To Be A Cat: 05/04/16
To Be A Cat by Matt Haig is a be careful what you wish for story. Barney Willow has been bullied at school since his parents separated and his father went missing. His mother believes he has skipped town to avoid alimony payments, but Barney believes something worse might have happened.
But it's the trouble at school, a principal who seems singularly focused on torturing Barney that truly has him down. I often imagine other fictional characters cast in the roles of the book I'm reading. For the principal I imagined Miss Simeon, who while a teacher in The Amazing World of Gumball would make as evil a principal as Miss Wimpire is described.
What Barney needed more than anything was someone like Yato from Noragami to help him with his problem. He didn't, though. In that moment of desperation he is tricked to make a wish he might not be able to undo. Like the main character in I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin, Barney comes to realize that cats are more dangerous and devious than they appear to be.
There is true danger here for Barney, something that many tween books avoid, opting instead for adventures and perhaps a few near misses. Miss Wimpire isn't just a bad principal, she is being driven mad by a desire for revenge. Her reasons extremely personal. Her plans are cold and calculated. She is one of the most terrifying antagonists I've read in any age level of book in a long time.