There are never any easy solutions in the life of Cathy Vickers. After all, what does a girl do when she has a boyfriend who is immortal, a group of people trying to kill her, and another girl who has taken her identity? From the minute she walked into my life Jewel had been nothing but trouble. An ex-con named Denny (Jewel's wayward but good-intentioned brother) has risked his life for Cathy. Her best friend Em (techno-geek girl) is trying to protect her and re-make a fortune. And her father is supposed to be dead but isn't really because he is an immortal, so Cathy has to keep this secret from her unsuspecting mother.
This seems to add up to one plan: going into hiding --- most especially after she spends a night listening to the sounds of people being murdered right outside her window. When she sees the three bodies the next morning, she goes into "flight" mode. Now she knows for certain that Ancestor Lu (the Immortal) will stop at nothing to get to her, including probably murdering all her friends and family. Enough is enough already.
Once you make up your mind to disappear (she's done this before), there are practical matters to consider. First, she can't just tell anybody, but perhaps she can leave a vague note for her mom. Putting together her plan, she's going to:
* Need some cash (sell some of her dad's paintings)
* Not tell Victor (he will try to track her --- and besides, he doesn't really love her)
* Not tell Em (she will try to divert her with another brilliant business plan)
* Get Denny to drive her with the ruse of getting to Jewel (she does need her identity back)
* Find a way to destroy Ancestor Lu (maybe the serum?)
Cathy imagines her life with Denny --- he's the auto mechanic and she's the cheeky waitress working in some diner with a name like Flapjack Ranch. She could finally live without worrying about Victor or immortals or her mysterious father. She rationalizes several other things, nimbly sketching in her diary her version of herself as "Hamburger Girl - Cathy Sue," one of her alter egos. Cathy doesn't lose her sense of the absurd, not for a minute. And of course, even as she leaves to get into Denny's car, she is an artist extraordinaire, always caring about important details:
I stopped in the bathroom to brush my hair because an artist never stops thinking about how she looks.
The best-laid plans can go awry, and that's exactly what happens. Denny sees through her elaborate ruse and leads her back to a pancake house where "the gang" (Emma, Pete and Victor) wait. Cathy reacts with a flood of pent-up emotion:
Relief flooded into me. Relief and tearful gratitude and dizzy, knee-buckling joy. My body started to shake and I was crying after all, crying without tears, and for the first time in what felt like forever the crushing cloud of loneliness thinned a little and a ray of sunshine came in. Maybe my life wouldn't be a short, lonely, desperate chase with a brutal end after all.
The flood of euphoria does not last long because when Cathy goes into the bathroom, she is attacked by one of Ancestor Lu's thugs. Who saves her this time? Ancestor Lu's daughter, Jun, who happens to be an immortal but who also has an agenda (doesn't everyone?). Jun is a beautiful woman even when she is playing pool:
She bent low over the ball, cold and beautiful as a knife blade, sighting along the line of her cue. She went completely still --- her long hair glossy and black as if carved out of obsidian; her pale skin eternal as winter; her eyes as empty as stars.
Okay, so maybe here's some competition because it's obvious to Cathy that Jun finds Victor appealing. This is just what she needs...another complication in her life. In the time being Cathy doesn't know what sacrifice Victor has made for her, nor is she aware of what her father is plotting. All things are about to change again, and they are going to change really fast.
Picture Cathy and Jewel dressed up like clowns, picture Jewel in her troublesome way helping out, picture Cathy's father making a surprise appearance, picture Victor bleeding in a car (do immortals bleed?), picture Cathy and Denny kissing in a motel room, picture Emma knowing just when to step in...and then there's that serum. Cathy's witty comments, fantastic drawings, colorful, well-drawn characters, and the great storyline make this final book in the Cathy trilogy an adventure that will leave readers gasping. CATHY'S RING resolves some unanswered questions and brings others to the front. Just maybe Cathy and Victor have a chance.
Enjoy Cathy's package of goodies that go with the book, visit the website ([...] listen to the music, look at the drawings, and call the phone numbers. What a fantastic time!
--- Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts