Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The Way You Make Me Feel

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC


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 (goodreads)

The beginning was a bit rough, but I quickly fell in love with Clara's transformation. 
Plot: Admittedly, I'm not a big contemporary reader, but something about The Way You Make Me Feel drew me to the synopsis. Clara was a jokester, and after a prank that caused far more property damage than expected, she had to join her single father working his food truck which allowed her to connect with her father on a different level and meet new friends that typically wouldn't have been in her orbit. The Way You Make Me Feel was a short read that can be devoured in one sitting and I enjoyed Clara's transformation and journey. 

Characters: It took me a while to like Clara which was Maurene's point; however, I felt like all of the characters at the beginning were archetypes. Clara was selfish and didn't care for anyone else's feelings; she was a teenaged punk running around with her skateboard and dreaming of running off with her Instagram-famous mother. After she got over herself, I started to like reading about Clara and her friends, but I was especially attracted to Clara's relationship with her family. 

Worldbuilding: The coolest aspect of The Way You Make Me Feel was the food truck culture. It was fun to see the research that Goo put into this important plotline and the delicious fusion foods that were included. I was drawn to Clara because she was juggling American, Brazilian, and Korean cultures and I loved how Clara embraced all three. One aspect that bugged me a bit about the food culture scene, was that Clara's Pai (and owner of the truck) completely trusted the two teenaged girls to operate the food truck themselves. Their duties included driving the food truck to the hot spots, taking orders, cooking the food, and counting the money after each shift all by themselves. That was just too much responsibility for two girls who were working the food truck as a punishment. 

Besides that, I liked that The Way You Make Me Feel served as a love letter to L.A. Goo made use of the many hot spots in California and really made the setting a part of the story. 

Short N Sweet: The Way You Make Me Feel was the perfect contemporary read for readers looking for a fluffy summer book. 

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