The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Genre: YA Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Publication: May 8th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 288 pages
Format: ARC from Fierce Reads
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.
Huge thanks to my friends from Fierce Reads and Tin from The Book Maiden for sending me a review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review and participating in the blog tour that they’re hosting. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
I was enthralled by Maurene Goo’s sophomore novel ever since I first saw the cover for it. With a vibrant color combination, featuring an Asian girl on the cover, The Way You Make Me Feel easily clawed it’s way into my heart with almost no effort at all. And to be a part of this blog tour, hosted by my lovely friend Tin from The Book Maiden gives me so much joy! Read on to know my thoughts on Clara’s amazing story.
Clara Shin: Your Typical YA Heroine
I think it’s safe to say that I have this informally declared love-hate relationship with Clara Shin. Why, you ask? It’s because I almost always disagreed with some of her decisions! In the beginning, she was this annoying, whiny, impulsive, rebel of a kid, and don’t get me wrong. I understand the things she was going through (maybe not to a specific extent) but that doesn’t mean that she gets to be an ass. She became my primary frustration until after I saw her change. As the story went by, I saw how she transformed into this caring, sensitive, and open-minded young woman that everyone will get to know towards the end of the story. Again I didn’t love her, but I certainly appreciated her presence and I love getting to know her and her story.
Great Relationship Dynamics
What of the many reasons why I adored The Clara Shin’s story is because of her heartwarming relationship with her ‘Pai’. I love how their dynamic became a strong foundation for the whole story, and I was impressed at how even until after turning the last page, this core aspect remained true and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I enjoyed seeing Adrian and Clara argue and get irritated with one another, and seeing them go through such challenging situations that will test the lengths of their relationship was enlightening and touching at the same time. I honestly wouldn’t have loved this if it not for these two, amazingly well-rounded characters.
The friendship dynamic between Clara and Rose was also very impressive, even if it sometimes felt a little too forced. I mean, what are the odds of becoming friends with your mortal enemy, right? Well, with Clara and Rose, the stars seemed to have aligned just enough for them to accept their differences and acknowledge the fact that the less similarities they see in each other, the more they seem to realize that being different from one another doesn’t have to be a HUGE deal. Yes, I’ll admit that I didn’t completely buy their whole friendship dynamic (I mean, come on. They ruined prom for A LOT of people, and their altercation seem to have lasted for so long.) but in the end, I came to appreciate both of these fine, well-developed characters and they both made my reading experience for this very memorable.
The KoBra: A Subtle Fusion of Korean-Brazilian Food & Culture
To some, it might not have been as big of a thing to consider it an integral aspect of the story, but I was very engrossed at how the author was able to showcase so much culture through the food items that the KoBra sold to it’s customers. There is this scene where readers could hopefully get a glimpse into how these food items are cooked and assembled before they’re sold to the public, and albeit I didn’t get to visualize everything more clearly, I still very much appreciated the author’s effort in incorporating so much colorful culture into the overall story and in the end, I love how this food truck played such a vital role to get everything moving once again. I hope readers who can easily relate to these interesting stuff would somehow enjoy this book the same way I did.
The Romance: Sweet, but undeniably a little too insta-lovey.
The love story between Clara Shin and Hamlet Wong, in my most honest opinion, falls under the insta-love trope. They might not have literally fallen in love with each other the first time they met, but the symptoms were there. It gives off this “too convenient” vibe, and yet I can’t help but swoon every time they got together. There was something about these two that made me want to root for them both individually and as a couple, and I ultimately enjoyed seeing them get to know one another in the simplest and most common of ways. Their love story started out as a common date, and to see their admiration towards one another blossom from there was so heartfelt, I can’t help but ship them so damn hard.
“Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel, in it’s core, is a heartwarming contemporary novel that features amazingly relatable relationship dynamics, characters that are flawed but still very well developed, a plot that’s entirely captivating, and in under 300 pages, it somehow grips it’s readers and it serves them with so much love, food and culture. This book offers a unique reading experience that’s solely familiar but also quite fresh and still highly impressionable, and I would definitely recommend it to those who considers themselves a fan of the YA contemporary romance genre.”
Have YOU had the chance to read The Way You Make Me Feel yet? What are your thoughts? Share them with me via the comments section below! And if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab a copy and read Clara’s story! And check out this awesome mood board I curated:
You guys! Y’all have a chance to win one (1) signed hardcover copy of The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo! Click on this link to be redirected to the Rafflecopter giveaway widget, and be sure to follow the steps indicated there. Ends on May 5th!
Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She studied communication at UC San Diego and then later received a Masters in publishing, writing, and literature at Emerson College. Before publishing her first book, Since You Asked, she worked in both textbook and art book publishing. She also has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants and lives in Los Angeles.
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