{Review} THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL by Maurene Goo


Don't have time to read a full review?
Here's a short summary from when I briefly discussed the book in a wrap-up video on YouTube instead. 
The video jumps right to the good stuff:

YouTube Link


O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Crisp edges, a pointy nose, and just hte right weight. I held it up, closing my left eye to aim it toward the stage. Rose Carver and her short-brimmed black hat were in fine form today, a perfect target, her face lit up beatifically by the stage lights. As she went on about junior prom announcements, I grew more focused. 
"Clara, aim it at her face."
My eyes swept over to Patrick Keen sitting next to me. He was slouched so far down in his seat that his chin was touching his chest, his long, pale limbs folded into an impossible position. 
"That's not how I roll, jerk," I said.
"Yeah, we're here for the giggles, not tears," Felix Benavides whispered from my other side. He looked at me for approval when he said it, eyebrow arched.
Sometimes these two really knew how to kill a joke. Glancing around the auditorium to make sure no teachers were watching, I lifted the plane into my line of vision ... 
"Clara Shin!" 
I startled, the paper plane dropping by my feet with a clatter. The voice had come over the speakers. Why was Rose saying my name up there?
I cupped my hands around my mouth and bellowed, "WHAT?" It reverberated off the wood-paneled walls and high ceilings. 
Rose rolled her eyes and exhaled into the microphone, making it squawk. "I just said you're nominated for junior prom queen." She held up a piece of paper and stared at it, in disbelief at the words she was seeing. 
Patrick and Felix burst out laughing and then reached over me to high-five each other. Oh my GOD. "I'm going to kill you guys," I hissed.

(Page 1, US e-book edition)

“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 when you messed up and behaved like a little jerk? They were the good stuff.” 

Are you making a list of the perfect books to read this summer? (Or do you want to read a book with a really great YA Dad after celebrating Father's Day this past weekend??) Make sure you put THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL by Maurene Goo on your list!

I've heard nothing but great things about Goo, but never read her myself until this book--and now I want to run out and buy her entire backlist! (In fact, I have since read I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE and her brand-new release SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW -- and you guys know I don't binge a lot of contemporary!)

What's worse than losing your entire summer vacation because of one stupid mistake? Spending it side by side with your mortal enemy. And your dad. On a sweltering food truck...

Clara Shin isn't one to take things seriously. When her friends nominate her for prom queen as a joke, she thinks it's hilarious. She doesn't intend to actually try for the title...until Rose Carver tells her to drop out. The two girls are NOT friends and Clara decides to stay in the race just to annoy her classmate. On prom night, Clara wins the crown and immediately gets into a huge feud with Rose. The two girls almost burn the school gym down and their punishment is spending the summer working on Clara's father's food truck to help pay for the damages. Neither Clara nor Rose are going to get the summer they were anticipating, and if they can learn to work together, they might find a friendship worth keeping!

Not enough YA titles focus on friendship. Or on families. THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL has a strong emphasis on both. There's still romance involved, of course, but it's more of a side story. The main focus is on Clara and her relationships with her parents and with learning to get along with Rose. I ADORED Clara's father Adrian. Clara and her dad are a lot like Lorelei and Rory Gilmore. They have a great bond and he should totally be named YA Father of the Year. He is seriously one of my all-time favorite YA dads. It's also really awesome that he steps up and makes the girls take responsibility for their actions. He came to the USA and brought his Korean and Brazilian backgrounds with him, blending the two to create the delicious food he serves on his food truck the KoBra (Korean-Brazilian food!). If the KoBra ever came to my town, I'd definitely get in line for a taste! (And often got so hungry reading this one, too!)

I really like how much Clara changes and evolves and grows throughout the novel. She forms a more close-knit bond with her father. She lets herself be vulnerable and winds up forming relationships she never thought she'd have with both Rose and a guy named Hamlet. She re-evaluates the friendships and relationships that have been so important to her for so long--and have perhaps been toxic. She discovers there is more to life than pranks and jokes. She is changing and growing and evolving. This summer changes Clara, and she exits it a completely different person from whom she was at the start. I adored watching her development and thought it was a huge focal point of the novel. I also really loved the way it chronicled growing up and the way we change and evolve and grow apart from our interests as we discover more about ourselves, which is such a crucial part of teen and young adult life. We can't stay who we are, and Clara grows up a lot in this book! Readers will really embrace her efforts as she begins her voyage of self-discovery.

I really loved seeing where Clara lives, the way she interacts with the people in her life, the things she loves that are important to her. This was a fantastic #OwnVoices book, and so much fun to read. THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL is perfect for summer. If you like contemporary, you're really going to enjoy this one!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( Kissing ) 
Language:PG13 ( WTF, name calling such as bitch and dick. ) 
Violence: G ( Non-graphic fight at prom )
Other: PG ( Underage drinking; mention of a time Clara once smoked )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love that they used a model that actually looked like Clara on the cover and didn't whitewash. I also love that she's wearing a shirt featuring her dad's food truck  I'm not a big fan of the chosen gradient and the book wouldn't really pop at the store to me -- but it's also marketed toward readers more into contemporary than I am! It's not my go-to genre to begin with, so I may have overlooked this one (And that would have been so unfortunate!) I do like the structuring and use of color in the title and author name!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Maurene Goo
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus,  and Giroux // Macmillan
Received: For Review

 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.