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.
Buy it – Amazon
Loved. This. Book.
And I didn’t expect to. I started, but didn’t finish (yet) another book by this author at the beginning of the year. It didn’t catch my interest, I closed it, and never opened it again. Well, after reading THIS, I’m going to be trying that book again pretty soon.
Why didn’t I initially want to read this?
The fact that it’s set in LA (I feel like EVERY YA book is set in LA these days).
And I read a preview of it earlier in the summer, and I hated the main character from those first few pages.
Then I read past the first ten pages one day on the train and fell in love.
Like literally fell in love. Reading this book felt like I stepped in a time machine, and I was 16 again, hanging at the library reading books just like this. It reminded me why I love to write, and who I want to write for. In my opinion, Books are SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. They’re supposed to draw you in and force you to finish them in a day. (*COUGH* I read this in about six days, only pulling out the physical version when I was on the BART for work.)
THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.
What I loved :
The main character changed SO much throughout the course of this novel, and it’s the best I’ve red in a very long time. Clara is not the same person she is at the start of the novel, nor are the side characters.. No one is perfect, and they all have their own flaws that they recognize.
Here’s a small section that really resonated with me –
Hamlet looked at me, his expression hardening as well. “You know what? You’ve asked me why I like you. I’ve given you reasons. I’ve even told you I love you.” I flinched. He kept going. “And while you’ve never told me why you like me, I have my own theories—the main one being that you’ve surrounded yourself with people who enable this side of you, and I don’t.”
“What side of me?” My voice was acid.
“The side of you that can’t handle being real, that thinks it’s special not to care.” He stood up and put his hands into his shorts pockets. “But, Clara, it’s the least special thing about you. It’s the exception.”
There were so many comebacks that flew to my mouth, so many mean things I wanted to throw at him. But his words cut straight through my chest and into my heart. Before I could recover, he walked away from me, leaving me alone with a bunch of ferns and aimless koi fish. – 250
This is something that took me a long time to realize. Your friends can really determine the kind of person you are. Not that everyone is a follower, blasè blasè blasè. But if you hang out with a group of friends who are usually in trouble and pushing the edge…you’re going to be both associated and pulled into most of their antics. And guess what? They’re going to hype you up, like you’re the pope. I think one part of growing up is realizing what kinds of friends are actually valuable in your life. The new people Clara brought into her life weren’t afraid to call her out, and question her motives. Those are the kinds of people you need in your life.
My favorite characters were Rose, and Clara’s dad.
Yes, I loved Rose because she’s black. But other than that, I could relate to Rose in so many other ways. More than I thought I would. I mean, my parents aren’t rich, and we definitely don’t hold dinners for politicians. But we both have struggled with anxiety. I love how both Clara and Rose added something worthwhile in their friendship. Each learned something from the other, and in the end, despite their differences, they become friends.
Here’s one of my favorite Rose quotes from the book –
And to my surprise, Rose didn’t shut it down. She fiddled with her straw. “Kind of. Sometimes I think it’s just me being a worrywart? I’ve always been this way. I worry about everything. And sometimes the dumbest stuff keeps worrying me, days and weeks after.” A breeze hit us then, and it felt so good. She lifted her face up to it. “It’s like this pitch-black field where I’m forced to walk, and I know there’s a giant hole somewhere waiting for me. So I’m constantly thinking about it, when I’m going to drop into this pit.”
That sounded like a literal nightmare, and it hit me then how seemingly perfect people were just as messed up as everyone else. I stayed quiet so she would keep talking.
“Sometimes, I can’t … live in the moment. I’m always thinking of what-ifs and the terrible things people could be thinking about me.” She looked up at me. “I always think everyone’s mad at me. All the time. And it’s like, I don’t really care? But I do. It’s hard to explain.”
“You mean, like your parents?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No. I mean, yeah, of course[…] – 240
That’s an extremely accurate description of what anxiety feels like.
I also loved Clara’s dad. Single fathers seem to be commonplace in this author’s novels? Her dad had her when he was 20 (?), and I love how he was written super young. The guy read like someone who was still fun, and living life, but accepted the massive responsibilities of being a single dad (her mom didn’t. yikes.). And I loved the concept of teens running a food trunk. I can say that I’ve never read that before.
That’s it for my review today. I’m trying not to post star reviews, but it’s pretty hard. So UH… FOUR STARS.