The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
An e-galley was provided by Macmillan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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 Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm gonna be honest with y'all. I didn't love Maurene Goo's I Believe in a Thing Called Love. So the fact that I devoured this book and never wanted it to end says a lot. It was everything I love in contemporary YA - friendship, family, romance, and fun.
Clara and Rose start as a bit one-dimensional, but their characters develop so well. Clara goes through some great changes and realizations, and I loved finding all of Rose's layers. Clara's friend group from before helped develop her personality, and although they felt more like plot devices, Patrick and Felix did have personalities. I also loved the relationship dynamics between Clara and each of her parents. She's always loved her dad and appreciated him, but when she finds out just how much he's done for her, it gets even better. I did wish there were more consequences for some of Clara's choices towards the end of the novel, but I guess it did feel very Gilmore Girls-esque that Adrian (Clara's dad) didn't do much.
The romance element is fun. Hamlet is a bit caricature-ish at times, but I do really love the trend of earnest, dorky love interests. I appreciated where the end of the story took Hamlet and Clara and their potential for a future. And this is a tiny little thing, but I liked that they weren't both Korean. Often, with a POC lead (especially Asian-American leads), the love interest is either white or the same ethnicity, so it was nice to see something different.
I will say that the food truck plot wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly, but I loved how it was a vehicle for change and growth.
Content warning: Underage drinking. Minor violence.
The Verdict: So, so, so much fun.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Yes!!