Starring Kitty

By Keris Stainton

Catnip Books

Description

Kitty Harrison already has a lot on her plate when her friends Hannah and Sunny convince her to join them in entering a local film competition. Her mom has recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and depression. A boy named Sam from school seems to turn up everywhere she goes. But what’s really keeping Kitty distracted is how she can’t stop thinking about Dylan, the girl with the purple and red hair. Can Kitty come to terms with her own feelings in time to finish a prize-winning film?


What we like about it

  • Kitty’s struggle with her identity is realistic, but doesn’t take all of the attention from the main story.
  • Starring Kitty contains a diverse cast of characters including Sunny’s Asian Muslim family, Kitty’s openly gay older brother Tom, and school teachers of varying ethnicities.
  • While certain homophobic and racist/Islamophobic comments occur realistically in the book, there are also characters who call out these comments for the problematic perspectives they are.

Questions & learning points

  • The rival group of filmmakers, Louis, Mackenzie, and Amber, did some unkind things to Kitty, Hannah, and Sunny. However, Hannah also did and said some quite negative things about Mackenzie. Why is Hannah’s attitude also problematic? Was there a better way for her to respond to Mackenzie and co.’s rudeness?
  • Although Kitty’s friends and family are very supportive of her throughout the story, she still worries about their reactions and struggles to tell them about her girlfriend. Why do you think this is?
  • Kitty’s younger sister Grace has a difficult time understanding their mother’s MS. Do you think Kitty did a good job of explaining a long-term illness to her sister? Was it fair of the Harrison parents to limit the amount of information their children were told about their mother’s condition? Why or why not?

Comments

Rebecca: I loved this book – I read it in a single sitting. The characters were realistic and endearing, and although Kitty’s struggle with her orientation was a recurring theme, it was not the only focus of the book. Starring Kitty is not an “issue story,” it’s a story about high school friends entering a silly film competition together, and a girl’s encounter with first love. It just so happens that the main character is gay and she has troubles typical of a questioning teenager. And those aren’t the only issues in the book! Kitty’s mother’s illness and Sunny’s encounters with casual racism are also well handled. I hope the rest of the books in this series will continue the positive trend!

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