UNDER THE CAT'S EYE by Gillian Rubinstein


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Age Range: 8 - 12
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Rubinstein (Foxspell, 1996, etc.) combines shape-shifting aliens with quantum physics in a muddled offering for middle graders. When Jai Kala’s parents face deportation, they enroll their 12-year-old son at Nexhoath Boarding School so that he can retain his citizenship and continue his education. Heartbroken from the separation, Jai nevertheless becomes friends with Seal and Hugo, two misfits and schoolmates who explain that Nexhoath was once a happy school, before the installment of Mr. Drake as headmaster. Now everyone acts like a zombie. Mr. Drake, of course, is really an evil presence from an alternative-Earth, pursued by Kitty and Roughly, another pair of aliens with shape-shifting abilities who followed Drake in search of a child from their own world. They believe that Jai is the child they seek, but Seal is the one who must embrace her true identity and destiny. Jai, Seal, and Hugo break Drake’s hold over the campus, while returning everyone to their appropriate places (and Jai to his parents). As sympathetically as Jai is drawn, he’s not a strong enough character to maintain interest. Rubinstein pushes all the pieces together for a convenient and happy ending, but with some confusion, and without any of her usual wit, excitement, or adventure. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-81800-9
Page count: 204pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1998


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