I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
This book made the best first impression in the world. I spotted the cover on Twitter, added it to my TBR, and then later added another of Goo’s books based on how much I wanted to read this book. The Way You Make Me Feel also became one of my most anticipated books to read in 2018, again, pretty much based on the first impressions alone.
What I thought
Clara is a class clown who is too cool for everything. When she wins prom queen, she pulls an ultimate prank. Rose, the junior class president and Clara’s nemesis, gets upset and they end up getting into a fight. As a punishment, Clara and Rose are made to work on Clara’s dad’s food truck for the summer. Can Clara and Rose manage to get along for the summer? Can Clara show that she can actually care about something, or even someone?
Let me preface my review by saying this was probably the #1 book I was looking forward to read. My excitement for this book grew tenfold after reading I Believe in a Thing Called Love, which I enjoyed so much. Now, I only say all this because sometimes I feel like when you have such high expectations, nothing can live up to it. I only feel like that happened to this book a little bit, but I am going to try to separate my expectations from the story itself. But I mean, I finished this book in like a day, so I think it’s safe to say I still really enjoyed it.
First off, Clara is not a likeable character for the majority of the book. Not that every character needs to be likeable, but she’s a bit of a brat. She lives to be apathetic and mocks anyone who cares about anything. As a result, she has terrible friends and is kind of a bitch a lot of the time. A lot of this gets explained, and it does make her behavior more understandable, but I still would never want to be friends with her.
One of the things I have loved in the two books I’ve read by Goo are the spotlight she gives to dads of teenage girls. Both books have had dads raising their daughters and they have had the best relationships. As much as I love a good mother/daughter relationships (I mean, hello Gilmore Girls!), but it’s so nice to see a good father/daughter relationship with dads who actually know what they’re doing.
The other thing that I love about Goo’s writing is her ability to include diverse cultures and people without it seeming forced. I never feel as though she is throwing in characters just to have a different culture. Everything seems so genuine and I love it. I also had no idea that there was a large Korean immigrant population in Brazil so that was fascinating!
Can I also take a minute to rave about how well Goo writes friendships and relationships in general? The banter between Clara and her dad is great, the love/hate relationship and development of friendships between Clara and Rose is great, even the side characters have fun relationship stories. I do wish there had been a bit more of Rose though. I would devour a book just about Rose and her life. She’s a dancer and a perfectionist in all aspects of her life, and I loved her.
Like I said, I finished this book in a day. It was easy and fun to read and I enjoyed every moment. I looked forward to picking it up every time and it just made me happy. I only wish that I had liked Clara a little more. Unfortunately, I am not a reader who cheers for the anti-hero. She’s not a villain or anything, and I think at her core she is a good person, but she doesn’t act kind and a lot of her attitude irritated me. Please take this criticism with a grain of salt. I am not a teenager, and like I said, I am not someone who connects easily with unlikeable characters, even though I know not everyone in the real world is likable.
If you're interested in this book (which you definitely should be), the Blog Tour is hosting a giveaway for a hard copy!
Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She studied communication at UC San Diego and then later received a Masters in publishing, writing, and literature at Emerson College. Before publishing her first book, Since You Asked, she worked in both textbook and art book publishing. She also has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants and lives in Los Angeles.