A small tabby cat with some special skills helps a reluctant young woman navigate challenging times in Ford’s YA novel.
Nineteen-year-old Wendy, who works as a web designer, has been recently losing her hearing. Doctors tell her that, eventually, the loss will be total, so she’s taking a class in sign language and practices lip reading to prepare for the future. The last thing she needs is to complicate her life by adopting a cat, but her parents insist that she take her recently deceased grandmother’s pet, which shares Wendy’s name.The humanWendy isn’t fond of felines; her parents raise and show champion purebred cats, which she feels has been their top priority throughout her life. That’s why they refuse to bring a “mongrel” cat into their home, where she might somehow compromise the award-winning Martha and Kiki. Wendy brings her to the local animal shelter, but they’re full up. Simon, a kindhearted shelter volunteer, suggests that she take care of the gentle little tabby until they have an opening. Soon, however, the new pet escapes from Wendy’s house and runs to the home of new neighbor Mrs. Matinka Budnick, where she evidently plans to stay; later, though, Wendy discovers the cat’s unique talents. The protagonist begins her narrative journey with a lot of emotional baggage, but Ford gives readers the opportunity to follow her as she embarks on some adventure and perhaps a bit of romance. She must start by learning compassion and building self-confidence, as spelled out in a note her grandmother wrote during her final days: “What will ruin your life is your attitude. You lose some things—but in life you will also discover some new things, wonderful things.” The plucky little tabby is the most endearing character in the book, and the charming and determined animal becomes Wendy’s fierce protector and loving guide. Overall, Ford’s uncomplicated prose and affirmative, directive messaging will be most appropriate for readers who are at the younger end of the YA range.
A tender, engaging narrative intended to inspire positivity in the face of adversity.