Author: Blythe Woolston
Publication Date: February 12, 2012
Teenagers Polly and Odd are the only survivors of a MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus--also known as flesh-eating bacteria) outbreak that killed several people in their town.
They did not survive unscathed, however. Polly lost an eye and her face is horribly scarred; Odd lost his foot and is tortured by phantom pain. The two had no connection to each other prior to the MRSA outbreak. Polly was going to marry Bridger, her longtime boyfriend, and continue down the road toward normal adulthood and domestic felicity (kids, house, etc.). Odd’s ticket out was football. Now those plans are gone, and Polly and Odd have nothing but each other--the residents in their small Montana hometown are decidedly uncomfortable around these two who survived-- and a shared affection for trout fishing. So when Odd shows up in his grandmother’s 1979 Cadillac D’Elegance, promising a day on the river, it’s pretty clear that a more remarkable journey is in store for the two of them.
Polly, eighteen, and Odd, seventeen, are the only two survivors of the flesh-eating virus MRSA of the seven people infected. Odd has lost a leg and Polly has lost an eye. While they had never actually talked or had been friends before, they are now bonded because of their survival and their mutual love for fishing.
Polly's boyfriend has broken up with her and she is miserable. She lost her job and now spends her days watching tv on her couch. When Odd shows up for a fishing trip, Polly is excited about going. The book centers around this trip as they travel in Odd's grandmother's beast of a car. This trip is not only about fishing, but coming to terms with what their lives will now be like and accepting who they have become.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. I just couldn't connect with any of the characters. I also think because I don't really care for fishing, I wasn't all that interested in hearing about rods and bait. However, I did like the interaction between Polly and Odd, who seem to have a love/hate relationship. They tell each other the truth and how it is, and I appreciated that.
I think my biggest issue connecting with Polly is that I kept picturing her as dark haired and every time something was mentioned about her red hair, it through me off. I like to envision the characters in my head and for whatever reason I just couldn't get it right with her. This obviously is just my opinion and has nothing to do with the writing skills of the author, which are quite good.
Even though I couldn't connect as much as I hoped, I still enjoyed the story and it was written quite well. It was quite intense at times, and I just wanted to jump in the book and tell people to stop treating Polly and Odd different because of their disabilities. But I understand this, MRSA is not something you want to mess around with.
The ending kind of came out of nowhere, but it left me feeling hopeful for Polly and Odd's futures and that they would one day be ok with themselves and live happy lives, which is always a bonus for me. I can't do endings without some sense of hope or knowing everything is going to be alright. I need closure!
I recommend Catch & Release to anyone who likes YA, coming of age stories and anyone who is looking for an enjoyable quick read.