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Genuine kid humor and a good-hearted, all-too-human heroine distinguish this middle-grade novel about an unlikely juvenile delinquent. Seventh grader Kat Randall is not your typical criminal. Her good reputation begins to unravel, however, after her dog Cheddar gets hit by a car and her integrity is trumped by impulsiveness. Wild to find out how her injured dog is faring, she cuts classes to visit the vet—on a borrowed bicycle, no less. When someone steals the borrowed bike before she can return it, Kat's moment of haste manifests itself as a police record. This is serious, (very serious, Mom adds), but Kat manages to mitigate the circumstances with a good sense of humor—something she will need while baby-sitting for the rest of her life to pay for the stolen bike. On the road to restitution, Kat learns a few lessons about compassion—for the woman with Alzheimer's who was driving the car that hit Cheddar, and even for an actual bike thief who is roaming her town. A well-rounded offering.
School Library Journal
On her first day in seventh grade, Kat Randall learns that her impetuosity can lead to serious consequences. After her beloved retriever is hit by a car driven by an elderly woman with Alzheimer's, Kat cannot wait any longer to hear about her dog's condition; she "borrows" a bike from school grounds and heads to the vet. Cheddar will ultimately pull through but Kat's troubles have just begun, because the bike gets stolen and she must earn the money to replace it. More bikes are taken from school and the police view Kat as a suspect. She becomes increasingly involved with Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence (the woman who hit Cheddar), staying with her so that her husband can occasionally get out. Kat's generous, impulsive nature is still in evidence, but she slowly learns responsibility, realizing that everyone deals with issues of one sort or another. Ultimately, the thieves are caught, Kat is exonerated, and she regains her sense of being a person who can be relied upon to do the right thing. Kat is a funny, warmhearted character whose voice immediately grabs readers. Snappy dialogue, sympathetic adults as well as unpleasant ones, and descriptions of the ways in which an action can have major repercussions all add to this touching, perceptive, highly readable novel that is sure to strike a chord with readers.