Bound To Stay Bound

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 Cat at the wall
 Author: Ellis, Deborah

 Publisher:  Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
 Pub Year: 2014

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 152 p.,  20 cm.

 BTSB No: 307176 ISBN: 9781554984916
 Ages: 9-12 Grades: 4-7

 Cats -- Fiction
 Reincarnation -- Fiction
 Arab-Israeli conflict -- Fiction

Price: $6.50

American girl Clare dies and comes back to life as a cat living on Israel's West Bank where she sneaks into a small Palestinian house that has just been commandeered by two Israeli soldiers. The house seems empty, until she realizes that a little boy is hiding beneath the floorboards. Should she help him?

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.80
   Points: 4.0   Quiz: 168927
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 6-8
   Reading Level: 4.20
   Points: 9.0   Quiz: 64423

   Kirkus Reviews (08/15/14)
   School Library Journal (09/01/14)
   Booklist (09/15/14)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/10/14)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 09/01/2014 Gr 5 Up—Clare was a girl from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. At 13, she dies and finds herself transformed into a cat, living in Bethlehem, Israel. As a girl, she always wanted to be the center of attention, so being an ignored stray seems cruel. She follows two Israeli soldiers into a seemingly empty house on the West Bank. As the situation escalates with the discovery of a young Palestinian boy, Clare reflects on her actions during her last year of life as a human. Set on Israel's West Bank, the harsh reality of the story is tempered by the first-person narration of a cat who understands all languages. Ellis is neutral; she doesn't take sides, nor does she attempt to explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, the miscommunication and actions of the individual characters are examined. The characters' complexities are slowly revealed, adding layers to the story. Readers are plunged into the narrative, in the same way Clare must face her new feline life. The narrative alternates between the present on the West Bank and flashbacks to Clare's life as a human. The pacing is appropriately measured, and the setting is vividly described—concisely but evocatively conveying tension, unease, and instability. Although slightly homiletical, the moral of personal responsibility is wrapped in a touching, unforgettable story. It is an excellent choice for book clubs and classroom use, and will easily evoke discussion.—Amy Seto Musser, Denver Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 09/15/2014 Pretty, smart, manipulative, and spoiled, Clare is a mean girl growing up in Pennsylvania. She meets her match in Ms. Zero, her eighth-grade teacher, who makes her copy Max Ehrmann’s poem Desiderata. Then Clare dies and miraculously comes back as a scrawny cat living on the West Bank. One day, feline Clare follows two Israeli soldiers as they slip into a small, empty Palestinian house and discovers a small Arab boy hiding there. The soldiers are worried about the welfare of the child, whose only words are from Desiderata, which he endlessly recites. Clare’s revealing story alternates between flashbacks to her embattled year with Ms. Zero and the present escalating crises, as the local people discover the soldiers and surround the house. There are no black and whites here, only ordinary people caught in the tangle of history, misunderstanding, and fear. The self-centered Clare provides an effective entry point for young readers into the murky waters of this tragic conflict. Ellis’ intriguing, unusual tale should give readers much to think about—both on the domestic and international fronts. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.

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