Heads up for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, take the content warning seriously, it gets pretty intense. Wow, this was a heck of a read. Like some other people have said, I got this in the Racial Justice bundle and the very light novel-y title jumped out at me. The way you write is so cool, Zandra, you’re excellent at first-person perspectives and drawing the reader into Izzy’s mind. Satellite’s art is really great, too, it’s simple and emotional and cozy.
I suffer from anxiety myself (I’m not sure if it’s serious enough to be clinical anxiety, but it’s definitely a problem), and the meaning’s pretty powerful; sometimes, we just need to step back and think of things differently, because the things that make us anxious are only things that make us anxious and may not have a good cause. The story forces Izzy to do so, and she subconsciously realizes it. I hate to admit it, but I’m written trying to think of things in a different way off too often. I think I’ll try it whenever my anxiety hits, even if it’s not as effective as transforming into a cat!
Spoilers (and in-depth analysis) below
I’ve seen some other reviews take issue with the lack of consent here, and yeah, that’s something that didn’t quite sit well with me. However, I took it as a “you can only transform back into human form when you’re 100% ready, even if you want to go back sooner” thing. Izzy had a lot of stuff to work through, so she stayed in cat form longer than anyone had seen before, and nobody could pull her out of cat form. The implications of no case like hers being seen before though could be troubling, like they’re doing this without having fully researched it?
Anyway, I’m probably reading way too far into this. As for the “why’s she a cat girl afterwards, could she have lost some sentience” and the finer details of being transformed into a cat for a year, I’m going to go for the handwavey explanation and say magic. Since it’s already a pretty fantastical premise that doesn’t get explained (not like that’s a bad thing, this story’s more about the feeling rather than every little detail), I feel like it’s an apt explanation. Something like magic being semi-integrated into modern society, so things like “feline therapy” aren’t exactly common, but it isn’t unheard of either, and society’s adjusted to the logistics involved with it. Maybe long-term “feline therapy” is a thing but this is the first case of a “short-term turned long-term” thing? And as it says in the ending, Izzy worked with the place to make sure people know what they are going into and she’s made peace with what happened, so all the compensation she wants is 2 lifetime passes because transforming into a cat is pretty dang therapeutic.
Wow, this turned into a long analysis, hey? This was a great story, it’s changed my view on how I deal with anxiety myself, which isn’t something every story I read does!