Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.
The publisher send me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Way You Make Me Feel is an incredibly good and adorable read, full of yummy food descriptions, and it should definitely be on your summer TBR.
I didn’t have very high expectations going into this book, since I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Goo’s previous book, was a 3-star read for me. This book sounded a bit more exciting (I love it when books have food-related elements) but I definitely didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I was sucked into the book from the start, and finished it in just 2 days. I didn’t want to put it down because the book just made me so happy.
Just as in Goo’s previous book, there’s an amazing father-daughter relationship. Clara’s parents were very young when she was born, and her mother took off when she was 4 so she could travel and be a fashion blogger. Her mother is still in Clara’s life but she hardly ever sees her, and her dad has basically raised her on his own. Their dynamics are incredible, and it was great to see their relationship grow, and to see Clara appreciate what he’s done for her more and more. He’s probably the best YA dad I’ve ever read about.
Clara’s dad owns a food truck, in which Clara has to spend her summer working, and I absolutely loved reading about that. Just seeing how it works, and seeing them prep food and driving around was incredibly interesting. The only downside to it was that there were a lot of delicious food descriptions (they also go to a few restaurants where there are amazing food descriptions included as well), and it made me incredibly hungry.
I loved seeing Clara’s character growth throughout the book. I kind of recognized my teenage self in her at the beginning of the book; thinking that everything is dumb, only hanging out with guys, etc. I was just about a 100 times more shy than she was, and didn’t pull any pranks. Through spending the summer with people she normally wouldn’t spend time with, working and being responsible, she grows so much. You can really see her kind of grow up, and I liked how the author didn’t portray it as an easy thing by making Clara leave a few friends behind that brought out the worst in her, but it still hurt for her to leave them behind.
I really liked Rose’s character. We first get to know her as a very uptight girl that Clara hates, but overtime, Clara begins to see that Rose isn’t that bad. We also learn that Rose has anxiety, and the way she explained that to Rose was incredibly relatable. Seeing Rose and Clara go from rivals to best friends was a great experience.
I also really liked Hamlet, and the romance in general. It was incredibly adorable and awkward, and I loved how much Hamlet liked Clara, and how much he respected her. And how hard Clara fell for him in return. Hamlet was so soft, and I couldn’t stop smiling while reading about their dates. It was just too cute.
One thing that I had a problem with in this book, however, was the ableist language. Words like ‘ins*ne’ were used multiple times, and there was a scene in which Clara says that her dad has trypophobia and that he has a severe reaction to pictures of barnacles, and she’s angry with him so she spends the entire day sending him pictures of this. This is so far from okay, and I was so angry when I read that scene. I get wanting to annoy someone when you’re pissed at them, but purposely triggering someone? Yeah, that’s not okay, at all.
So, while there’s a lot of things that I adored about the book, it definitely has some flaws. But I do have a feeling that this is going to be one of my favorite contemporaries of the year, and that I might want to read it again during the summer. And that does say something, because I never reread books.