Review: Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston

Middle Grade Madness

Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston

Ava desperately wants a pet for her eleventh birthday-but gets way more than she bargained for when she adopts T-A-C-O-C-A-T.

When Ava Wren hears about an injured yellow tabby with mismatched ears, she becomes obsessed and wants to rescue him. She even picks out a perfect palindromic name: T-A-C-O-C-A-T. But when Taco joins the family, he doesn’t snuggle or purr-all he does is hide. Worse, Ava’s best friend starts hanging out with Zara, a new girl in fifth grade. Ava feels alone and writes an acclaimed story, “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Purr.” What begins as exciting news turns into a disaster. How can Ava make things right? And what about sweet, scared little Taco?

Title: Ava and Taco Cat
Author: Carol Weston
Publication date: April 7, 2015

I received Ava and Taco Cat from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

How’s this for timing? My cat Brigitta died the day after I downloaded Ava and Taco Cat for review in January. She was 15 and I knew she was sick and getting worse and we had been to the vet for bloodwork that day, so I knew there was a possibility she wouldn’t live much longer. But I had resigned myself to the realization that she wouldn’t be with us next Christmas. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye the next day.

So I wasn’t able to bring myself to read Ava and Taco Cat until now. Probably the only reason I did read it now is that I also have the next book in the series for review and it came out on Tuesday. I’ll be reading that next and (hopefully) reviewing it next week. Better a little late than a lot late, I guess.

Just like Ava and Pip, the first book in the series, Ava and Taco Cat is written as Ava’s diary. Some of the things that bothered me about Ava and Pip, such as the overuse of wordplay, didn’t phase me in Ava and Taco Cat. While they’re still present, maybe it’s because I knew to expect them. Or maybe I was just too focused on the subject matter.

Ava and Taco Cat made me smile and it made me cry. It also made me remember when Brigitta was a kitten and first came to live with us. Brigitta adjusted much more easily than Taco, but that may be because she had a companion, her sister Liesl. (Liesl sat on the back of my chair the whole time I read Ava and Taco Cat.) I enjoyed reading about Ava’s efforts to integrate Taco into the family, and the way the whole family (even reluctant Mom) grows to love Taco.

Ava’s life isn’t only centered around her new pet, though. She’s writing a book with her sister and, like many middle grade characters (and their real-life counterparts), she’s also growing more concerned about her best friend Maybelle spending more time with a new girl and showing more interesting in nail polish and bras. Ava’s just not into that, but she doesn’t want to be left behind. The way she handles it is consistent with the character from Ava and Pip.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book about Ava, Pip, and all their friends and family. I hope Taco has a part too!

3 1/2 stars



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