Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dirty Dancing Havana Nights by Amanda Bader

Dirty Dancing Havana Nights
by Amanda Bader

Summary: When the Millers moved from St. Louis to Cuba, eighteen-year-old Katey left her friends, her school, and her life behind. In Havana, Katey looked wrong. She dressed wrong. She even danced wrong. More than anything, she wanted to return home.

Then Katey met Javier, a young waiter at the Oceana Hotel. She was instantly drawn to his intense brown eyes--and his smouldering moves on the dance floor. When Katey danced with Javier, she felt a connection with him, the kind of connection she had never had with a boy before.

Being with Javier wasn't familiar or easy, but learning about his life and dreams was something Katey needed to do. And as Javier showed her his Cuba, Katey discovered something surprising: a chance to fit in, a chance at love... and the chance to have the time of her life.

This is a novelization* of the movie Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights (yes, the sequel to the cult classic, Dirty Dancing -- well, if we're going by time setting, technically it would be a prequel).

The book wasn't very good.

Really, it follows the plot of the movie pretty much exactly -- although there's some slight variations in the dialogue and some scenes cut out, it's basically just the movie in book form... but it's lacking in the passion that was in the book (Javiers passion for his country, Katey and Javiers passion for each other and the passion they both have for dancing... it was all lacking that spark).

The characters felt very flat and there were a few details where the author changed things, probably for convenience sake, but it altered things about the characters in a negative way (like the relationship that Katey has with her sister, it's better and more real in the movie, the book leaves it out almost entirely).

Maybe if I hadn't seen the movie first, I would've enjoyed the book a little more because the lack of novelty definitely played a part in my dislike of the book. But even then, I don't think it's a very good book, aside from the things I've already mentioned, the writing left a lot to be desired.

While I don't really recommend the book, I do recommend the movie. The movie is one of my favourites -- it has the good components that really made Dirty Dancing awesome, but it doesn't try to copy it, it's two people being brought together through a love of dancing, but the stories themselves are so different (and Patrick Swayze has a cameo in the sequel).

Another thing is, Havana Nights is actually based on a true story, it's based on the childhood of JoAnn Jansen, who was actually the choreographer (and producer?) for the movie... knowing that made me love it so much more and made it so much more heartbreaking.


If you do read the book, I suggest you read it before watching the movie because it's one of the rare occassions where the movie is just... more.


*This is not a book that was turned into a movie... it was a movie first, then the book was written based on the movie, so it follows the plot and dialogue almost exactly.


  1. Oh, man - I LOVE this movie! It was better than the original, I think, except that the original has that nostalgia thing going for it. I just found the story interesting, the dancing was great - the lead female bothered me a bit, but her parents were fantastic. And Diego Luna? Well, I could say plenty about him but, let's just keep it at "I'm a huge fan!" And who doesn't dream of a latin tryst when they're young, eh?

  2. I can't even begin to describe how much I LOVED the movie! It was just totally awesome! And you're right, there was just so much passion in everything. I'll take your word about the book though and not read it.


  3. Great movie even though the original was the best - still need to read the book. Btw did you see they are FINALLY making a Dirty Dancing Festival in the town where the movie was filmed - Lake Lure North Carolina? I am so there. www.DirtyDancingFestival.com



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