Catch

( 7 )

Overview

Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college?

Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow ...

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Overview

Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college?

Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow his dreams?

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Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[A] coming-of-age story that will reassure and enlighten even as is amuses-- everything a good literary freshman orientation should do." starred review.
Children's Literature
Tim Temples has just graduated from Mattoon High School in rural Illinois. College at the University of Illinois beckons next fall but first Tim has to sort out a few things. Most of Tim's classmates are staying in Mattoon to work in the bagel factory. Tim must decide whether he wants to step away from the comfortable world of being a popular athlete in a small town or accept the frightening reality of change. Tim's summer job at the bagel plant introduces him to Helena, a young woman with some bark who works as the boss's secretary. Surprisingly, Tim gets to know Helena, and their relationship teaches him a great deal about himself, his past, and future possibilities. In the end Tim must make a hard but natural decision about moving on with his life and accepting the inevitability of change. Written with a loving touch and a wry sense of humor this title is a memorable novel. Will Leitch has crafted a coming-of-age story that is reminiscent of Gilbert Grape or Catcher in the Rye. In the person of Tim Temples, readers will meet a character that rings true and will stick in their memories. Tim's summer of searching for himself evocatively captures the world of blue-collar folks trying to stay afloat in small town America. This is a novel that adolescents and adults will enjoy and think about well after the last page has been turned. 2005, Razorbill, Ages 16 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
KLIATT
Tim Temples is somewhat of a celebrity in his hometown of Mattoon, where the other big thing is the Lenders Bagels plant and the upcoming Bagelfest. Everyone knows his family and the baseball talent that runs through their veins—his father and brother are both baseball stars with their own lost shots at the majors. Tim has always been big man in his small town, with lists of girlfriends that he often tossed aside at will. Then he meets Helena, the sassy office assistant at the Lenders plant where he is working for the summer. He is intrigued by and intensely attracted to her. Helena teaches him things not only about the world that awaits him, but also about himself. What starts out as another fling turns into something that Tim is not sure he wants to leave. Besides Helena, Mattoon is safe and he has his friends. Tim is not sure he is ready to start over where nobody will know him or his status. Catch starts out as the male counterpart to chick lit, but develops into something more as Tim discovers that he just might be able to, as he puts it, "catch" anything that life throws at him. Even secondary characters develop while the small town feeling is clearly and almost tangibly conveyed. Readers, boys and girls alike, will certainly be drawn into all of it. Sex is present, as is alcohol use, but not out of context, and Tim's views of both appropriately matures throughout his story. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Razorbill, , Ages 15 to 18.
—Stephanie Squicciarini
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-During the summer between his high school graduation and leaving for state college, Tim Temples works and drinks hard and discovers that he is not alone at the center of his own universe. In the course of about 15 weeks, he watches his older brother-a former baseball star like their father-degenerate socially and physically for no obvious (to Tim) reason. It's during this same time that he is smitten for the first time in his young womanizing life. Helena is more than five years his senior, hard-bitten by life and her own sarcastic attitude, and only Tim believes that the affair has lasting potential. Daytimes are spent working in a food packaging plant, hauling boxes, and noticing that his old high school friends are quickly fading into the "old men" who staff the plant year round. Only belatedly does Tim realize that he is different from most of his friends, most of his family, most of the town. He's leaving to be a college guy, in a world just down the highway but very far away in terms of prospects. Leitch draws readers to Tim slowly and places him within a cast of characters who are finely etched, realistic, and memorably quirky. Teens will recognize people they know among these characters, some admirable, most deeply flawed, all genuine. This is a keenly felt and absorbing read about this bittersweet rite of passage.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595140692
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 992,953
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Will Leitch
Will Leitch

Will Leitch, founding editor of Deadspin.com, is a contributing editor and columnist for New York magazine. He has also written for the New York Times, GQ, Fast Company, Slate, Salon, and Playboy, and is the author of Catch, a novel, and Life as a Loser, a book of essays. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

On Friday night, Helena is lying on the couch. She’s wearing a pink T-shirt with a picture of a cute bunny smiling and waving on it. Beneath the bunny are the words Sometimes You Make Me Want to Throw Up a Little. The shirt cracks me up. Her head is in my lap, and I’m stroking her hair while she flips through the channels. There are a million of them.

This house looks just like every other house that’s owned by grown-ups in Mattoon, except a little bigger and with some Mission: Impossible security system. The kitchen is huge and immaculate, the family room has pictures of Jesus and little signs that say, Bless This Mess, and the television is placed in the strategic center. The whole place is designed to funnel you into the television room. If you brought a caveman who had no knowledge of modern technology into this house, he’d walk through the door and inevitably gravitate toward the couch, where he would sit and see if any NASCAR was on. The only two rooms that really matter here are the kitchen and the television room. Everything else is apparently where you rest up between those two.

I won’t lie: we would love a home like this.

Helena flips past two old white men yelling at each other on the news channel, a group of midgets playing tug-of-war with an elephant, and an inexplicable rock-paper-scissors tournament. She lands on some sort of reality television show where people tear apart a house. Girls always end up on the wrong stations when they have the remote.

