day Off was such a fun, adventurous romp! I couldn't stop reading it. . . with my cat.
When I need to read something smart and funny and completely original, I turn to Kimberly Pauley. Cat Girl's Day Off is a manic, madcap adventure that satisfies from the first page to the last.