What an absolutely adorable story this was! Apparently this is the second in a set, with the first book revolving around Ava Wren, and her sister Pip. Which I didn't find out until after I'd finish this particular story. I can assure you, Ava and Taco Cat reads perfectly fine as a standalone. If anything, it actually made me want to seek out the other book as soon as possible. Ava and Pip are simply the sweetest, and the perfect example of what sisterhood really looks like.
Truth be told, Ava herself is exactly what an eleven year old girl would be like. Carol Weston easily brings the reader into Ava's mind, a place that swirls with questions of what she wants to do when she gets older, thoughts on whether her best friend is trying to leave her, and the passionate desire for a pet cat. I was extremely impressed with Weston's ability to nail down an eleven year old personality. Sometimes reading MG that is first person narrative can be a little daunting. Characters have the opportunity to feel too old for their supposed age. Not Ava. This darling girl was simply eleven, going on twelve, and full of all the emotions that I'd expect her to have at that age.
There are so many things that I could gush about! The fact that Weston expertly weaves in a discussion on friendship, and the ability to move beyond having a best friend into having many good friends. The idea that when new people move into your life, it isn't always easy to trust them at first. Best of all, the way that a pet can become part of the family without anyone even noticing. I adored every minute of it. I can't quite say too much, for fear of spoiling the last few chapters, but trust me when I say that this book is quite unexpectedly heartfelt. I teared up, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
If you have a young reader, especially one who is passionate about writing, I'd put this straight into their hands. There is so much in this story that will resonate with them, and this is coming from a reader who is well beyond the intended audience. Ava is adorable, and I see many readers falling in love with her.