Kate is Kevin Burgemeestre’s first novel. Mind you, Burgemeestre is no stranger to the publishing industry, having illustrated numerous books, including Hazel Edwards’s Antarctic Dad. He is an accomplished illustrator… but what’s he like as a novelist?
Kate is a YA novel about a teenage girl who unwittingly becomes the target of some pretty shady characters. What begins as an angsty teen drama quickly morphs into a taut thriller with chases and hideouts, criminals and drugs.
It’s a well-paced, interesting story with some great twists, tense encounters and edge-of-your-seat moments. But the real joy of this novel is the characterisation. Not just Kate herself, but her best friend Jess, her rescuer Mal and even her adopted dog Wilde. Wilde is, in fact, an important and surprisingly well-rounded character.
Burgemeestre also provides some illustrations for the book, as Kate is an artist. In fact, art is an important element of Kate’s character and how she deals with the world. Her preoccupation with famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo also adds a dimension to her character. So the four full-page illustrations add great insight, as they show how Kate sees things.
As I said at the start, this is Burgemeestre’s first novel… and there are some elements which, I think, could have been improved. There are a couple of awkward perspective shifts and a few moments where I did not get a good sense of the passage of time. But these are minor points and certainly did not stop me from enjoying the book.
As a first novel, Kate is pretty impressive. I look forward to Mr Burgemeestre’s next one.
To find out more about Kevin Burgemeestre, his art and this writing, check out his website.
Catch ya later, George
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