The Five Lives of Our Cat ZookSpring 2012 Fiction
Oona is very worried about her cat, Zook. He's sick and has to stay at the vet's office for a few days, but what's worse is that Oona is pretty sure she's made the vet angry. She can't let her younger brother Fred know how worried she is, though. Ever since their father died, it's her job to protect Fred and keep him happy. Oona reassures Fred that Zook has only used five of his nine cat lives. To convince him, she tells him the stories of Zook's other four lives. Storytelling, or whopper telling, is one thing Oona's father taught her to do really well. Unfortunately, whoppers can't solve everything. They couldn't stop Oona's father from dying, and they might not be able to help Zook. They might be able to stop her mother from falling in love with Dylan (aka the Villain), whom Oona suspects is a secret cat torturer. But in the end, Oona must decide which kinds of whoppers can really help her family, and which ones she needs to give up.
I have a personal weakness for stories about storytelling, and this novel did not disappoint. Oona is the perfect narrator with whom to spend a few hours. She is imaginative, loving, full of sound storytelling advice, and, despite her whopper-telling, honest. The embedded stories about Zook are engaging, but the real heart of this novel is Oona's own story of her struggle to come to terms with death, loss, and change.