The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: May 8, 2018
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?
**TW for trypophobia*
My Rating:★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: The Way You Make Me Feel is not a YA Contemporary to miss! With a phenomenal cast of unforgettable characters, brilliant writing-style, and a plot that will immerse start to finish, this is a must-read summer YA Contemporary!
The very 1st novel I read by Goo, was I Believe In A Thing Called Love! I love YA Contemporary and after that book, I knew I would read her future books as well!
The Way You Make Me Feel is a book that is not only a fun and unique story, but also weaves in serious themes revolving around friendship and especially family!
What I also loved about The Way You Make Me Feel, is that even though I got through it within a matter of days, it felt I was with these characters + this story for so long! For me, that’s the best kind of story, where you become so attached to the story, setting, characters, and can’t believe the story is over when you’ve reached the last page!
Clara Shin, our main character, is the star of this novel and I loved her so much! She’s fierce, confident and a bit of trouble-maker!
As summer vacation is on the horizon, Clara has it pretty much planned out: she’s counting down the days to visit her mother Mãe in Tulum, Mexico, while her dad Adrian, works on his KoBra food truck (Korean & Brazilian fusion food).
However, when a school prank gets out of hand with her school nemesis, Rose Carver, her summer is about to change!
In order to pay for the damages caused by the prank, she now has to work on the truck with Rose and feels her entire summer has come crashing down!
Now she’s working with her nemesis, trying to find time for herself and friends Patrick + Felix, make time to plan her trip to visit her mom, and maybe begin to have feelings for a guy (Hamlet) she meets near one of the KoBra stops!
Goo’s writing not only brings the characters to life, but also the vibrant + diverse LA setting! I loved how she brought the setting to life through the littlest details, like the never-ending traffic XD, the weather, food and classic LA stops!
There is also such great diverse representation and I loved that!!~♥♥*:✧ From the Korean-American & Korean-Brazilian rep., to Hamlet who is Chinese-American, Rose who’s Black, hinted at gay rep. (Patrick), and Mexican-American rep. (Felix), Goo does such an amazing job at creating such a diverse cast of incredible characters!!
I loved each and every character! From Clara, her parents, her friends Patrick Keen & Felix Benavides, to Rose, Hamlet Wong, all the main characters just came to life from their very first introductions and I loved them so much!!
The relationships and dynamics are so real and just develop so wonderfully! From Clara & Rose’s development into a beautiful friendship, to the dynamic between Clara & her dad, + the slow but steady development of Clara’s relationship with Hamlet!
Clara is a very confident and rebellious teenager! She speaks her mind and I just loved her so much! She starts off a person who quickly brushes things off, but over the course of the novel begins to find herself changing and growing throughout the summer.
From her outlook on relationships, friendships, commitments, etc. I adored her fierce and confident side, while also loving how she began to view things from a new angle as her summer plans turned out different than she had hoped!
The relationship she develops with Hamlet was so cute! Hamlet was so kind, optimistic, ans just so sweet and I loved his contrast to Clara, seeing their dynamic grow was so lovely!!~ Their development was so well done, I loved their banter and how they grew and changed with each other throughout the summer!
Now as for the dynamic with her dad, Adrian Shin, its clear that while there is such a strong father/daughter bond between them. What I found relatable to their dynamic with my own parents, was the fun/comedic moments they’d share♥♥*:✧~
I loved seeing how Clara not only strengthened her relationship with her dad, but by the end was able to see how even though she saw a lot of herself in her mom, also saw the strengths in her dad that her mother didn’t have.
What I also admire about Goo’s work, is the development of family in her novels, especially this one! From Clara’s parents not being married, but still keeping in contact, the bond Clara has with her dad, and the overall the complexity of family in this novel is something I love and related to so much in this book! Also the family dynamic Hamlet has with “grandparents,” who are actually grandparents of family-friends while his parents are working in China!
I also adored the friendship that developed between Clara & Rose! While they didn’t get along in the beginning, they really formed this beautiful friendship and learn a lot from each other along the way.
Their forced to work together on the KoBra truck, but what surprised me (considering Rose’s very upfront/honest personality) was how she really opened up to Clara + we learn she really finds it difficult to make friends and has anxiety! Seeing how Clara really made so many efforts to make Rose feel included + get her out of her shell was so beautiful to read!
Now I’m going into 1 aspect I didn’t really like (mentioned in the TW), so I may rate this book at 4.5 instead of 5, but still deciding on an exact rating:
**I suppose my only minor issue was the “trypophobia” scene. Now, I’ve never felt triggered while reading a book before, so this was–an odd experience. I personally did find this scene triggering and just wanted to mention where it is, in case others who read this book are unaware! I find explaining this for me personally is also a bit triggering, so readers, just be wary & apologies if I’m a bit vague because of it.
I don’t usually read reviews before starting a book (so I was unaware of this scene before hand), but I had seen a couple reviews mention it, after I finished the book and looked on GR. Note: its discussed on pg. 84* (Basically Clara mentions wanting to send her dad certain triggering photos, (aka where the Trypophobia is discussed).
*Acquadimore’s reviews are always so great and found the TW discussed in her review of The Way You Make Me Feel as well!
Aside from that scene however, I really did love this book so much!
Clara undergoes quite a journey as she begins to consider and change her rebellious nature from the start of the novel. She see’s friends + family in a new light, and finds herself growing because of that!
The themes central to this novel that are explored so incredibly well and are at the heart of this story are family & friendship! There is such depth to them that are explored through Clara’s POV and her adventures throughout the summer and I loved that!
The Way You Make Me Feel is a fun + delightful YA Contemporary that captured my heart from page 1! With such incredibly developed characters and themes, a unique and immersive plot, summer adventures, and so much more, this is a perfect YA Contemporary for summer!