Book Review: The Cat King of Havana by Tom Crosshill

cat king

The Cat King of Havana

Release date: September 6th 2016

4 stars

Rick Gutierrez is . . . the Cat King of Havana! A cat-video tycoon turned salsa-dancer extraordinaire, he’ll take Cuba by storm, romance the girl of his dreams, and ignite a lolcat revolution!
At least that’s the plan.
It all starts when his girlfriend dumps Rick on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom when he should be out experiencing the real world. Known as “That Cat Guy” at school, Rick isn’t cool and he knows it. He realizes it’s time for a change.
Rick decides joining a salsa class is the answer . . . because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. Rick might be half-Cuban, but he dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.
Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. There’s a darker side to the island. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into this book. I fell in love with the cover. It looked fun and it immediately had my interest. Internet cat videos, salsa dancing, a bit of a dirty dancing feel, and a family mystery. I couldn’t wait to crack the spine(not literally of course). It was one of those books I didn’t know I wanted to read until I was reading it.

I really liked Rick, the main character. He was very skilled at editing videos of cats and had made a name for himself doing it, along with some money, but those skills and fame didn’t translate to popularity in school. He had a sense of humour that I loved, very self-deprecating and aware, and he was not perfect, nor did he try to be perfect. He did want to better himself, part of the reason he decided to take salsa dancing, and it was his struggle to do this and his journey to discover more about himself that made him an extremely relatable character.

I also loved the dynamics between Rick and Ana. There was nothing insta about them. Rick had a crush on her but she had no interest in him and she wasn’t going to suddenly change her mind just because he was the hero of the story.

I thought everything flowed well together. There were times when the plot was slow but not in a way where I was bored. There was a good balance between funny scenes and the more serious ones. The descriptions of everything, Cuba, dance, the setting, were very vivid. Everything worked well together to make a really great read.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


1 Comment

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One response to “Book Review: The Cat King of Havana by Tom Crosshill

  1. Pingback: Weekly Reading Recap | Overflowing Bookshelves

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