Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager's help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and the cat and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners; their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey.
Delightful ... Smoothly translate[d] ... Natsukawa's empowering Bildungsroman enhanced as a fantasy adventure manages to be both whimsical and wise, revealing Rintaro's superpower is imbedded in his love of books. What might at first seem like simple entertainment exposes a multi-layered analysis ... Natsukawa's one shortcoming here might be the glorification of the Western canon ... Nevertheless, what lingers longest for readers will be the everlasting resonance of great books.
Bibliophiles will dote on this charming import from Japan, smoothly translated by Louise Heal Kawai. Let Rintaro’s grandpa have the final word here, for his mantra is unimpeachable: books, he says, have tremendous power. And so they do.
Like its reclusive and indecisive teenaged protagonist, Sosuke Natsukawa’s The Cat Who Saved Books isn’t quite sure what it wants to be in the world. But it ends up heading boldly in the right direction ... The story is basically, but charmingly, a classic quest tale, complete with mysterious journeys through improbable landscapes, wildly eccentric characters to conquer, a whiff of real danger, an emerging romance, and a series of small epiphanies culminating in a huge 'Aha!' moment of self-realization ... The Cat Who Saved Books is age-appropriate for everyone who can read. As a self-forming tale that moves from tentative to certain, it will reawaken the curious child in all of us and slow life down so that we too can 'save' books by reading them with the love they deserve.