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YA Review: Cat Life: A Warrior's Journey to Her Humanity by Eric J. White

Title: Cat Life: A Warrior's Journey to Her Humanity

Author: Eric J. White

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 242
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)USA (CA, MO, TX, MD)

FTC Disclosure: The author gave me a copy of this book for an honest review.

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Cat Life grew up fighting in an army of children to save the future. She knew they trained and lived in extreme isolation for their own protection from the criminals they fought. She was certain her “colony” accepted orders from the future via radio transmissions. At least that's what she always believed. Until now.

Once separated from her comrades and after watching her boyfriend slowly bleed out from a gunshot wound, Cat discovers she's been lied to her whole life. She sees her friends have been working as assassins for a deeply corrupt and sinister organization and she recognizes that the only people she's ever cared about are slated to die when their tour of duty ends. To save her friends and put an end to the syndicate that turned them into child soldiers, Cat Life first has to find them. But to do that, she'll have to avoid the police whom she believes are every bit as bloodthirsty and brutal as any criminal she's ever encountered. Cat Life is armed, well-trained, tough beyond belief and fierce, but she's also fifteen and uninformed about life in the outside world. Through her journey she learns that humanity is her true power.
Review: How I got this book to review is a good story. I follow this guy, Eric J. White, on Twitter and had noticed that he lived in Santa Barbara like I do. He posted a link to one of my reviews and said he bought the book for his daughter (it's a great book, but I won't say which one in case she reads this) and asked if I would review a book he'd just written. Of course! It took me way too long to put the pieces together to realize that this author Eric White is the Eric White that I used to work with at a local high school. Duh! I am so pleased to see more of Eric's talents coming out in this book.

I like Cat (Kate, Katie, Kitty, Cathy, Catherine) Life. She is wounded psychologically, tough as nails, a trained assassin, but also aware that she needs to live a different life. Cat deals with some horrible adult men in Colony J, but I am pleased to say that we don't ever have to read details of the abuse they bestow upon the children or the assassinations that they carry out. In addition, there's no alcohol or drugs, so while this is a book about nasty stuff, it's clean!

What I liked best about this novel is that the plot is different from other books in the genre. Yes, we've had books with strong female leads, children who have to live in scary adult worlds, but this one has a storyline that feels new and fresh. Chapters alternate between Cat's story and those of the FBI agents who are hunting her down, each chapter moving the story along well.

Challenges for which this counts: none.

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