Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books
Release Date: May 8th 2018
“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.”
“I felt at home here, not only because I’m Korean American, but because it was a blend of old and new L.A. I related to this future version of America that wasn’t tidy but layered, improvised, and complicated.”
Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel is the perfect lighthearted and fun summer read you should be reaching for in the coming months. Clara Shin has cultivated a reputation for trouble and high jinks. Not one to take anything too seriously, Clara loves making a game out of anything. Pissing off Rose Carver, all-around know-it-all and overachiever, is just the icing on the cake. When Clara’s plan to have a little fun at prom ends with her and Rose wrestling over a tiara, resulting in accidental fire, Clara’s dad concocts an plan for the two of them to work on his food truck over the summer to avoid suspension. It’s the worst punishment Clara could ever imagine. But with each passing day, Clara begins to realize there’s more to Rose than the pristine facade she shows everyone. And as Clara begins to take a more serious interest in her dad’s business, Clara begins to realize there may be more to her than her own frivolous facade.
Clara is the kind of character who might rub some readers the wrong way, but I loved her nonetheless. This is a novel for those of us who will never be mistaken for being the nice one. For those more comfortable making snarky comments than accepting compliments. Clara has no problem letting people know what she thinks. She terrible when it comes to taking responsibility for her actions. Clara thrives off of attention and is the kind of teen that thinks caring too much would make her uncool. She’s stubborn and difficult and sometimes obnoxious. There were moments where I though Clara was being a real brat, but I was less interested in this and more invested in her growth over the course of the summer. I loved seeing a female friendship blossom and grow. Though Clara and Rose could not be more different, they eventually manage to find common ground. They find something in each other that they never had in another female friend. Their rivalry has always brought the worst out in each other, but their friendship ends up allowing each girl to mature and embrace a different side of herself.
I loved Clara’s budding romance with Hamlet, who is very different from Clara, but whose geekiness she finds nonetheless endearing. Hamlet was thoughtful and sincere; unlike Clara, he was all in from the beginning and his warm personality made it hard for her to resist for long. While I enjoyed both these relationships, the highlight of the novel is Clara’s relationship with her father. Their rapport is sweet and genuine. Clara is used to her dad being easy-going with her, so when he buckles down after her prank, it throws the harmony between the two out of sync. They eventually find their footing again with one another. Clara begins to understand how important a step her dad’s food truck is in his dream to eventual run a restaurant. Clara comes to appreciate just how much he cares about her and to recognize the small sacrifices he’s made to make her happy.
The Way You Make Me Feel a fun, quick read that is undeniable adorable and may have you unexpectedly tearing up at its warmhearted ending.