- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4379 KB
- Print Length: 296 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250165083
- Publisher: Tor Teen (19 November 2019)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07GVCGGR2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 28 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #371,481 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Catfishing on CatNet: A Novel (A CatNet Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 296 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $5.49 after you buy the Kindle book.
|Language: English||Age Level: 13 - 17|
|Grade Level: 7 - 9|
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"The characters offer positive, realistic LGBTQIA+ representation--especially nonbinary identities and characters still exploring their identities. Refreshingly, the characters also feel like generally-woke-but-still-imperfect humans. Wickedly funny and thrilling in turns; perfect for readers coming-of-age online." --Kirkus, starred review"Kritzer's take on a benevolent AI is both whimsical and poignant. An entertaining, heart-filled exploration of today's online existence and privacy concerns." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "Smart, sly, scary, and irrepressibly good fun, this novel has everything I've ever wanted from a story: it is a cerebral, funny, tender, big-idea delight. I can't wait for you to read it."--Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon An absolutely charming and incredibly gripping, superbly plotted YA thriller.--Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother "Kritzer's flawless collection taps deep wells of emotion and wonder.... Her work is indisputably speculative, but it's a perfect entry point to the genre for readers who prefer fantastical and futuristic elements to stay more in the background, with human (and robotic) feelings always at the fore. This splendid treat is not to be missed."--Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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Top international reviews
I think this story grew out of Kritzer's 2015 short story Cat Pictures Please (available to read for free on Clarkesworld) about a sentient and friendly AI that helps people in return for them posting cat pictures on the internet. The short story was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and won the Hugo.
The novel expands on that idea and here the AI has set up an internet forum site called CatNet where it sorts people into groups based on who it thinks will get along (it's nearly always right) and then acts as site moderator although everyone using the site thinks the moderators are real people just like them.
The main character, Steph, has moved around all her life so that her father doesn't discover where she and her mother are living. She never stays long in any school and her friendship group on CatNet are one of the few constants in her life. When Steph's father tracks her and her mother down it's up to her friends on CatNet and the AI to try to stop him.
This was a really sweet and feelgood read - quite fastpaced and very readable. The found family element gave me the same vibes as Jo Walton's Among Others (another book about a geeky, awkward teenager finding friendship). If you enjoyed the short story then I think you'll enjoy the book. I loved both and I think there's a sequel coming (although I would say Catfishing is a complete story).
Set slightly into the future we have a world where robots are seen more and more - in schools, cleaning your house, making sandwiches and cakes upon request. They're also AI - real AI - who have the ability to sound and seem human. So much so, they can become a valuable friend.
We have Steph, who has moved around every few months for the majority of her life. Her mother is paranoid, but doesn't tell Steph much, only that her father burned down their home and they only narrowly escaped. That he's dangerous, and because of this Steph doesn't have an internet-enabled phone, goes by several different names, and is only allowed a laptop because her mother is a specialist in internet security, and as such can properly protect their access, as long as Steph reveals literally nothing about herself online, which includes hiding from having her photo taken and having a very old style phone.
In a new place in a new school, Steph finds she's going to have to study The Scarlet Letter for a third time, that the language class selection is woeful, the art class seems to be full of druggie kids, and the sex ed class is delivered by a robot who teaches abstinence only and 'ask your parents' for anything outside of these parameters.
Well, there's one kid in the art class who doesn't seem like a druggie. Rachel. And she's super amazing at art, and in most of Steph's classes, and soon she hopes she won't have to move in the next month because Rachel seems like someone she doesn't want to leave behind.
We also have an AI. This AI probably had an owner, once, but seems to have been left to their own devices. They really like cat photos, and they run a web chat group that specialises in sorting you into smaller groups, matched with people it thinks you'll get along with.
Steph is in one of these groups, and the people there are her closest friends. They, after all, get to stick with her every move she makes, criss-crossing around the country. And its these friends who instantly pitch in as soon as it looks like Steph's mother may not simply be paranoid for no good reason.
