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Cat Girl's Day Off Hardcover – April 1, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
“I was a freak from a family of freaks.” High school sophomore Natalie “Nat” Ng has a “Talent” she’s not proud of: the ability to talk to cats. Her younger sister is a “supergenius” with chameleonlike abilities; her older sister is proficient in truth divination and levitation, and has X-ray vision; and her parents work for the Bureau of Extrasensory Regulation and Management. When a film crew comes to Nat’s Chicago high school to shoot a takeoff of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off things get fishy: the female star isn’t acting like herself, and Nat learns from a cat that celebrity blogger Easton West may not be who she claims to be. Along with her friends Oscar and Melly, Nat gets dragged into a whirlwind adventure to find out what happened to the real Easton. Pauley (Still Sucks to Be Me) offers amusing insights into the minds of cats, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot. Readers should easily relate to Nat, and cat-lovers in particular will find a lot to enjoy in this romp. Ages 12–up.
From School Library Journal
“Pauley’s homage to Chicago and her favorite teen movie is entertaining, hilarious, and exceptionally creative. Populated with wonderfully eccentric and endearing characters, this lighthearted comedy will be an instant hit, especially among teen and tween girls. One thing is for certain–readers will never again look at their feline friends in the same way.”
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Top customer reviews
Being able to communicate with cats would make my life so much easier. Who wouldn't want to know when their cats are actually hungry, when the litter box is too dirty to use, or when someone is not giving kitty enough attention. In Kimberly Pauley's new book, Cat Girl's Day Off, she explores the life of Natalie Ng, whose `Talent' is being able to talk to cats.
Set in present day Chicago, Cat Girl's Day Off starts off with Natalie and her cat Meep discussing the Class A Talents of Nat's family. Dad has super smell, Mom has laser vision and ability to retain extraneous information; twelve-year-old sister Emmy has the highest IQ in the Western Hemisphere, and older sister Viv has truth divination, levitation and X-ray vision. Viv and her dad work at the Bureau of Extrasensory Regulation and Management (BERM). All Nat can do is talk to cats, a "Class D - as in totally dumb - talent," as she puts it. However, Nat's talent sure comes in handy when a well known blogger, Easton West, goes missing...and the only one who can help Nat find her is Easton's cat, Tiddlywinks.
Being a huge reader, and a fan of Kimberly Pauley's Sucks to be Me series, I ordered Cat Girl's Day Off when Amazon emailed me a recommendation for it. After finishing the book and absolutely loving it, I got to interview Kimberly Pauley and pick her brain about Cat Girl's Day Off!
Cat Girl's Day Off has a plot line based on Ferris Bueller's Day Off, what inspired the Ferris Bueller take?
"Um...my random brain? Seriously, the original nugget of an idea didn't have anything to do with Ferris Bueller or movies or anything. It went through several iterations until I finally chanced upon the idea of working in Ferris (which is one of the most awesome movies of all time). Then it really took off," said Pauley.
"I was living in the Chicago suburbs (like Ferris) at the time and knew I wanted to set the book there and then once I figured out how Nat (the main character) was going to get pulled into this crazy madcap adventure, the movie led me to the locations where the action was going to take place. Most of it wound up at Wrigley Field, but I'd thought about incorporating some of the other movie locations as well originally." She said.
I love the idea of "Talents." Did you always wish you could understand what cats think?
"The talent was actually the first thing I had. The original idea was to think up some "useless" super powers and then go from there. I was thinking about a whole series of books, each told from a different person's point of view and all of them having a really "stupid" power. I would actually love to be able to talk to cats. I think they'd have lots of things to say about...well, about everything," Pauley said.
In Cat Girl's Day Off because Nat can talk to cats, the readers learn that the cats have an actual name, and the name given to them by their people. Readers learn that Easton's cat, Tiddlywinks, is really named Rufus Brutus the Third.
How did you come up with the idea of cats being called a name by their person, but having a different name - such as Tiddlywinks being Rufus Brutus the Third?
"I can't say I came up with that originally. It was T.S. Eliot that said that cats had three names: one everyday name, one particular/peculiar name and lastly:
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
That's from the poem The Naming of Cats from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. You know the Broadway play Cats? It's based on that collection of poetry. Definitely worth a read for cat lovers," said Pauley.
The main cats in the book, Meep, Rufus and Purr Daddy always have great, witty banter between them. Did you find it hard to write in the voice of the cats? Is there anything you did to prepare to write in their voices?
"Perhaps sadly (just ask my husband), I had no trouble been cat-snarky. I'm probably part cat myself," she said. No worries Kimberly, we all like to think we know what our cats would say if they could talk!
It seems that all authors put a part of themselves in their books, in which character do you most identify yourself?
Well, like Nat, I am also half-Chinese. And short. And a bit quirky. So probably her. Though I do SO love Oscar. He's based on a few friends of mine that I knew in high school and college. Some people will probably think he's a bit over the top, but he's actually pretty tame compared to some of the friends I had...
Is there a question that you've wanted to be asked in interviews, but have never been asked before?
Yes. "Would you like to have dinner with Johnny Depp?" I'm sure you can guess what the answer to that question would be.
Only kind of kidding...always seemed like he would be an interesting guy to talk with (at least based on his choice of movie roles and you gotta love a guy who's not afraid of eyeliner and wears so many hats so well). Though I did have dinner once with Harry Harrison (one of the grand masters of science fiction) at a convention and I'd love to do that again. He's awesome.
Like any good writer, Kimberly forces Nat to face her biggest fear: everyone--especially her high school peers--learning about her ability. When a spoiled pink cat belonging to famous Hollywood blogger Easton West insists that the person who looks like "his person" is really an imposter, Nat's star struck friends (and the only two people besides her family who know about her ability) insist she help them find the missing blogger. Chaos ensues as a film crew, complete with screaming divas and hunky actors, that Easton West had come to town planning to cover, descends upon their high school to film some scenes.
While there's plenty of mystery, humor, and nail-biting scenes, my favorite part of Cat Girl's Day Off are the scenes with the cats. It's easy to picture this as the next Pixar or Disney animated movie with scenes such as the one where a whole kitty litter load of cats descend upon Wrigley Field to help Nat and her friends try to capture the villain.
Cat Girl's Day Off is clever and fast paced. The characters, from Nat's super-talented, dysfunctional family, to the clever, neurotic, and heroic cats made it a Super Fun, summertime read!
First line: [Easton West's Blog] "Wednesday, September 2, 6:02 A.M.: La, la! You read that right, little poppets! Six frickin' o'clock in the morning!"
Most recent customer reviews
Reading Cat Girl's Day Off was like taking a super fun mini vacation in a book.Read more