|Cathy's Key by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Cathy Brigg|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A light, innocuous, frothy piece of teenage fiction with a sparky and witty heroine who gets into all sorts of slapstick scrapes with her immortal (yes, immortal) boyfriend. Attempts to make it a multi-media work seem, sadly, to make it more of a multi-mercenary work.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 144||Date: July 2008|
|External links: Author's website|
We last saw Cathy six months ago. She'd just found out that her boyfriend was immortal, been kidnapped, rescued, and parted from the ageless Victor who protected her by submitting to the live subject laboratory research of Ancestor Lu, who wants to bring immortality to the world.
You'd think it would be difficult for Cathy to get herself into worse trouble, wouldn't you? But not so. In the sequel to Cathy's Book, our intrepid heroine continues her unlikely but zany adventures. She travels to meet a clairvoyant and receives a grimmer than grim prophecy. She discovers her long-dead father might not be so long-dead after all. She breaks and enters. She risks her life. She gets mixed up with a street girl named Jewel. Her best friend Emma continues in her entrepreneurial struggles, but accepts an investment from the big bad immortal villain Tsao (who, coincidentally, is Victor's father and madly, but murderously, in love with Cathy). And so it goes on.
Through it all, Cathy remains her attractive, funny, impulsive self. She's a typical teenager - utterly self-obsessed and completely thoughtless, but you can't help but like her. She's honest even though she lies through her teeth at every possible opportunity. She's brave too. And she's always sorry when she's made a mess of everything - which, in this short little book - is at least once a page. Her adventures, though, aren't so much zany as ludicrous and readers will need to suspend belief before they open the cover. They'll also need to pick up all the nick nacks they dropped.
The first book got into some hot water for product placement. Cover Girl cosmetics were mentioned by name in return for some free advertising. Thankfully, there's none of that in the sequel, but I'm afraid it still feels more like a commodity than a book. It comes with a pouch containing "evidence" and there is a hugely trailed website too. I know I'm old and I know I'm way past the target market for Cathy's Key, but not only is it shamelessly mercenary, it's all rather pointless. Why do you need evidence when the mystery is solved in the book itself? You don't. I'm all for experimenting with new media and for linking it to fiction, but there really does need to be some point to it. Here, it's really no more than brand awareness.
Strip the fripperies away and you're left with a pleasant, but very, very light, adventure story for tween and teen girls with an attractive and sympathetic heroine, some madcap adventures with daft story lines and a great vein of slapstick humour. It won't rock anyone's world, but what's wrong with that? I'm still waiting on a decent use of multimedia in fiction for children though.
You can check out the associated website here.
My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Cathy's Key by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Cathy Brigg at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Cathy's Key by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Cathy Brigg at Amazon.com.
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The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose by Diana Janney is a hugely enjoyable book about a precocious but naive teenager and highly recommended for the same target group as Cathy's Key.