Kat and Meg Conquer the World

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Kat and Meg Conquer the World Book Poster Image
Quirky friendship tale fosters empathy.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

May foster empathy for people with anxiety and ADHD, but neither condition is talked about clinically. A few coping methods are shown but not discussed in detail. Brief reminder that you don't really know anything about online-only friends.

Positive Messages

You're capable of more than you think you are. The support of a good friend can give you the strength you need to try things even when you're scared; so can being a good friend to someone else. Trying to "be awesome" is a worthy goal, but don't forget that you already are awesome, probably in ways you don't even see.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both Kat and Meg model a deeply supportive and loyal friendship, which isn't to say they never get mad at each other. They're good models for working things out, even when it's just giving the other a little time. Meg and her family are positive representations of black people in Canada; they acknowledge physical and cultural differences but don't emphasize them as the most important things about themselves or others. Meg has ADHD but embraces her fast-paced, fractured thought process and is willing to try new techniques to help get her grades back up. Kat and her family are also good role models for doing what's needed to care for others, and Kat takes herself out of her comfort zone despite her anxiety disorder.


Some video game violence like killing with swords and arrows mentioned but not described in detail. Several mentions of pain and blood after having sex for the first time. Some scariness when a relative has a stroke.


Kissing with a few mentions of tongue. A few instances of making out, removing shirt and bra, hands traveling, and reaching for belt buckle. A teen has sex for the first time; it's not described, they use a condom, and afterward she mentions several times that it hurts and she's pretty sure she's bleeding when it's not her period.


"Butt," "crap," "lizard balls," "whipped boy toy," "d--k" once, and "hell." A pair of boots mentioned several times as "hooker boots."


Favorite candies mentioned several times, otherwise a few mentions of tech products, and one mention of 7-Eleven.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A dizzy toddler looks like a drunken lady. A teen won't be drinking since she won't be going to a party. A former friend smoked pot. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kat and Meg Conquer the World is a story of two 10th-graders in Alberta, Canada -- one has anxiety disorder and the other has ADHD. Even though they're pretty opposite, they model a positive close friendship by supporting each other and helping each other work with, and sometimes get around, their weaknesses. The story fosters empathy, and its overall messages are positive: about being capable of more than you think, and especially about learning that you're already pretty awesome just the way you are. One's black and the other's white, and they briefly explore endemic and unintentional racism. Physical differences are remarked about without giving them much importance. Having sex for the first time isn't described, but afterward blood and pain are mentioned several times. Otherwise there's some kissing, including a few scenes that mention tongues, and brief making out including taking tops off. Occasional video game violence, such as killing fantasy creatures with swords or arrows, is mentioned without gore. Mention that a former friend smoked pot. No alcohol or drug consumption, but a teen says she won't be drinking because she isn't going to a party.

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What's the story?

Slow, calm, deliberate Kat has anxiety disorder. Mile-a-minute Meg has ADHD. When they're thrown together for a science project that'll count for 30 percent of their grade for the entire year, Kat's pretty sure she's going to end up doing most of the work herself. Which is fine with her. Soon they discover that they're both huge fans of YouTube star LumberLegs, who posts hilarious videos of himself trying, and failing, to play a popular fantasy computer game called Legends of the Stone. As they get to know each other, they start to realize that they each have a lot to offer the other. And their science project needs both an ideas person and an organizer. LumberLegs' slogan is "Be Awesome," and maybe, if they can find a way to work together, Kat and Meg will learn that they already are.

Is it any good?

This debut novel is a quirky, funny friendship story about two extreme opposites that will help readers empathize with people who have anxiety disorders and with those who have ADHD. Kat and Meg Conquer the World gives us relatable, believable characters who show that deep, rewarding friendships can be found in surprising places, especially with patience and understanding. Throwing opposites together may be a well-worn story idea, but author Anna Priemaza brings a bit of freshness in with the cold Canadian air, and the fact that two girls bond over an online fantasy computer game.

The world of online gaming, and YouTuber fandom, gives teens a lot to relate to, as well as the usual teen pressures and insecurities Kat and Meg deal with. The narration switches voice from one to the other, which moves the story along and provides insight into each girl's thoughts and feelings. But it happens pretty abruptly, often several times in one chapter, so it can be hard to remember which character is who for a while. Once they're pretty well established, the story moves along well, and teens will enjoy their bumpy, rollercoaster ride to learning that they're already pretty awesome.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Kat and Meg Conquer the World creates empathy for people with anxiety disorders and for those with ADHD. Are Kat and Meg like you thought they'd be? Do you know anyone with a similar condition or conditions? Did the book change how you thought about them? 

  • Are you a huge fan of someone or something, the way Kat and Meg are about YouTuber Legs and the video game Legends of the Stone? What kinds of things do obsessed fans have in common, no matter what they're fans of?

  • What other books about friendship have you read? How does this one compare? Do you have a favorite?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love friendship tales and mental illness stories

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