Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in May 2018
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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 by Maurene Goo was a sweet YA contemporary about relationships and how the more invested you become in something or someone, the more emotional risk you have in that relationship.
I’m going to be completely honest… I was a Rose in high school. I never had a meltdown that leads to violence, but I definitely would have freaked out if someone pulled a “Carrie” at Junior Prom, which I helped plan as a member of student class government. So as you can imagine, it was harder for me to connect with Clara, who was very fond of pranks, initially.
Clara, however, had great character growth as she became more invested in her friendships, family, and the KoBra food truck. I ended up really loving her. She did a lot of things that I honestly would have never gotten away with, but I understood her intentions behind her actions. It was also fun to get to know Rose more instead of simply in the lens Clara initially had of her.
The romance between Clara and Hamlet was cute, but it was definitely secondary to everything else going on with Clara. Hamlet did help to break down some of the walls Clara had to distance herself from people.
I loved how the story ended at the food truck competition. I think it fully displayed Clara’s growth over the summer. I did wish that the story extended a bit into the new school year. I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more resolution between Clara and her various friend groups.
As a side note, I absolutely loved that the story was set in LA. I only lived there for four years in college, but man, those were some good times. LA is definitely a city worth visiting.
I highly recommend checking out The Way You Make Me Feel if you’re looking for a YA contemporary or a story featuring an Asian American main character. I loved Clara, the rest of the characters, and the backdrop of working in her father’s food truck. If you already read The Way You Make Me Feel, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me on social media.