Cover Image: The Thirteenth Cat

The Thirteenth Cat

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Member Reviews

Mary Downing Hahn has done it again. As always, I adore her writing style. It's so familiar and a pure joy to read. The story is fun, fast-paced, and sure to win kids over. The story reminds me of her previous work Time of the Witch, especially with the anthropomorphic cats!

Throughout my reading, the rating was a strong 4 stars. But then the ending happened. As a kid, I probably wouldn't have noticed all of the issues, but as an adult, I couldn't stop thinking about them. Spoilers follow:

The main characters, Zoey and Lila, are missing for countless days. When they return, both girls have no memory of what happened to them and are wearing shapeless dresses. Instead of informing the police, or taking them to the hospital, the girls are tucked into bed as though nothing serious could have possibly happened. Zoey's Mom even says, "It doesn't matter if you never remember. You're here, that's what's important." This is not a healthy approach at all. Magic aside, it's obvious Zoey and Lila went through something extremely traumatic. This is a similar issue I noticed in Wait Till Helen Comes and One for Sorrow. Serious trauma and mental health issues are brushed aside so easily. I also wanted more resolution for the other 13 girls who all remained as cats. What about their families and their stories?

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The story is a little slow in the beginning, but becomes a page-turner with chapter 8. I never expected the big twist, which was delightful. And many characters have moral shades of gray, leaving the reader wondering who can be trusted. The cat on the cover captures one character perfectly. I highly recommend this for my 5th graders who like stories with creepy vibes. This would probably seem even better if read in the fall.
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Mary Downing Hahn never disappoints me. And once again she's weaved a quite a witch's tale. I am 39 years old and have been reading Hahn since I picked up  Wait till Helen Comes in 4th grade. I can't put my finger on what makes Hahn's stories superior to others in the genre, but she always sets a spooky tone that's hard to match. And who doesn't love cats? Highly recommend. #netgalley #thethirteenthcat #marydowninghahn
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