The odds are definitely against Travis Keating. His mother recently died of cancer, his father (a doctor) couldn't save her; instead, Dr. Keating uproots Travis for a year long experiment living far from the home Travis knew, far from where he lived happily with his parents, his best friend Grady, and his winning hockey team. In Fiddler's Cove, a tiny coastal community in Newfoundland, Travis is bullied by, if not the world's meanest bully, then at least the meanest bully in all of Cananda. Everyone is afraid of Hud Quinn -- so afraid that when he instructs the entire school not to befriend Travis, they obey. The story has so many twists and turns the reader will be gasping for breath with Travis one minute and then crying tears of joy the next. You'll root for Travis, his friends Prinny -- a neglected waif whose alcoholic mother is known as the town drunk-- and Hector, the third of the invisible kids on the bus, and Abe, a crotchety old fellow who not only befriends Travis, but who helps Travis rescue the cats.
The cats, a feral colony, becomes Travis' project. He feels personally responsible for them. Travis is determined to save them from starvation, disease and Hud. There is no sugar coated story here -- our hero does not save them all and we are told just how horrible life is for the abandoned lot of cats. If you loved Because of Winn Dixie or Shiloh, you must read The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.