Short Story Review: "Cat Calls" by Cynthia Leitich Smith

"Cat Calls" by Cynthia Leitich Smith is a short story that is clearly geared toward young teen women. It is about a girl named Tiffany who is coming into her own living with her grandmother in a traveling circus. The story touches a bit on the girl's back-story, particularly as it pertains to her parents. It is not especially memorable, well written or suspenseful. However, it does the trick. It delivers what it is meant to deliver and leaves the story open at the end so girls can gobble up a little more sexual angst and supernatural mystery.

If there was one thing that could have been hoped for out of this story it would have been more development as far as the setting of the circus. Yes, we get to know that Tiffany and her grandmother have some special gifts, but it is hard to tell whether the rest of the circus is just as gifted or if it is just your typical circus. In this way, Smith manages to take her greatest opportunity and leave it stranded.

Unfortunately, the big twist of "Cat Calls" is evident from about page two or three. There really is no surprise to be had for most readers. Some might find it surprising or tantalizing. I did not. Nevertheless, Smith has found her niche and does well in it, and this story is not terrible. It is just not eerie enough for my taste, especially if I were still a teen girl.

Shelly Barclay

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