For What It's Worth

Thursday, May 24, 2018

review: the way you make me feel by Maurene goo


35704397From 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. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: I was a little leery of reading The Way You Make Me Feel at first. I (mostly) enjoyed Goo’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love but took issue with the lack of growth of that books MC (Desi) over the course of the story.

When I saw that Clara was yet another protag that enjoys pranks (same as Desi) and was fairly unlikable at first I was sure I was going to bail on this book but what drew me in to I Believe in a Thing Called Love and kept me reading The Way You Make Me Feel was the family dynamics. 

16 year old Clara lives with her dad while her mom is a Lifestyle Influencer, traveling around the globe, documenting her life on social media, and is rarely in Clara’s life unless it ties in with a work assignment. Her parents had Clara when they were 18, never married and separated when Clara was 4 years old. Her dad, Adrian, is still young (in his early 30’s & a looker) and is fairly lenient with Clara since he once rebelled against his strict parents and tries to be a little looser with her.

Clara crosses a line at school with one of her pranks and dad cracks down. As punishment, she is forced to work with her arch nemesis, Rose, on her his food truck – KoBra (which serves  her father's native Korean/Brazilian food) for the summer in exchange for not being suspended at school.

I’m going to be completely honest and say that I think most people won’t like this book. Unless you make it to the 1/2 way point – all you will see is a self absorbed, flippant character who doesn’t really care about or take the time to understand anyone around her. Everything is a game or potential prank to her.

It wasn’t until Clara and Rose were thrown into a forced proximity friendship that Clara finally started to soften and think about the people around her. Rose is seemingly stuck up & judgemental but has her reasons and thankfully, calls Clara on her bullshit. They are really wonderful together once they open up a little.

If you make it that far (or don’t mind unlikable MC’s) - the exploration of changing friendships, letting yourself open up to new feelings – even if it means you might get hurt or let down and wonderful, tear inducing, family dynamics is well worth it IMO. It’s messy but real and I think would help teen readers relate to all the changes you go through at that age. Clara does grow and even becomes selfless in regards to others but it does take some time for her to get there.

The romance fell a little flat for me but that’s fine. It wasn’t the main focus and I loved how Goo showed that you can just date – or not – or date without it being love. That’s a really nice thing to see in YA.

But the real star of this book is Clara and her dad. My heart cracked and got pieced back together watching these two work through their relationship. Another rarity in YA are parents but is something this author does SO well. I grew up with just my dad (although under totally different circumstances) and it's such an awkward dynamic at times but it was written well. 

I know this isn't going to be the book for everyone (way to sell it Karen! lol) but if you're looking for a messy, realistic YA filled with diversity (I especially loved the descriptions of LA and the food)  and family dynamics that tug at your heartstrings - give this one a try. Despite a few heavy topics - it's a fairly light, fast read. Perfect for summer. 

34 comments:

  1. I kind of dislike her already...

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    1. I have to be honest - she's pretty unlikable at first but I think she grew by the end. In Goo's first book, I felt like that girl was still pulling dangerous pranks right until the very end and it pissed me off. But I think Clara became better.

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  2. Clara sounds like she may have learned a lesson at the halfway point in this book. Great review!

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    1. She does learn over time which is the key to winning me over.

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  3. Gah! I want to read this but at the same time i don't lol

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    1. I think you would like her and her dad but might not have the patience to get there lol

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  4. Probably not the book for me but I'm glad you liked it.

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    1. it was a struggle at first but I did end up liking it.

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  5. This sounds like a book that requires some patience, but it pays off in the end. I had an experience with the last book I read with unlikeable characters who evolve.

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    1. It does. She's pretty insufferable at first. I didn't like Goo's first book in this series because I felt the MC did not learn anything but I Clara did grow.

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  6. This sounds like it has a lot of depth (eventually) which I find lacking in too many YA books but I don't know if I have the patience to wait it out ;)

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    1. I can totally see (& understand) people quitting this one. She doesn't pull her shit together until almost 1/2 way.

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  7. Your review actually has me intrigued. As long as there is character growth at some point I'm good. And the relationship between her and her dad is one i think I would like to follow. Great review!

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    1. She does mature but not for a while. But I loved that friends supported her - but didn't let her get away with anything.

      And the dad...tears. It was such a special relationship.

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  8. Even though you didn't like the MC, I'm glad you liked the book and that the MC's dad was as awesome as he was. :D

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    1. He was awesome! And had some growing to do to.

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  9. I'm not sure that I will pick this one up, but I'm glad it ended up being good for you. I do really like that cover, though.

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  10. "I’m going to be completely honest and say that I think most people won’t like this book. Unless you make it to the 1/2 way point" Thank you for the heads up, I got all excited then I'm like uhhhh I might or might not give this a go. If I do though I'll grab from the library.

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    1. That's a good idea. I've had several friends give up on it and I totally get that.

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  11. Ya know, you're not the first person to say that this book starts off rough with an unlikable MC, but is a great read because of her character growth throughout the story. It's nice to know that she learns and grows as the story develops. I, personally, like it when a character evolves throughout a book.

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    1. Oh man is she self absorbed and just generally not nice. If you can handle that - because she does grow! - then give it a try Kristin!

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  12. Woosh. That is a long time to go for an unlikable character to have a turn around. Strong girl you were pushing through. lol

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  13. That definitely sounds stressful! I must have been hiding under a rock because I haven't given a thought to this at all. I will have to look into it pronto.

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    1. Blogger should have taken care of the cookie notification and otherwise, for you blog, I would think you would just need the generic Google privacy information (feel free to copy mine if needed and adjust for you) and that should be it since you don't do giveaways or antyhing.

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  14. I adored Clara's dad. At first, it seemed like dad had some growing up to do too, but when Clara shared those moments from when she was younger, it really showed how far her dad had come, and what an awesome dad he was. I must say, Goo does single dads really well, because I loved Desi's dad too.

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    1. Yeah - her dad was so lenient at first but I got why after things were explained and omg - those letters Clara found of her moms. I cried a little.

      It was hard to read the book at first and wait for all the good stuff to unravel but it was worth it.

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  15. Im glad you ended up perservering and enjoying the book, great review

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    1. It was worth it in the end but I can see why people would quit early on lol

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  16. Ahh. I like a flawed protagonist but not particularly an unlikable one. We're all a little narcissistic at times but there needs to be that learning curve. I love the sound of her single father though, which we rarely see in young adult. Still interested in giving this one a try but will stick with it through that first half, as frustrating as it sounds. Great review Karen and glad you were still able to find enjoyment overall ♥♥♥

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    1. She's just so flippant about people's feelings at first and plays everything off as a joke. It's so annoying but if you can hang in there - she does grow.

      I almost didn't though because Desi, in Goo's other book, didn't ever learn IMO.

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  17. I'm here for the family dynamic. I can normally put up with an unlikable MC as long as there is some character development going on and sounds like you get it if you can stick it out some. I will have to remember to check this out.

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  18. Oh no, what a pity! I don't mind an unlikeable and immature protagonist most of the time, but if they're unlikeable for 50% of the book I might struggle with that. One thing this book has going for it is a gorgeous cover though, so at least there's that! 😂

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