Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maureen Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: May 8th 2018
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 humour, 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Clara lives for the next prank she can pull, but when she takes things a step too far at prom, getting in a fist fight with Rose Carver and nearly burning down the school, her father finally puts his foot down. Instead of spending time with her friends lounging around by the pool, Clara has to spend her whole summer working the KoBra with Rose to pay back the damage they caused, and the trip to Tulum Clara had planned with her mother is unofficially off the table.
This the first book by Maurene Goo I’ve picked up, and overall I thought it was a good story, I just wish some aspects had been better developed. At the heart of it this book focuses on Clara’s development, the changes she makes to her life over the summer working on her father’s food truck. At the beginning of this book Clara wants to be like her mother, travelling the world with no responsibilities, but that soon chances as she starts working on the KoBra.
As Clara and Rose learn how to work in the small food truck without killing each other, a tough challenge given their history, Clara realises that even though this summer isn’t what she imagined it would be, it’s not all bad. There’s a cute boy who has a crush on her, and while Hamlet isn’t her usual type that could be a good thing, she’s becoming invested in her dads food truck, and decides to enter them in a contest which could kick start his restaurant dreams, and if she can prove she’s learnt her lesson she may be able to make to Tulum after all.
This was a quick read, and a standard YA contemporary book in my mind. It has a cute romance between Clara and Hamlet, which really does prove that opposites attract, a solid friendship developing between Clara and Rose as they realise the other isn’t all bad, and an interesting family dynamic between Clara and both her parents. I think despite some of the issues that I had with this book I’d still recommend The Way You Make Me Feel, overall it’s a decent summer read.
Clara has never taken anything seriously, and she’s never really had to face the consequences of her actions, but that all changes. Even when her father puts his foot down Clara still thinks she can change his mind, that his punishment won’t last the whole summer. Clara knows a lot about how the KoBra works, about her father’s dream of owning a restaurant, but it’s only when she starts working with him that she becomes invested herself.
The relationship Clara has with her father is a close one. He was only eighteen when he had Clara so the age difference isn’t a massive one and maybe as a result of this he’s never really properly disciplined Clara when she’s made a mistake. Clara’s father is an incredibly hard worker, he’s worked his way up from the bottom and is still working his way towards his dream of owning a restaurant.
One of the things I felt needed more development was the development of Clara’s and Hamlet’s relationship. At first Clara refers to him as a Labrador puppy, and keeps saying he’s not her type and that she’s not interested in dating him. She’s attracted to him when they first meet but I didn’t get how their relationship developed past that attraction into something more when Clara kept going on about how he wasn’t her usual type.
The friendship between Clara and Rose was well written. I loved seeing how these two girls who had always been enemies, and who had never had a girl friend before each other, became closer the more time they spent working together. What I do wish had been developed more though was Clara’s friendship with Patrick and Felix. The more Clara changed, the closer she became to Rose and Hamlet, the more she moved away from the two friends she performed her epic pranks with and that never seemed to be resolved in this book.
Both Rose and Hamlet played a large part in Clara’s growth as a character. At the beginning of this book Clara doesn’t care about anything at all. She coasts through life’s playing pranks because not caring about anything is easier than working towards something and having those expectations placed on her shoulders. Rose and Hamlet however have goals, they’re passionate about different things and between them and the KoBra Clara seems to realise there are things she’s passionate about too.
The Way You Make Me Feel is a cute YA contemporary story with good individual character development, a great family dynamic and positive female friendship. I did enjoy this book I just wish that some of the relationships, particularly between Clara and Hamlet and Clara and her male friends, had been developed more.
What did you think of The Way You Make Me Feel? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.