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The Cat King of Havana

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  348 ratings  ·  95 reviews
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 w
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Lekeisha The Booknerd
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
Originally posted over at Lekeisha the Booknerd. Stop by and enter the giveaway! US only

The Cat King of Havana is full of fun, dance, culture, and love. I love the characters, and the settings of New York and Cuba just added so much to the story. Rick is one of the coolest, geekiest teens I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. His love for cat videos is just the icing on the cake. He starts out with the plan of getting the girl, but he learns so much more about his mother’s history and the
Bridget Hodder
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nonstop celebration of life, love, family, Cuba...and dance!

I read this quirky, hilarious, moving and perceptive book on an ARC tour, and now I find that I'm extremely reluctant to send the book to the next person on the list.

I just don't want to let it go.

I want to delve again and again into its pages, to re-read my favorite scenes. Some of them made me laugh so hard, I had to read them aloud to my amused (and probably annoyed) family. Others were chilling. Still others made me stop and thi
Kathleen Glasgow
A saucy, compelling, altogether satisfying read that will appeal to teens and adults. Rick is a cat-video enthusiast who just can't seem to catch a break, until he starts salsa dancing and meets Ana. This is a fast-paced, often very funny book with dark undertones about politics, grief, and heartbreak. ...more
Janet McNally
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun, vivid, and fresh novel. I can honestly say that I never expected to read a novel about salsa dancing, Cuba, and funny cat videos (and I didn't know how much I wanted that until I started reading!). My favorite books are the ones that blend humor and sadness, and this book does that so skillfully. This is a book that reads like a really great vacation, with a few disasters and surprises along the way. Highly recommended! ...more
Caleb Roehrig
THE CAT KING OF HAVANA is a thoroughly charming, funny, and thoughtful coming-of-age novel. With a unique setting, and a plot that takes a number of welcome and unexpected turns, it reads like John Green meets Strictly Ballroom by way of Joseph Kanon - a fascinating blend of self-exploration, the art of dance, and even some political intrigue thrown in for good measure. It's an ambitious array of themes, and it's a credit to Tom Crosshill's talent that he is able to balance them so well in a rea ...more
Sarah Ahiers
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rick is good at one thing: posting lolcats on the internet.
But when his girlfriend breaks up with him, he realizes that maybe he needs other things in his life. Salsa dancing seems to be the solution, even if maybe he came to that decision after meeting Ana and seeing her dance.
To impress her, he invites her to Cuba for the summer, hoping he can get closer to her, but also hoping he can learn more about his late mother's family and why she left Cuba.
But getting close to Ana is as hard as prying
Shirley Freeman
This is a fun, and timely, YA novel. NYC teenager Rick is the son of a German father and a (deceased) Cuban mother. Rick is a geeky computer nerd who has made a bit of name, and some money, creating a website of cat videos. Rick is challenged to try salsa dancing where he meets Ana - another NY teen, this one actually talented in the salsa department, who also has a complicated life. The two end up on a summer trip to Cuba to meet Rick's relatives and get better at salsa dancing. The pair learn ...more
Joshua McCune
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, brilliant book about two things I knew very little about (Cuba and Salsa) and now know a little more about. While I think TCKOH may have tried to tackle a few too many things in its salsa-brisk pages, I think everything was handled with great grayness... things that seemed black and white evolved into that true gray mess of politics and humanity... but all that's secondary to the characters... richly developed, painfully human... a beautiful romance that goes in a more realisti ...more
Adriana Mather
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen-year-old Rick Gutierrez joins a salsa class to impress his crush Ana Cabrera. Even though she makes it clear that she has no romantic interest in her, Rick plans a trip to Cuba with Ana ostensibly so that they can visit his family and experience 'authentic salsa.' He is hoping to change her mind about him. What Rick does not expect is that they would wind up embroiled in dangerous political machinations. This enjoyable book is rich in cultural details and romantic entanglements. Such fun ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FANTASTIC. Diverse, accurate, inspiring, funny & holy crap. A YA book about Cuban salsa. This is needed. Review to come next week.
Margot Harrison
This book raises a lot of questions. Will it be a cute, snarky story about a guy who posts lolcat videos? An escapist summer romance with a salsa beat? A serious issue book about the current state of Cuba? Answer: It's some of each of those things, and the combination works like magic.

