Kevin C. Pyle, Author . Henry Holt $12.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8285-2

This great coming-of-age tale promotes nonconformity as well as responsibility (and young love, too, but to a lesser extent). It's the summer break, and lacking friends or funds, teenager Kit is hanging around the house too much. Wandering aimlessly through his low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, Kit takes pity on the stray cats he sees. He feels as abandoned as they are, and is soon feeding them, first from his mother's pantry and then by stealing. But by caring for the kitties, the boy begins a journey of growth and maturity, meeting people like the “crazy” cat lady (who was once involved in radical politics); the shopkeeper who catches Kit stealing and teaches him about Jainism; and most importantly, Jess, a cute punk rock girl with artistic ambitions. She's impressed that even though Kit is not sure why he's doing it, unlike her so-called friends he's doing something selfless and refuses to waver from his beliefs under peer pressure. Jess further encourages Kit by creating Katman, a manga-like superhero alter ego. Pyle's loose, vibrant art brings an immediacy to this story that often reads as if we're peeking into Jess's notebooks. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/14/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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