During her junior year, Katrina was the prettiest and most popular girl at Raynesville High. She had the gorgeous Jake West on her arm, she was the star of the girls' swim team, and was well on her way to being voted Homecoming Queen next year. She had it all… until Amy had to go and kill herself. The nerve, right?
This is pretty much where we find Katrina at the beginning of this story. She's been dumped by depressive Jake but is trying to get everything back to the way it was:
"I told you I just want to be alone this year."
She licked her pink, scarless bottom lip and pushed her cleavage upward. "You haven't called me Kat in a long time. I miss you."
I didn't answer. She was fishing for me to say the same words back to her, but it would be a lie. Her sultry, feminine expression faded into a harsh, tight-lipped glare.
"Just so you know, James Riley has already asked me to the Homecoming Dance […] Don't you think it will be awkward? After all, I'm sure to be voted queen and you're sure to be voted king. It seems like we should be going together." (9.84-87, 89)
It's pretty clear that Katrina is only interested in Jake because he's the cutest and most popular boy in school. He's going to be Homecoming King, so she has to go with him, right? It's just what's done. This is pretty much Katrina in a nutshell. Everything is about status and staying on top of the social ladder in high school; she'll do whatever it takes to keep her place as the reigning Queen Bee.
And of course that's why it makes so much sense that she loathes Dani. Sure, Katrina is a vile, self-absorbed, and shallow human being, but think about Dani's arrival from her perspective. She was top dog until this new girl strutted into school. Now Dani is the one Jake wants and all the boys gawk at. And to top it all off, Dani has eclipsed her as the fastest lady in the pool. Seriously—that has got to sting.
So while we might not like Katrina, we do kind of feel for her. If someone took away everything important in your life, you might be a little crabby about it, too. Still, Katrina could stand to lay off the mean girl antics a little bit.