Initially, I thought Rick's self-aware, borderline-cocky voice might wear on me. If you feel that way, I encourage you to read on, because Rick soon gets pushed way out of his comfort zone. And then even further ou
Pamela Laskin
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just finished an amazing YA book, THE CAT KING OF HAVANA by Tom Crosshill, Katherine Tegen Books, my publisher. Its main protagonist, Rick Gutierrez, is awkward and geeky and spends his time in his room on his computer with his website, His Mom has died, his first girlfriend has dumped him and the room is so much easier than being out in the world-that is, until he meets Ana Cabrera and salsa dancing. He invites Ana to his mother's native Cuba for the summer with the hopes of impr ...more
Anna Smithberger
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The title promised me cats and failed to really deliver. Once I got over that and into the dance competition aspect it was alright.
3.5 stars

I picked up The Cat King of Havana for one simple and perhaps shallow reason: I'm going to Cuba in November. And I know basically nothing about the island, the culture, the history, and only bits and pieces about the political situation. What better way to get a taste of all of that than through fiction? Well, The Cat King of Havana, while for the rest not being a typically me story, did deliver on that.

The Cat King of Havana is about Rick, a Cuban American webmaster of a cat video site
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2017
With the hype that’s been surrounding Cuba lately, I was interested in the book primarily because I wanted to see how Cuba would be represented, because:

A) it’s not a topic of interest in the YA book world
B) I am Cuban. Born there and raised in Miami

Image result for cuba gif

Anyway, I had some reservations seeing that the writer was anything but Cuban, but those reservations drifted away as I read the story. Crosshill did a phenomenal job of representing today’s Cuba with all it’s beauties and imperfections, but he c
Kaitlyn Abshire
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Ever since his mom died, Rick discovered a cache of cat videos on his mother’s laptop. Now Rick runs a popular website that is all about cats to honor his mom. He is even known at “THAT CAT GUY” at school. When Rick is dumped by his girlfriend, Rick decides it’s time for a change. That “change” leads him to meeting Ana. Next thing he knows, Rick is on a plane to Havana, Cuba with Ana attempting to not only conn
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway, although I don't think that has affected my review.

From the beginning, I wasn't sure if I would like this book: I'm not a big follower of LOLCats, and, well I'm really just not a fan of LOLCats.

The Cat King of Havana is far from immature. It is full of life, joy, humor, and reality. I find myself thinking about it and smiling at the memories created by Rick and Ana. Rick's thoughts run from "typical teenager" to witty hero to profound truths
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a cute story about Rick, who is known for making cat videos. When Rick decides to take on salsa dancing as a new hobby, his world changes around him. He is part Cuban, but has never known that part of his heritage. When he gets a chance to go to Cuba and learn to dance everything changes.

I enjoyed this book because of the culture. I love learning about new places and this book exposed me to a place I know very little about. I enjoyed the romance in the plot line, but also how much self-d
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, kindle, e-book
That moment when you're kind of stuck to a wall where your books is plugged into the charger (I read on my phone and the screen devours battery).
Author mentions salsa and Cuba as his two passions he tried to put in this book and I feel it's really apt, as those were the main things I got from reading it. I had to keep reminding myself I don't actually care for the dance, I don't quite get it when I watch it. Then again, maybe I just haven't seen my Ana dance.
The one thing that I got a bit mixed
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was actually pretty good. I almost didn't pick it up when I got the chance to get some advanced-copy books from my library but it called out to me a bit. It makes me really wish I could spend a summer in a foreign country learning about love and life and all that. This book surpassed my expectations and I pretty much read it all in one day. It really does transport you to a whole other place, which is more than I can say for some books.

