I was fishing through my eGalleys and decided to give Catch and Release a chance. From my memory, I vaguely remembered its summary having to do with a deadly virus and two survivors. So yeah, I was totally expecting a post-apocalyptic read. Well… Catch and Release isn’t exactly that. It’s story about Polly, a victim of the MRSA infection, which ate up some of her cheek and her whole eye. After many surgeries and hospital visits, Polly is still disfigured. Around seven people in her town caught MRSA, but only she and a schoolmate, Odd, survived it. Odd lost his leg to the infection. Both bond over being the survivors, being disfigured, and fishing. One day, they decide to go on a fishing road trip, and on the way, they try to come to terms with their newly changed lives.
The story is very character-driven. Both Polly and Odd are interesting characters. Polly is depressed, and she has a hard time accepting how she looks and why she even survived the infection. She decides to join Odd on his unexpected road trip to get herself out of the house and away from her constantly worrying mother. Odd is… odd. He comes from a different background than Polly. While Polly is sullen, Odd has a more positive demeanor. As they drive from town to town, Odd reveals random facts about each place. He does and says weird things. But even Odd has his own problems to deal with.
While I found Polly and Odd to be fascinating characters, it wasn’t enough to make up for the plot. The narrative wasn’t very strong. Okay, we have these two characters and see and understand how they are, so now what? The ending left some to be desired. At first, I couldn’t say I was fully satisfied with it. It’s not that I was expecting some big revelation like “I LOVE MYSELF NOW” or anything like that because the situation is a lot more complicated. However, now that I’ve had time to ponder it, I actually like the ending a lot more. I wish I could more accurately explain why I liked the ending, but I would give it all away.
The book is written very well. It has a great narrative voice. It’s realistic. That’s what I appreciated the most about the book. These characters seemed very real and the way they responded to things felt authentic. Again, the book doesn’t force a romance or redemption arc at you, because in reality that really doesn’t happen. Odd and Polly have their moments and those moments are sweet in their own little way, but nothing is overtly romantic.
If you’re looking for a story with a strong narrative force, I don’t think Catch and Release is for you. But if you want to sit back and read about two fascinating and genuine characters deal with life and its misfortunes, then Catch and Release is definitely one to read.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Catch and Release will hit bookstores February 1st. You can pre-order it here.
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab (February 1, 2012)
Length: 216 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Outbreak, Road trip, Fishing
Completed: January 2012