I was approved to review this book quite some time ago... and I kept putting off reading it. I really loved the short story, and though I had no reason to think this wouldn't be any good I was still worried; more like a 'things keep sucking so if I read this and I'm having a bad day, and this sucks, too, I'll be distraught'. But now the book is out there, and I always like to get my reviews out right before the book comes out, so it was finally time to read it. I was late, I couldn't keep putting it off...
Reader, I devoured it in such a short amount of time. As it's a thriller it's hard to put down, and it's also so much more than that. I love that the internet friends are actual friends; they matter, just like anyone else. There are gay characters, non-binary characters, and it touches on racism. It's sassy, and it knows that cats are one of the best things about the internet.
It's also interesting in how much the internet can know about you - I mean, we have smart fridges these days. We give so much of ourselves away online without much thought; and we like to believe it when we're told that our tech, with all its cameras and mics and such will only listen to us when we ask it to; rather than thinking it's on, all the time.
Although Steph is a lovely character who has her doubts and hopes about everything - her mother, her father, her new school, her old friends and new... I really love the AI. It thinks about everything so reasonably and yet is still somewhat robotic in being unable to predict some things... like, if you know someone is unhappy because you can read their emails and see everything about their life, they'll probably still get freaked out if you pilot a drone to dump a whole stack of books and drop them on your car just as you're about to get into it. Silly humans won't necessarily look at the delivery and go 'wow, what a great idea, I should read all these and figure out what changes I need to make to be happier!', no, instead they'll think someone is out to get them.
I love the AI, and I wish I could have them as a friend, too.
Please let there be more in this world coming forth. I really can't leave any of these characters behind.
A young girl, Steph, and her mom are on the run from an abusive father, and have been for years. It takes very little for mom to say load ‘em up, let’s go. Any suspicion that their looming nemesis is getting closer or just any personal problems and its on the road looking for another little town to hide out in. What we end up with here is a young woman who knows a lot about being on the outside but little about having friends or fitting in. Then something strange happens in their newest roost at small high school in Wisconsin, she actually makes friends with another girl who is as offbeat as Steph is herself. Running concurrent to what seems like a modest plot so far is, what was for me, the book’s saving grace-Steph’s passion is a online web site/chat room emphasizing cats but in actuality its just designed in a idiosyncratic way to attract offbeat, intelligent, and alienated kids who are then funneled into the appropriate chat group for them to blossom. Funneled by whom you might ask. Overseeing the site and participating secretly as one of the members is a memorable A(rtificial) I(ntelligence) that stole the show for me. Caring, moral, devious, and very protective of its chat room members distinguishes one of the more likable AI’s I have run into in my reading. Add in its great sense of humor and all of a sudden the $9.99 I paid for this book seems well invested. The author's world building skills, strong characterization and solid pacing make me look forward to seeing more from her.
$9.99 Kindle book price divided by Amazon typical read time of 5 hours, 39 minutes=$1.77/average hourly reading cost
The story is partly an emotional relationship story, part thriller. It kept me up all night. I loved it. But then, I loved Cat Pictures Please, the precursor to this book. (Neither book is really about cats. Or catfishing.)
It was a great storyline with some really great characters. Some good twists, with some seriously good dramatic timing. The narrative flowed very well and it was one of the most engaging reads I've had in long time.
It’s a “young adult” novel about a teen with a BIG problem, a community of Internet friends, and a new “real life” friend in a small town.
Besides being engagingly written, when it delves it the actual details of Internet culture, of surveillance and tracking, and of hacking, it gets it pretty exactly right. Yes, there’s some unexplained “computer magic happens here”, but it’s limited to two premises; they combine near the end in a way that may seem improbable, but to the tech literate is exactly right.
The characters do go on a bit about gender identity and there’s some pointed commentary about poor sex education in small towns, so this novel won’t be for everyone, but if that kind of talk doesn’t trigger the reader, they’ll probably find this a great read.