Author: Tracy Richardson
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Number of Pages: 248
Summary: From Goodreads: “Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained—an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.
This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds— something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history.
It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.”
Review: Thank you Dave at The Write Reads for asking me to be part of this blog tour! I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Catalyst takes place at an archeological dig site of an ancient indigenous civilization. The main character, Marcie, is working there this summer with Eric (her brother), Renee (Eric’s girlfriend), and her mother, the lead archeologist for the dig. As soon as Marcie makes eye contact with Lorraine and Zeke, two graduate students working at the dig site, she gets a feeling that there’s something different about them. Soon, Marcie, Eric, Renee, and Leo (another teen working at the dig site) learn that Lorraine and Zeke have powers that allow them to tap into the Universal Energy Field, and they’re tasked with helping to save the earth and being catalysts for change.
Catalyst is probably the most bizarre book I’ve ever read. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it, that being said, I did have some issues with it. I will say that it was a wild ride from start to finish, and once I got into it, I had a hard time putting it down because I wanted to know where the strange journey was going to go next.
This book has a couple of storylines going on at the same time; some of these storylines are “normal,” and others are “paranormal.” The first “normal” storyline that I want to talk about is the fracking storyline. Fracking is when water and other chemicals are pumped into the subterranean rock to help extract the oil or gases, it’s terrible for the environment, and I’m vehemently against it. In Catalyst, a major energy company is looking to increase its fracking activity in Indiana, and this leads to a lot of discussion about fracking, with most main characters being against it, but one main character being for it. I liked that this book brought attention to fracking because people need to be aware of what it is and how it negatively affects the environment. However, some of the conversations on the topic reminded me of a PSA announcement or a poorly scripted school play about why fracking is bad.
The fracking storyline leads into the overarching storyline that humans are destroying the environment and that if changes aren’t made soon, the damage will be irreparable. This is another thing that I completely agree with, and I like seeing stories about the fact that humans are destroying the planet. What threw me off about this overarching storyline was all of the paranormal things that were going on. The visions, telepathic communication, teleportation, and mind powers started to get weird really quickly, and a lot of the paranormal moments left me completely baffled. There was one paranormal moment that involved a spaceship that left me so baffled that I immediately had to text my best friend to tell her what I just read because it was a lot to take in.
As far as the characters go, I feel indifferent towards them. I thought most of them were quite bland and that they didn’t have much personality. Most of the personality they did have was rooted in their position on environmental issues and the paranormal things that were happening around them. I liked the relationship between Marcie and Eric, and I thought it was a normal sibling relationship. I didn’t really understand the romantic relationship between Marcie and Leo, especially because they were so far apart on major issues. Lorraine and Zeke gave me A Wrinkle in Time vibes, which makes sense because the author’s bio states that it was her favourite book growing up.
One thing that bothered me about this book was the indigenous cultural appropriation. There are a lot of references to indigenous people, especially because the archeology dig was studying an ancient indigenous civilization. I don’t know very much about indigenous culture, but at times some of the references made me feel cringy and uncomfortable. I also don’t think that the depiction of the archeological dig site was accurate, but my knowledge of archeology comes from watching Bones, so what do I know?
Overall, this book really wasn’t my cup of tea. I liked that it talked about environmental issues, especially fracking, but the paranormal aspects threw me off. A lot of weird and bizarre things happen in this book, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around them. However, I did find this book to be entertaining, and once I got into it, I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Rating: 3 Stars!
About the Author: TRACY RICHARDSON wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favourite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way that book has even shaped her life through odd synchronicities. She has a
degree in biology like Mrs. Murry, and, without realizing it, she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents.
Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues, metaphysics, and science fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her doing any number of creative activities — painting furniture, knitting sweaters, or cooking something. She lives in Indianapolis, and, in case you’re wondering, yes, she’s been to the Indianapolis 500.