Cat’s Got Your Heart by Jem Zero
A fluffy feline isn’t the only thing they’re fighting for…
Adopting a cat doesn’t sound hard. Then Jericho Adams meets Harinder Mangal, the surly pet store employee who loves animals and hates customers. Their first encounter inspires more than simple loathing—it puts the ball in motion for an absurd game of deceit that boasts a fluffy cat named Dumpling as the prize.
Harinder hates Jericho’s attitude, especially when it comes to owning a pet. He attempts to chase the other man from his store and is shocked when Jericho overcomes every obstacle, no matter how bizarre. Not only that, but he generates some of his own wild inconveniences that leave Harinder seething in his ugly sweater and mom jeans.
Before either man can get the other to crack, Harinder finds himself unexpectedly homeless. Despite their mutual antagonism, Jericho invites Harinder to crash at his place. The increased proximity makes it difficult for Harinder and Jericho to maintain their respective ruses, not to mention stopping themselves from actually caring about their pet-parenting rival.
First, I love reading books with diverse characters, and this was one of the best regarding that, including LGBTQ+, POC, and even albinism. The plot was entertaining and realistic and I liked the character and story progression and development. The two main characters meet when Jericho wants to adopt a cat from the pet store Harinder works at. To say their meeting does not go well is an understatement, and it is almost immediate disdain for each other.
Both characters have some baggage and past familial problems that are revealed continuously throughout the story that reflect in their actions and how the think of others. I really liked Jericho’s character. He was so kind and I actually felt a bit bad for him because of the way others treated him; he would purposely go around hang someone who treated him awfully just so someone would not ignore him. I just wanted to hug him and I think he deserves so much more.
Harinder… I actually don’t think I liked him too much. Yes, he had some stuff that is still impacting his life, but he literally chose to be intentionally rude beyond his strict vetting process for new pet parents (which I strictly support because pet owners should have a more rigorous adopting process to ensure they are responsible parents.) Even when Jericho did some amazing, kind things for him, he was still not very thankful about it. I think Harinder’s attitude was really the only part of the story I didn’t like.
Beyond my feelings toward Harinder, I loved how he and Jericho learned to trust and lean on each other. This book was a great Own Voices style story and do recommend this book. I received this book as an advance copy from NetGalley and this is my honestly review. Cat’s Got Your Heart is available here and releases on October 5, 2020.