All in all, I would recommend reading this book
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
From Tom Crosshill, I didn't expect a mainstream story of computer geek/lolcat/salsa dancing and journeys of discovery to Cuba. I did expect the smooth prose and understated but fun humor. I haven't read a novel in one day since.... well, since SERIOUSLY WICKED by Tina Connelly. This was quite the fun ride that had me googling words and listening to youtube and considering buying albums from Los Van Van to The Buena Vista Social Club. And maybe taking dance lessons, too. ...more
Dream On
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I just.... no. This book stunk. It was boring to me, and I didn't like where it was trying to go. I gave up on page 57. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Did not meet the needs of my collection at this time. More high school, and I thought it might be historical fiction about Cuba, which would be fun.
sofía aguilar
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-fiction
"The Cat King of Havana" by Tom Crosshill follows the misadventures of Rick Gutierrez, an entrepreneur of hilarious cat videos for views. When his girlfriend Rachel dumps him because of this time-consuming (and very nerdy) hobby, he decides to turn his life around and start taking salsa dancing classes. Yes, it's to connect with his Cuban roots, but it's also to spend time with Ana Cabrera, the fiery and beautiful salsa dance teacher. Rick soon invites her to spend the summer in Cuba with him an ...more
After getting dumped by his girlfriend for spending too much time indoors working on his lucrative website which posts tons of funny, cute cat videos, teen Rick decides to defy his past and take new risks in his life. What’s the worst that can happen? His mom died two years from a serious illness and he’s just been dumped.

Teens will like the unique narration of this story by the main character, Rick Guitierrez, who speaks directly to the reader. He promises “an edge of your seat ta
Katie Van
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is about a boy named Rick know as "Cat guy" is the owner of the website " the Last Catbender" He spends most of his time managing his website up in his room, but when Ricks girlfriend breaks up for him because he spends to much time working on his website Rick re,loses its time to change. He decides to get involved with a real world activity, and because of his cuban roots and a beautiful dancer named Ana he decides to learn how to salsa. As he learns to salsa he falls more in love wit ...more
Lilli Gilliam
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Salsa Lovers ig?????
This book would've been perfect, if there was more romance. It's listed as a romance book, so I guess I expected more. I also feel like it was confusing how we follow Rick through out the whole book, and yet, he and Ana never date. That actually annoyed me. I feel like if they started dating, that would've been a great ending.
I solely picked up this book because I started taking a liking to YA and romance. Also, it was sitting on my shelf screaming, "Read me, read me!" It also had cats soooooo…
Karen Schedin
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
"The Cat King of Havana," by Tom Crosshill is a delightful read about one boys journey into adulthood. Rick, or the Cat Guy, learns to dance the Salsa to get closer to a girl. He then invites her to go with him to Cuba to learn more about dance. While in Cuba Rick discovers so much more than the romance he wanted. This book showcases the richness of Cuban culture and importance of families while touching on hardships of the Cuban people. Its a fun book that meshes lightheartedness while touching ...more
Gerda M.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was not a big fan of the book at first, but the writing, plot and ideas grew along with the protagonist. I also did not expect the slight YA elements (maybe it was not meant like it at all, and was fully misunderstood by me, but it made the book a bit more special to me), which truly connected to the setting and the main ideas of the book.

There were many similarities with John Green's writing (although that is not what the book is about), but I would even say that the execution was a lot bette
Abby Madsen
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought the book started out very, very slow, and didn't get interesting until the last 3 chapters. The beginning was a little confusing, but i has to get the right mind set on reading this book. Rick was a little to into Ana. I also didn't like Yosvany, at All!! But my favorite character was Yolanda, because she was powerful and has the courage to stand up against the government in Cuba. I thought this was a good book, it just could of used more action. ...more
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Tom Crosshill's fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award (thrice) as well as the Latvian Annual Literature Award. His stories have appeared in venues such as Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Lightspeed. In 2009, he won the Writers of the Future contest. After some years spent in Oregon and New York, he currently lives in his native Latvia. In the past, he has operated a nuclear rea ...more

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