Cat Bauer - Photo by Roberto Silva
CAT BAUER - Photo by Roberto Silva


"A small town teenager's first steps into the adult world -- the New York art world, no less -- couldn't be more empathetically or wittily written."
---Leslie Dixon, screenwriter, FREAKY FRIDAY, HAIRSPRAY, MRS. DOUBTFIRE

This authentic story will open your mind and touch your heart
July 1, 2007
By Janet Zarem

The one word that springs to mind when I think of Cat Bauer's books--both "Harley, Like a Person" and this sequel, "Harley's Ninth"--is "authentic." The characters are so human, so real, that they remain with the reader long after the last page is finished. And even more impressive, the books are emotionally authentic, which is to say "trustworthy." You can trust that Harley is a real teenaged girl, one who makes mistakes in judgment and who struggles with the conflicting lures of boyfriends (and sex) and developing her unexpected strength as a painter and a person in her own right. Harley's psychologically damaged mother, Peppy, and her abusive, alcoholic stepfather, Roger, are not pretty. But if you have ever known anyone like them, you know they ring true. Likewise her birth father, Sean, is achingly, frustratingly, touchingly genuine.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to say that none of the emotional or other abuse, or sex, in either of these books is exploitative or unnecessarily graphic. Ms. Bauer can write. She approaches sensitive material with an artist's eye. Her object is not to shock, but to illuminate. Here is Harley describing her aggressively oppressive home: "The atmosphere in my house in Lenape was a barrier that blocked access to the part of me that paints. My mother, Peppy, was a constant drizzle. My stepfather, Roger, was a thunderstorm. The only sunshine was my little sister, Lily: my brother, Bean, was more tornado than sibling. It was not possible to work with the weather in that house."

Both books also honor what I can only call the "spiritual" in life, the unseen forces of creativity that we channel if we are willing to, as well as the nearly incredible, fortuitous coincidences (I have experienced my share) that make us wonder if there's more to life than the five senses can convey. As exemplified by Mrs. Tuttle, Father Lorenzo, Sofia, and Joe the cab driver, they remind us that respect and love go a long way towards nurturing those who may be unconventional, lonely, and needing to express themselves in the face of other forces that would dominate and sap them.

One final observation: effortlessly, these books introduce teens to art, live theater, classical music and European culture, as represented by Venice, Italy. Teens who read them may try some Bach on their iPods.

The "Harleys" are the kind of books that send teens dashing to the computer or cell phone (or even an old-fashioned desk) to write the author that at last they feel understood, known, valued. And I'll bet that Ms. Bauer hears from both girls and boys. And frankly, like many other outstanding books for teens, they make excellent reading for adults, too. May they find their way into more and more open hands and hearts.

Janet Zarem is a freelance writer (NY Times Sunday Book Review, etc.) and Former Manager of Dutton's Books Children's Department

"Cat Bauer perfectly captures the substance and rhythms of teenage emotional life -- the heartache of a fight with a friend, the thrill of a new love, the frustration with adult interference, and the desperate need for self-knowledge. Good to the last drop."
---Janet Fitch, author of WHITE OLEANDER

Awards & Recognitions

*Booklist Top Ten Youth First Novel

*American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults

*American Library Association Popular Paperback for Young Adults

*American Library Association Quick Pick

*New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

*Bookreporter Top Ten Teen First Novel

*Book of the Year - First Place
YA Fiction - ForeWord Magazine

*Oregon Young Adult Network Book Rave

*BookSense 76 Pick

*teenreads.com Top 10 Teen Book

*Teen People Book Club Selection

*CosmoGirl Book Club Selection

*Selected Adoption-Related Book
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Adoption Awareness Guide

*Winner - SCBWI Sue Alexander
Most Promising New Work Award

From Amazon.com:

"'What was your name again?'
'Harley...Harley Columba.'
'Harley. Like the motorcyle, eh?'
'No, Harley, like a person.'"

Fourteen-year-old Harley is dead sure that "drunken dragon and his fire-breathing wife" she shares a house with cannot be her real parents. And when she finds a doll with a 12-year-old note signed, "Papa loves you forever and a day" -- not in her father's handwriting -- she know she's on to something. Her academic and social life begins to spiral down as she pursues her genetic mystery and rebels against her restrictive parents. Soon she's alienated her best friend, hooked up with a drug-dealing crowd, and is watching her grades plummet. Only her remarkable talent as an artist (and the recognition of this ability by a few adults) keeps her from spinning completely out of control. But this Harley won't stop until she's reached her destination -- or runs out of fuel trying.
Cat Bauer's powerful first novel of a defiant adolescent girl's search for identity, both creative and personal, will ring true for teenagers everywhere. She hits on all the hot topics: identity, family relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, school achievement, domestic and emotional violence, friendship, sex, and love.
---Emilie Coulter



Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375837361
ISBN-13: 978-0375837364

Format: Reinforced Hardcover, 208 pages
Publication Date: February 2007
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
ISBN-10: 0375937366
ISBN-13: 9780375937361


Library Binding: 288 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375937358
ISBN-13: 978-0375937354

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375837353
ISBN-13: 978-0375837357

a Recorded Books, LCC audiobook
Narrated by Carine Montebertrand
ISBN 0-7887-9402-7 Audiobook
ISBN 1-4025-1462-X ReadAlong/Homework Pack
ISBN 1-4025-1463-8 Class Set

a J.H. Gottmer-Haarlem book, The Netherlands
ISBN 90-257-3403-0

a Gyldendal book, Denmark
ISBN 87-02-00154-3

More Works

A List
Personal recommendations in Venice


Short story, SIXTEEN, Crown
New Writing on War and Peace

Is Harley pregnant?

Time Out Venice: Verona, Treviso & the Veneto (Time Out Guides)
". . . the most hip and culturally savvy" travel guide series available (The New York Times)
International Herald Tribune-Italy Daily-Selected Works

Church of San Giovanni Elemosinaro
Titian masterpiece is back where it belongs

Renting an Apartment in Venice
To the uninitiated, Venice is Piazza San Marco, crammed with foreigners reenacting scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," a gaggle of pigeons feeding on their heads...

A Glass is Born in Venice
"Careful," the shopkeeper warned, tucking the work of art back in the box. "There's nothing but glassblowers in here..."

Nine Minutes with Cat Bauer
Emma Qualls interview with Cat Bauer

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