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The Catalogue of the Universe

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The Catalogue of the Universe



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The Catalogue of the Universe by Margaret Mahy
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Angela May and Tycho Potter couldn't be more different: she is tall and beautiful, confident and carefree; he is short and serious, plain and self-conscious. Angela is popular and sexy, with many boyfriends; Tyke prefers the company of his books and watching the skies through his telescope.

Tyke has a huge crush on Angela, yet these two 18-year-olds are unlikely best friends. He loves and is mentally tortured by her in roughly equal measure. Angela acts out her burning desire to find and confront her father, whom her mother describes as having been the love affair of her life, but the truth is a very different story which shatters all her childhood imaginings. After a dramatic confrontation it is to Tycho she turns for support, and as their very different worlds collide they begin to understand the unpredictability of life as the repercussions touch everyone around them.

Phoenix Award Winner 2005.


Both Angela and Tycho had romantic notions: she about her unknown father, whom her mother had never married, and he for beautiful, sensual Angela. As Angela locates her father and plots a course to make him discover her, she learns that commonsense is a neat, symmetrical, misleading circle whereas truth is slightly elliptical and wobbly. As short, homely, brilliant Tycho contemplates the stars and planets to understand his family problems and hopeless love, Angela's confrontation with her father precipitates the emotional trauma of rejection. Through this turmoil, she recognizes her romantic feelings for Tycho, and the two have their first sexual encounter. Other stories of daughters searching for fathers deal with inner turmoil and search-for-self as here, but Mahy's is unique due to the distinct, unusual personalities; the New Zealand setting; the teenagers' fascination with the components of the universe and Mahy's use of analogies with fresh descriptions conveying sharp, vivid images. This story is brightly lit with perceptions and the universal inscrutability of finding one's place. The occult shivers in previous Mahy books don't occur here, but the atmosphere is electrically charged with the uncommon tone, eccentric characters and meshing of circumstances with feelings that should both appeal to and challenge YA readers and leave them pondering the center of their universe. Julie Cummins, Monroe County Library System, Rochester, N.Y. School Library Journal

Author Biography

Margaret Mahy was born in New Zealand and has loved telling stories all her life. She has published well over a hundred titles and won several major prizes and awards, including The Order of New Zealand, for her internationally-acclaimed contribution to children's literature. She has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, (The Haunting, 1982, and The Changeover, 1984). Margaret lives in the South Island of New Zealand, in a house which she partially built herself, overlooking Governor's Bay.
Release date NZ
August 5th, 2002
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
black & white illustrations
Interest Age
From 12
Reading Age
From 12 To 99
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