Cathy's Book: If Found Call 650-266-8233 (Cathy Vickers Trilogy #1) by Cathy Brigg, Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart
Published: Running Press Kids (2006), Paperback, 176pg
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery
Things weren't so peachy in Cathy's life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she's failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor's reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor's co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy's arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?T
hrough Cathy's unique and irresistible voice-and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher-readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren't how they appear. (from Goodreads)
I picked up this book mainly because of the cover– it’s so pretty! And it also mentioned evidence. Y’all, I am a sucker for mysteries and books that encourage you to solve the mystery alongside the protagonist. Cathy’s Book is special because it’s interactive!1 You can call the numbers, visit the websites, write down clues and whatever and it is SO MUCH FUN.
On the other hand, the actual story is kind of…not. This is one of those situations where a book’s concept is better than its execution. I LOVE the interactive aspects, and how the narrative is in journal format and there’s lots of pretty illustrations. Cathy and her best friend, Emma, are great characters! They’re feisty and messed-up and snarky. They sounded like actual teenagers trying to solve a crazy-ass mystery. Yay for best friends solving mysteries together, too!
But that there crazy-ass mystery? Not so good. I don’t want to give too much away because it’ll spoil the “twist” for those who want to read Cathy’s Book, however: Cathy is not a good detective and is definitely not genre-savvy, and reading about her trying to figure things out was extremely frustrating. I KNEW at least half of the important “twist” things before she did,2 and waiting for her to get to the same place I was in was SO. ANNOYING.
Interactive mysteries makes for a good time, but less so when you’re dealing with a subpar detective. Still, now that she’s got this one under her belt, maybe the sequel will be better re:the actual mystery and the solving thereof?
Read: January 3-9, 2014
If you don’t want to call the numbers on your actual phone, there’s a website you can use instead! Also, all the books are iOS apps! Which is VERY cool; I love it when publishers try out new ways of publishing books.