Author: Lynne Jonell
Synopsis: Talking cats, a missing princess, swordfights with villains, and secret identities combine in this epic tale of bravery and self-discovery on the high seas. Duncan is very smart. He also has a most unusual gift. So why does his mother encourage him to be perfectly average and insist he only get mediocre grades ? His special talent is the ability to talk to cats—but Duncan longs more than anything for academic success. When Duncan rebels and gets a perfect test score, people start taking notice of him. And it turns out that some of those people may not have the best intentions . . . not by a long shot.
Huge thank you to Raincoast Books/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers for this ARC!
What an imaginative book! I’ll admit, this is the first Lynne Jonell book I’ve read, though her name was not unfamiliar to me since she’s a household name in middle grade. The Sign of the Cat has the eader following a young boy named Duncan, who just happens to be able to communicate with cats.
I loved Duncan as a protagonist. He’s someone who has a lot of personal struggles, he’s not the most liked kid, isn’t the best at making friends, and his family tends to put him down because of how smart he is. To the point where they want him to get low grades so he won’t “cause a scene” (seriously, who says that to their kid?). A lot of the book is focused on both the grand journey that Duncan takes, but it’s also about his personal progress in becoming a person he can be satisfied with. He has a lot of personal growth, and becomes such a strong character by the end of the story, both in body and mind.
My actual favourite character was Fia. She was just so sassy and fun, and her stubbornness was somewhat entertaining as well. A lot of the characters in this story are highly entertaining and a lot of fun. They keep the story moving, and it’s fun to be whisked away into a world with talking cats. Seriously, TALKING CATS. How awesome is that? Let’s be honest, most of think our pets are talking to us as is.
The Sign of the Cat is such an engrossing adventure story, offering readers a little of romance, mystery, and thrills from start to finish. I can easily see this book being a hit with younger readers, especially those who dig a fun, epic journey, or to those who love the idea of talking kitty cats. I definitely can see this book being quite the hit with middle graders who want to read a grand adventure.