I finally read it! I finally stopped making excuses as to why I shouldn’t read this book at this moment, and went for it. AND IT WAS SO GOOD! I’m so excited to read Maurene Goo’s other books, but for now, let’s talk about this one.
About The Book
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, Published May 8th, 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Recommended reading age is 12+
Trigger Warnings: Parental abandonment, Fire, physical fighting, Broken Bones
Official Synopsis: 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?
About The Author
Maurene Goo is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults, including I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Somewhere Only We Know, and The Way You Make Me Feel. She also writes for Marvel’s Silk series.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and cats.
Where to Find Them
The cover was designed by Elizabeth H. Clark and the photo was taken by Danil Nevsky. The model is exactly how I pictured Clara, and I love that she’s wearing a KoBra t-shirt! The color scheme is also just gorgeous, and has very Bi vibes (which is probably why I thought Clara and Rose were going to get together tbh).
I love the pairing of the yellow and hot pink lettering on the inside/outside of the jacket as well, because it matches the teal and shades of pink so well!
Plot & Characters
The characters were teenagers under lots of stress who needed outlets to let some steam off. I’ll be honest, I thought this book was going to be about Clara and Rose falling in love over the summer while working Clara’s dad’s food truck, and I’m only a little bit disappointed that that didn’t happen. Instead, we got to meet Hamlet aka the cutest book boyfriend ever. Seriously, Clara wasn’t wrong in her description of calling him a Labrador. Big and goofy and full of happiness.
I feel like we as the readers went on the growth arc that Clara went on as well. When you first meet her, she is with her two best friends and the three of them are not what you would call the best influences. Clara and Rose are constantly going at it, Clara and her friends are the practical jokers in the back of the class, and that’s when they devise the more, shall we say ‘unique’, plan for accepting the prom queen nomination on Clara’s behalf (If she wins, that is.) (Spoiler alert: she does, and Rose is pissed.) That’s when Clara’s dad sentences her to a summer working the food truck with any pay she may earn going to repair the damage caused to the school. And Rose’s parents agree that that would be a fitting punishment for both of them.
Throughout the summer, you see Clara grow up, Rose calm down overall, and learn to become friendly under the circumstances. A true ‘coming-of-age’ story.
I really loved the scene when Clara and Hamlet go on a date, but end up at his surrogate grandparent’s house instead, and then they make it a thing to do. Just hang out and play video games with his grandparents.
I also really enjoyed the scenes when Clara and Rose got to act like teenage girls, despite their differences and arguments, they got to just be friends talking about school, extra-curriculars, boys, and home life.
Least Favorite Moments
I wasn’t a big fan of Clara’s mom, especially when Clara made her out to be such a saint at first. I know that was the point, was for the reader to find out alongside Clara that her mother wasn’t all that she was cracked up to be, but still.
I also didn’t like the scene with Clara’s dad and his girlfriend when they took Clara out to eat and humiliated her in front of his girlfriend AND trash talked her mother? He crossed a line, and he and Clara both knew it.
If I’m looking for a bittersweet romance with a fun friendship, I’d probably read this again! It was cute.
This was a really fun and heartfelt book, and I’m excited to read Maurene’s other books (and to see what she writes next!)