The Way You Make Me Feel
Written by Maurene Goo
Published by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Publication date: 8th May 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Find the giveaway at the end of this review!
Driving through K-town in a clunky food truck was no joke. No matter what time of day, traffic was always jammed and my usual weaving, raging style was seriously cramped by both the cars and the unwieldiness of the giant truck. I didn’t really mind; it was always fun to people-watch in traffic since K-Town was one of the few neighborhoods in LA where people actually walked.
There were professionals in business wear; teenagers in giant headphones and backpacks; grandmothers clutching hands of toddlers and children. All within the shadows of the skyscrapers and strip malls pushed up against one another. Koreatown was an LA neighborhood that told the city’s entire history through its architecture—from 1920s apartment buildings with art deco iron lettering on top of the roofs to the neon, layered storefronts that arrived loudly in Los Angeles via Seoul.
I felt at home here, not only because I’m Korean American, but because it was a blend of old and new LA. I related to this future version of America that wasn’t tidy but layered, improvised, and complicated.
When we first meet Clara she is causing chaos in her school assembly by flinging tampons around and declaring that women should not have to be slaves to their biology. I fell for her straightaway!
As a main character, Clara is flawed, beautiful and just trying to muddle her way through this strange thing called life, like the rest of us. I liked how her identity as biracial is something that she is proud of, rather than a source of difficulties. I also liked how pretty much everyone in her friendship group is bilingual, biracial, etc as this is so much more realistic than when everyone is the same! I liked how all the main characters are from different backgrounds, yet have more in common with each other than different.
Rose was another interesting character – at first she seemed like a stereotype, just there so Clara had someone to act out against, but she developed greater depths. I loved that a female friendship was at the centre of this book, even though there was romance. To be honest, I enjoyed the friendship and their awkward banter more than the romance…
Just a warning for all readers – this book will make you hungry as all the food and drink described sounds so yummy!
If you’re looking for a feel-good summer story with diverse characters, strong relationships and finding yourself, this should be next on your list!
I realized right then—how disappointed you could be when you were all in with someone. When you cared so deeply. How your heart could break, so precisely and quickly.
But I’d always known that. Ever since my mom left my dad, left us. And everything since then had been an attempt to keep myself so far away from all that. Anything real, anything difficult to hold on to.
As I stood there surrounded by three people who had the ability to do just that—crack my chest open to all the disappointment and difficulty and grief—I knew I still wanted it. The risk of the bad stuff was so worth the good stuff. People who would be there for you even when you messed up and behaved like a little jerk? They were the good stuff.
What I liked: All of the characters were diverse and realistic – diversity is what the real world is like so it’s great to finally see this reflected in a book rather than everyone being the same. I loved Clara and Rose as they were both such flawed, yet realistic character and their clashes, awkwardness and friendship was the true heart of this book. I also loved Clara’s relationship with her dad and the way they bantered with each other.
Even better if: I really wanted to ship Clara and Hamlet, but I just…didn’t. I am a sucker for a bit of romance so am often looking for the little clues that characters might like each other, but I didn’t feel like they got to know each other very well so I wanted more development of their relationship.
How you could use it in your classroom: I could see this being really popular with any existing fans of contemporary YA, any foodies (it will seriously make you hungry) or anyone who is looking to find themselves in a book with the biracial protagonist or simply would like to read a book more reflective of the society in which we live.
(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC for the purposes of this blog tour and to The Book Maiden for letting me take part!)
Visit some of the other great blogs taking part in the blog tour:
Thanks for reading!