“Yes!” she shrieks. “I thought this was on tonight!”

A young, blandly handsome man is telling us about the Bluth family. They live in Omaha, Nebraska, and their family home has fallen into decay. Mike Bluth, the dad, looks into the camera and says he’d love to fix the place up but just doesn’t have the money. The blandly handsome guy comes back, puts on goggles, and smiles. “It’s time to change the Bluths’ life . . . EXTREME MAKEOVER STYLE!” He then takes a sledgehammer and smashes it into some worn plywood posing as a wall, and the camera starts zagging all over the place and some cheesy music starts playing at a frenetic pace.

“I love this show,” Helena says, smiling. “Do you like it? Do you want to watch it?”

I never understand why people love these shows so much. I mean, when is Helena going to renovate a house? She can’t even keep her room clean. I decide that these shows are like porn. People can’t stop watching them, even though they’re full of stuff they’ll never actually do.

“That part where he started hitting stuff with the sledgehammer was pretty cool,” I say.

“Oh, come on, you’ll like it,” she says. “Half an hour in, you’ll be begging for more.”

So we watch the rest of the show. For the first half, the handsome guy—who never wears his goggles after that first shot—destroys everything in sight, and they show him firing up a chain saw ominously, though, to my eye, he never actually used it. (Which is a shame.) The family is sequestered somewhere, where they talk about how miserable their lives are and how that house is all they have in the world. The second half, after the place is a mess of drywall and two-by-fours, a perky, well-chested woman who absolutely cannot stop smiling comes in with some kind of crew and changes their entire house around, bringing in new furniture and painting it and turning it into something that doesn’t even remotely resemble what it was before. The place looks nice, I suppose, and the family starts crying when they see what blandly handsome man and smiling breast lady have made for them.

The whole thing seems empty and brainless to me. So some people got a new house. Big deal. The way that house looked initially, they’re destined to make a disaster area of the new place within a couple of months anyway. I’m about to make this observation to Helena when she looks at me, lit up and nearly teary-eyed.

“Wasn’t that incredible?” she says. “That place is beautiful! God, I love that show.”

“Really?” I say. “I mean, I guess the house looks nice, but so what?”

“So what?” she says, her voice rising. “Don’t you get it? Their lives have totally changed—like that. They were stuck in that place, stuck in their lives, and then, before they even realized it, they had a brand-new start. They can do whatever they want now. Wouldn’t that be great?”

A single happy tear rolls down her cheek.

“I guess,” I say. “It’s just a house.” But in that moment, I see it. I see it all through Helena’s eyes.

I see the disappointment she’s had to live through and the shitty hand that life has dealt her. I see what her dreams were—and how those dreams never came to be. I see where her anger comes from—and her hope—and exactly how a show like this can move her the way it does.

I know. I look at her, and I know.

I want to change Helena’s life. And mine. There is no question. I want them to change together.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    There is a trend among young adult literature to stage the proceedings in big cities, well-known towns of glitter and glam such as Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And although there are books out there that feature the small towns of America, they usually feature made up burgs and use euphemisms to get small-town life across. This is not the case with CATCH, and for that I can be grateful. I can be even more grateful that the author set his story in Mattoon, Illinois, a place that actually exists, is where Mr. Leitch grew up, and that is located only about two hours from both where I myself grew up and where I now reside. <BR/><BR/>Mattoon is a city, not a town, and is larger than my own hometown and yet smaller than the place I now call home. But when I opened up my copy of CATCH and immersed myself in the life and times of Tim Temples, I was immediately brought back to my own adolescent years. The Hardees parking lot where the high-school kids gather could be the same Hardees lot that I knew intimately from weekend cruising. The Lender's Bagels plant could be the reincarnation of the Quaker Oats plant that once resided in a neighboring town during my youth. Jacob Kuhns, the small-bit actor who is the most famous person ever to come from Mattoon in CATCH, and Tim's dad, who played Minor League baseball for a St. Louis Cardinal's affiliate in his younger days, could be dead-ringers for the celebrities of my own small hometown. <BR/><BR/>Tim's brother, Doug, attends the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, a college I myself once considered attending. Jessica, the good-girl of Mattoon, could be any number of girls I went to school with. Could be, in fact, me. The "Buck Fush" bumper sticker can actually be seen, to this day, on the rusted out pick-up trucks I still see when I go back to my hometown for a visit. The yearly Bagelfest, with it's parade through downtown, mimics the ones I saw as a child. <BR/><BR/>In a word, CATCH brings to life small-town America in a way that no other book has ever done. Although it's the story of Tim Temples, of the summer between high-school graduation and probable college admittance, it's a lot more than that. It's the story of what it's like to grow up with everyone in town knowing your name; of the cops understanding that you're not a bad kid for having an open container of alcohol in your moving vehicle; of people expecting you to follow in the footsteps of a semi-famous father and brother that you know you'll never have the ability--or desire--to fill. <BR/><BR/>This isn't growing up in New York City, or L.A., or the gigantic metropolis that is Chicago. This is real life, real America, the ups and downs of growing up, of falling in love, and of wanting to be the kind of person you can be proud of. This is the story of a guy who wants to break out, not necessarily of small-town America, but of small-town thinking. This is Tim's story, and my story, and the story of hundreds of thousands of teenagers throughout Midwest America. <BR/><BR/>You can't go wrong reading CATCH, and Mr. Leitch can never go wrong by accepting who he is, where he came from, and who he's become--which is the author of one hell of a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 16, 2008

