American Horror Story meets the dark comedy of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis as Cat searches for a way to escape her high school. A tale of family, love, tragedy, and masks—the ones others make for us, and the ones we make for ourselves. Katzenjammer will haunt fans of Chelsea Pitcher’s This Lie Will Kill You and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars.
Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh.
Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them—Cat included—are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place.
Using chapters alternating between the past and the present, acclaimed author Francesca Zappia weaves a spine-tingling, suspenseful, and haunting story about tragedy and the power of memories. Fans of Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends and Karen McManus’s One of Us Is Lying will lose themselves in the pages of this novel—or maybe in the treacherous hallways of the school.
Includes interior illustrations from the author.
Francesca Zappia lives in central Indiana. When she is not writing, she’s drawing her characters, reading, or playing video games. She is also the author of Made You Up and Eliza Mirk’s favorite, The Children of Hypnos, a biweekly serial novel posted on Tumblr and Wattpad. She also blogs about writing at www.francescazappia.com
“A surreal nightmare of a novel. . Readers are deposited unceremoniously into a high school, where students are trapped and many are grotesquely transformed. . . . The Changed and the Unchanged operate as separate factions with defined turf, but someone has begun gruesomely murdering students . . . As Cat slinks around the hallways trying to find the murderer, readers experience her frequent flashbacks . . . [that] also function to help Cat recover memories that shed some light on their current hellish existence. Zappia has created a visceral examination of trauma and violence.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Cat is trapped in School: How she got there, how long she has been there, and what is happening, and why are lost to her . . . School is a nightmare world where the violence of words is made manifest in torn flesh and where students othered in the real world find no respite. . . . While interspersed chapters of flashback memories provide some respite, there is ultimately no relief from the psychological and physical violence that permeates both the real world and nightmare conceptions of School.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Zappia paints a sinister picture of modern teenage life in this disturbing high school horror novel. Seventeen-year-old Cat cannot recall when or how she and her fellow students got trapped inside School . . . As Cat investigates, memories of her past return—some sweet, but most marred by sadistic bullies. . . . As the mystery’s pieces click into place, the devastating reality of the teens’ situation becomes clear.” — Publishers Weekly
“Cat is stuck in her high school with a small group of other teens, none of whom can find any doors that lead out. Some have retained their humanity while others, Cat included, have morphed into something . . . less so. . . . Cat’s memories come back with glacial slowness as she tries to piece together why they are all trapped there and to use those clues to try to escape, all while fighting to stay alive . . . An eerie, savage novel.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Cat’s always been different and an outcast, but she hasn’t always had a porcelain face. She’s not sure how that happened. She’s also not sure why she’s stuck living inside her high school with her classmates. . . . Zappia’s novel is a dark story . . . This book that’s part-murder mystery, part-supernatural horror, and part-contemporary fiction is recommended for readers who do not require happy endings.” — School Library Journal