When I saw a blog tour for this book, I jumped on it. I actually dropped everything, stopped walking, sat down on the ground, and signed up for this tour. But onto the actual book. The Way You Make Me Feel made me feel all sorts of ways – it was hilarious, it was emotional, and it had some of my all time favorite themes. Make sure you head all the way to the end for a giveaway!
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?
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Before I begin, I need to give a huge, ‘HELL YES’ to the cover. I will never get tired of seeing more POC on covers. I want them all – give them to me.
From the very beginning Clara won me over. She was someone I was so envious of because I wanted to be her. In school she would have been the person I wanted to be friends with, but was too terrified of to actually introduce myself. She oozes sass, cleverness and, above all, confidence. Clara has this no-care attitude, like things are always slightly funnier and beneath her – and that hooked me like a fish. Reel me in Clara. At the same time, Clara grows a lot in this book – she has to realize that this attitude may not always be the healthiest.
Moving on to friendships in the book, I really loved that Goo showcases friendships between men and women in a way that isn’t about the friendzone. In fact, Clara used to date one of her friends and they’re still 100% okay with being friends. There’s a few hiccups when he gets a girlfriend who feels threatened by their friendship, but I appreciated that this image is there. All my relationships have ended in flaming piles of garbage, so we could never be friends – but I do admire those people who mutually break things off.
Also, Goo showcases a really great friendship between Clara and Rose. Rose is my spirit person. She’s the person I was in high school and so to live through her and become friends with Clara felt soothing. Their friendship is one that begins out of necessity and blooms into more. It’s like instead of enemies to lovers, it’s enemies to friends and I prefer this over the other. (Also Clara is Korean American and Rose is African American – and struggles with anxiety – so that’s also amazing!)
Family and Themes
Family is a big part of this book and it’s another reason I loved it. Can you just tell that I loved this book? This entire review just lists things I loved, so the tldr is go get this book. Where I geeked out the most is family because we get to see, more or less, a single dad raising Clara. Her mom is just this mysterious enigma that pops up, but is so out of touch with motherhood or the grittiness everyday role of it. Because of this, I loved reading about Clara and her dad’s shorthand, their memories, and the ways their relationship has changed. (It made me tear up about it, so the word love is intentional).
(A family is featured in the book which doesn’t revolve around blood, it’s a family friend – and this was surprisingly important to me. I want to see more families that showcase the importance of family-choice).
At the same time, The Way You Make Me Feel showcases one of my favorite themes which is this universal fear of letting people in. After you suffer a loss, someone leaving you, or something like that, you become afraid to let people in because you know what it feels like when they leave. You remember the scorched hole they leave behind – the ways your life is never the same. And it becomes harder to let people in. They confirm this bias you have that people will leave you – that you are somehow unworthy of people who stay. And Clara struggles hard with this and it’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life. I have felt this fear so acutely and the fact that Clara has to confront it just was so emotional and touching to me.
Now other things I loved but can’t explain them all because then this would be a thesis: the food truck atmosphere, the food was phenomenal and I really could write an essay about the significance of the food (what it means that it’s a fusion restaurant and how that mirrors identity).
Suffice it to say, you need to go check this out on Goodreads.
About the Author
The Rest of the Tour
The entire tour schedule can be found here.
Follow Utopia State of Mind on WordPress.com