    catch

    this book was really good because this book had a life chaning expirece for him and his life. this book was so good i coulnt stop reading it it would of been better if they had a series then it would be better it kind of left a cliff hanger when Tim and jessica went to collage. but i mean ithink he was a besster epson at the end of the story i think Helena was really harsh when she broke up with him, and she played him he was really nice to her and better than all her last boyfriends she treated him really badly.....well over all this book rocked!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    Catch--a great read.

    'Catch' by Will Leitch is a down-to-earth story that truly relates to the life of a small-town teenager. It portrays a battle between loving the place you've grown up in to moving on to bigger things in life. Will Leitch gives raw detail to what being a teenager is really like--love, partying, confusion, growing up, making wrong decisions, and learning from them. This book had me hooked in the first couple of pages, and I would highly recommend it to any young adult, especially those who are about to go out into the real world on their own.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    There is a trend among young adult literature to stage the proceedings in big cities, well-known towns of glitter and glam such as Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And although there are books out there that feature the small towns of America, they usually feature made up burgs and use euphemisms to get small-town life across. This is not the case with CATCH, and for that I can be grateful. I can be even more grateful that the author set his story in Mattoon, Illinois, a place that actually exists, is where Mr. Leitch grew up, and that is located only about two hours from both where I myself grew up and where I now reside. Mattoon is a city, not a town, and is larger than my own hometown and yet smaller than the place I now call home. But when I opened up my copy of CATCH and immersed myself in the life and times of Tim Temples, I was immediately brought back to my own adolescent years. The Hardees parking lot where the high-school kids gather could be the same Hardees lot that I knew intimately from weekend cruising. The Lender's Bagels plant could be the reincarnation of the Quaker Oats plant that once resided in a neighboring town during my youth. Jacob Kuhns, the small-bit actor who is the most famous person ever to come from Mattoon in CATCH, and Tim's dad, who played Minor League baseball for a St. Louis Cardinal's affiliate in his younger days, could be dead-ringers for the celebrities of my own small hometown. Tim's brother, Doug, attends the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, a college I myself once considered attending. Jessica, the good-girl of Mattoon, could be any number of girls I went to school with. Could be, in fact, me. The 'Buck Fush' bumper sticker can actually be seen, to this day, on the rusted out pick-up trucks I still see when I go back to my hometown for a visit. The yearly Bagelfest, with it's parade through downtown, mimics the ones I saw as a child. In a word, CATCH brings to life small-town America in a way that no other book has ever done. Although it's the story of Tim Temples, of the summer between high-school graduation and probable college admittance, it's a lot more than that. It's the story of what it's like to grow up with everyone in town knowing your name of the cops understanding that you're not a bad kid for having an open container of alcohol in your moving vehicle of people expecting you to follow in the footsteps of a semi-famous father and brother that you know you'll never have the ability--or desire--to fill. This isn't growing up in New York City, or L.A., or the gigantic metropolis that is Chicago. This is real life, real America, the ups and downs of growing up, of falling in love, and of wanting to be the kind of person you can be proud of. This is the story of a guy who wants to break out, not necessarily of small-town America, but of small-town thinking. This is Tim's story, and my story, and the story of hundreds of thousands of teenagers throughout Midwest America. You can't go wrong reading CATCH, and Mr. Leitch can never go wrong by accepting who he is, where he came from, and who he's become--which is the author of one hell of a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2006

    Catch

    Tim Temples has just graduated from his high school. He is famous in his small town of Mattoon, Illinois, where he¿s the best baseball player the town has seen since his older brother, Doug, who left for college. Everything seems to come easily for him. He¿s good at sports, good with the ladies, has great friends everyone would love to hang out with and now, is about to head off to college. But now he has the summer ahead of him and he must decide whether he actually wants to leave and start anew, or stay, and work in the bagel factory. To begin, Tim has taken a job with his best friends, the Horsemen, at Krafts, the local bagel plant. But everything starts to change when he meets Helena. Helena is the unsocial, drunkard secretary at Krafts who seems to capture all of Tim¿s attention. Tim stops at nothing to get through to her. As their relationship grows, Tim discovers a lot about who he was, who he is, and who he will be. In the end, Tim needs to make the decision, should he move on, or linger in the past and present? Catch is a captivating novel about coming of age from an 18 year old boy¿s perspective. Tim deals a lot with balancing his love life and his future, something that everyone has to do eventually. Tim, and many of the other characters, are people that most people can relate to in some way, which makes this story even more fun to read. Catch is a great book for teenagers, though probably geared more towards 15-16 years old or above. It¿s also a pretty light read, so it¿s a good one for summer! Overall, it¿s a great book that definitely holds your interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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