Author: Kate Oliver
Publisher: MAB Books
Release Date: March 23, 2012
In a small college town in northern California, a lonely young man is working himself to the bone to solve a sixty-year-old problem ... a stranger with a will of iron and eyes the color of ice is searching for someone he can't identify ... and a girl who loves plants is about to grow roots of her own.
When Cara Gallagher's parents are transferred overseas again, she's off to spend her senior year of high school living with her sister, a graduate student at the famed McNair University. Cara, a girl with a passion for science and an indifference to people, hopes this move will be her first step in claiming the independence she craves. Cara has her future planned down to the letter: her college, her major, her career.
Then she saves Will Mallory's life, and both of their futures are completely rewritten.
The last years of Will's life have been spent shifting from one identity to the next, dodging the FBI, and trying desperately to find a way home. But Will's home is forty-four light years away, and to reach it he'll have to outwit the man who's hunting him--and leave behind the only love he's ever known.
My Thoughts: I was pretty impressed with the way Caterpillar made me feel. Even when some moments were a bit unbelievable or typical of the YA genre, there was just something about this book that I found really entertaining. I couldn't help but to enjoy it! It honestly was a guilty pleasure sort of read for me, and I truly am looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.
By the time I was done with chapter two, I was hooked into the story. It may have started off in a way that happens a lot in paranormal/sci-fi YA books (high school girl moves to a new city to live with a family member), but how the girl meets the boy was very different. When Cara meets Will, Will's trying to end his life. I think this scene is the one that stood out the most throughout the entire book. It's not something you can easily forget. And it's the one that made me start rooting for the characters and their relationship. After Cara basically saved Will and she went on her way, I couldn't wait for them to meet again. I knew it was the beginning of a sweet romance, and I wanted them to interact more. Thankfully the wait wasn't long at all!
I thought Cara was a likeable character. She's caring and compassionate. I didn't even find fault in her not being a people person. While that may make her sound like an ungrateful and stuck-up teenager, I felt like I understood where she was coming from. I actually could relate to her with the way she acted around people; it's kind of similar to how I am with people. She is a bit shy, gets embarrassed easily, and lacking some self-esteem. But unlike some main characters in certain other books, I felt Cara had very good reasons, and it made it easy to relate to her. Another thing I appreciated about Cara was her relationship with her older sister Liv. These two got along so well! And they're pretty hilarious when they joked around with one another. Siblings sticking together is something I like to find in books. It's just much more realistic to me than siblings who can't stand each other.
Will was another good character. I like nice guys. Ones who are sweet and kind. Reading the summary, it's quite obvious he's not an ordinary human. He's an alien who's been on Earth for over 60 years. It might sound creepy that he has disguised himself as a 23-year-old college student, but the way it's explained doesn't make it weird at all. (And at least he isn't pretending to be a high school kid!) What was refreshing about his character was that even though he's been on Earth for decades he hasn't tried to learn everything about every single subject. He's no genius just because he's an alien, and it was believable to me.
But I admit Will made me scratch my head at some points. When there were chapters from his POV, I was surprised at how clueless he was about things that don't require much brain power. For example, he had no idea what to do with mousse. Okay, I can understand if he doesn't get physics, but to not know what mousse is when he's been around for over half a century? Now that's completely unbelievable. I mean, it was only suppose to be a funny scene, but it did make me facepalm. In trying to make Will seem clueless and naive about womanly things (which wasn't convincing to begin with considering his past), he ended up lacking common sense at those moments. Even if he didn't know what mousse was, he could have easily read the label. Maybe his nerves caused him to act that way. Either way, the scene wasn't such a huge deal, but it wasn't something I could dismiss.
There were a few other things that I couldn't help but notice like how on some parts the pacing was too quick or how the high school scene was the same old same old (mean girls and such). But overall, they were minor in the scheme of things and really didn't overshadow my enjoyment of the book. (Plus, there was way more college scenes than high school scenes, so that's always great.) Caterpillar was an enthralling read for me from the very beginning. I liked the characters, the romance, and the story, and I cannot wait to know what happens to Cara and Will next. A good read!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars