Catherine McKenzie is a novel about 30-year-old Kate Sandford, a struggling music journalist in the big city. She freelances for small publications, writing about local bands. Half her friends are still in college and think she's a 25-year-old graduate student, and they spend an awful lot of time partying. Her best friend from home is on the opposite end of the spectrum - responsible and successful working hard in her career at a bank. Things seem like they might actually be on the up for Kate, though, when she lands an interview for a position at her dream job: writing for an edgy music magazine, The Line. She completely tanks it, though, when she goes out to celebrate the interview and her birthday the night before, and shows up late and still drunk.
So it's a huge surprise when Kate gets a call asking her to come back for another opportunity - and if she does well with this, she just may be able to get the job she applied for after all. The assignment? Going undercover at a rehab facility to get the dirt on Amber Sheppard, the celebrity It Girl of the moment, whose latest exploits have her the focus of every gossip source. It's not The Line, but the tabloid is published from the same office, and the promise of another shot at her Dream Job is too good to pass up. All she has to do is make it through the program with Amber, then deliver a juicy article afterward.
Things get complicated, though, when Amber becomes a person to Kate...a friend, actually...rather than just some messed up celebrity brat, and frustrating when friends and family don't seem surprised that she would be in rehab. Then there is the further complication of Henry. She needs to decide, and soon, whether her dream job at The Line is worth putting her new friendship (and possible blooming romance) on the line.