Kat is not afraid of being herself. She’s an artist, an athlete, a receptionist at her mom Abra’s midwifery, and does yoga in the hallways at school to center herself. Kat’s not “original” in that cliche, unoriginal way; she’s just herself, and that’s a little different from most people. Sure, she might have self-esteem issues sometimes (don’t we all?), and she pays a little too much attention to the popular crowd at school, but she’s still Kat, and that’s why I love her. 

Kat’s life is imperfect, just like anyone’s. She’s crushing on popular Manny Cruz(who seemed sleazy, but…wasn’t? I didn’t feel like his character made complete sense). She has some problems with her best friend, Christy. Her relationship with her mother isn’t great; Abra pays more attention to her clients than her children. Fact of Life #31 is about all aspects of Kat’s life (friends, school, guys, family–just life), but her relationship with her mother is the big one. 

In Fact of Life #31, Denise Vega takes on a lot. A lot of characters, a lot of issues, a lot of stuff happening in Kat’s life, just like the crazy-hectic lives of most teenagers (not in content but in volume of stuff we have to deal with). And she does it really well. I absolutely loved Kat, and most of the other characters. This was a funny, honest, well-written book that I really enjoyed reading. Kat’s quirky without being a stereotype, and while she has the same issues as a lot of teenagers, she’s unique enough to make reading about it through her eyes interesting. This is a solidly good book.