Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Release Date - May 8, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 Way You Make Me Feel is essentially made to read in the summer. It has romance, humour, and even takes place during the summer. It's one of those feel good reads that beg to be read by a pool. It is also a character driven novel that worked for me in a lot of ways. It offers a perfect showcase for Maurene Goo's talent of creating a cast of characters that you end up loving, and the type of story that leaves you smiling. .

Clara is abrasive and sarcastic. She's cynical and closed off. She purposefully keeps people at arms length so she doesn't get hurt. She's someone who doesn't like to show when she cares about something, and doesn't take herself (or anything else) all that seriously. Everything is a joke or something to roll her eyes at. The upside to this kind of character is the growth that comes along with it. Clara's growth is one of my favourite elements of this novel and one that I predict many people will enjoy. It feels unhurried and earned by the end of the novel.

There are a few relationship dynamics that stood out for me while reading this novel. First up is the father/daughter bond that exists between Clara and her father Adrian. He's a younger father who admits he makes mistakes. He is protective and involved in her life but not in a way that felt smothering. He also goes through a bit of growth as he learns to balance being a parent with still living his life as a person outside that role.

Enemies to friends is one of my favourite type of relationship tropes and this novel had an amazing one at its core. Rose is someone who aggravates Clara for taking everything so seriously, and trying too hard. Rose cares too much and allows it to show. This puts their personality types at odds, and it causes a lot of friction between them. After being forced to work together an unlikely friendship blossoms that really changes Clara for the better. I do think both girls benefit from the friendship, but Clara is the one who especially learns from it.  They each provide something the other needs in the friendship and I appreciated that the entire novel was not them fighting the entire summer.

The last relationship that stood out to me was the romance. Hamlet is entirely adorable. Clara likens him to a golden retriever and that is fairly accurate. He's patient, supportive and respectful in a way that felt unique to many young adult love interests. Their relationship also pushes Clara outside her comfort zone and helps her learn a lot about herself. I expect that Hamlet will make plenty of readers swoon, but his easy going personality is probably my favourite part about him.

My only slight issue was that I didn't feel the story came together as strongly at the end as it started out. This has a really strong beginning and middle. The growth that Clara experiences captures the readers interest and propels us forward. The ending didn't offer the emotional pay off that I was expecting. I wanted to get a little deeper into some of the issues but it never quite got there for me. This, however, does keep it on tone (even it means it is not entirely satisfying).

This book is a fun, enjoyable young adult contemporary read. I do think the characters were the strongest part of the story with them shining just a little bit brighter than everything else. Those looking for something breezy and light to read will find plenty to enjoy in here. I look forward to whatever Maurene Goo writes next as I saw a lot of potential within this book. 

1 comment:

  1. Now that the weather is finally warming up in Chicago, I'm so in the mood for summer reads. I especially love summer romances--so much fun to take them outside and breeze through them. Clara sounds like the perfect main character; I love abrasive people who grow by delving into new relationships. Great review!


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