Plain Kate

Plain Kate

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Plain Kate's odd appearance and expertise as a woodcarver cause some to think her a witch, but friendship with a talking cat and, later, with humans help her to survive and even thrive in a world of magic, charms, and fear.
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780545166645
Branch Call Number: BOW
Some copies Teen/YA - Canadian
Characteristics: 314 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 23, 2015

I don't have much to say about this book. I like the author's writing style. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be with all the hype, but it's still worth a read. The ending is very short and abrupt. I would have liked to see what happened to her afterwards. I recommend it for teens and adults who like to read YA.

Nov 07, 2015

I started out loving this story but along the way my feelings for the book changed until I was just glad to see the end. I think what slowly turned me off the book was that the story didn’t hang together very well, there were too many instances where the reader had to simply take a leap of trust and these leaps were not always rewarded. By the end of the book, I felt rather let down as the whole exercise seemed rather pointless.

Jul 13, 2015

great read, compelling and intriguing

Jun 25, 2015

You should read this creepy but good book.

FindingJane Feb 08, 2015

Filled with the dark and light sides of magic, “Plain Kate” brims with differences and how they draw people together and pull them apart. The caustic, corroding effects of revenge, the sweetness of unexpected mercies and startling miracles all wend their way through this story of a girl with a quiet yet indomitable spirit. A girl who must make hard choices in an even harder life, Kate isn’t a typical storybook heroine and Ms. Bow’s solemn yet lyrical prose exposes the carver’s heart in tender, breaking fragments.

Ms. Bow plays language like a fiddler does his bow, with enchantment that steals over you in spite of yourself. When horror comes, it is terrible but with its own wild beauty; when love appears, it is with a whisper that trickles into your ears like rain or a shout that can shatter walls. “Plain Kate” has a sublime beauty that raises it above ordinary faery tale and into the realm of potent fantasy.

Jan 13, 2015

A bit slow to get into but the characters are compelling. Very imaginative and hard to put down. Made me cry at the end but it was OK crying.

forbesrachel Dec 06, 2014

Plain Kate is alone and mistrusted by the superstitious people of the town when the actions of the witch Linay backs her into a corner. She has no choice but to give him her shadow and start on a journey to find a place she can belong. This is a deal she will come to regret. Kate is no witch, but the magic she can do with wood will prove useful. The people of the world have a love/hate relationship with magic. They will utilize this power for their own benefits, but will burn witches if they believe themselves cursed. Vengeance walks their way, and Kate is partly at fault. Although she feels responsible there is little she can achieve, and her only real ally is the cat Taggle, whom Linay gave the power of speech. Plain Kate has the distinct feel of European folklore with its witches, warnings about getting involved with magic, and old world setting. As a whole, the story needed more meat; its straightforward motion makes it a quick read, but one with unnatural progression. Answers are too freely given, and some relationships feel stunted because of the quick pace. Kate makes choices, but for the most part reacts to events rather than taking action. In fact she has no power over her fate at all. She is not a hero, she is just a plain girl.

May 13, 2013

A story filled with superstition, witchcraft, magic and a heroine who proves you don’t have to be beautiful or fall in love to be an exciting read.

Mar 07, 2013

Very engaging and compelling read - really pulls the reader through. I didn't want to put it down. Loved the setting, the Roamers, the queer unsettling atmosphere, the curious talents of the witches and Plain Kate Carver. Loved Taggle the cat most especially. Definitely for older readers though - the violent moments are poetically presented but still horrifying.

Feb 24, 2013

I thought it was more of a YA book because it was quite dark. But I loved it especially the talking cat, Taggle. I cried at the end... Loved the whole world she created. I couldn't put it down. it's the best book I've read lately.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Oct 29, 2014

calmiron thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Esme Tyner
Dec 03, 2012

Esme Tyner thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 17, 2012

liszy thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 23

Feb 20, 2012

mbssmith thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

VeganGreen Aug 31, 2011

VeganGreen thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 18


Add a Quote
Feb 01, 2016

I just call her Plain Kate.
- Piotr Carver

Jun 26, 2012

And Taggle, who was beautiful, who had never misjudged a jump in his life, leapt toward her with his forelegs out-flung. (p. 289)

Jun 26, 2012

She was made of fog and shadow until Kate caught her eye, and then, all at once, she became human. She was young, mischievously sad, a fox in a story. (p. 199)

Jun 26, 2012

The cat looked up at her with the last trace of his broken heart, and then turned to look at the gold coins with simple gold-coin eyes. (p.310)


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top