ARC review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

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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?

The Way You Make Me Feel has been at the top of my Most Anticipated list for 2018 ever since I saw the cover way back when. I don’t even know what it is about this cover, but it drew me in and I knew that I had to read this book. I can’t say that I really loved the story, but I do still love the cover.

The book turned out to be a much younger YA than I was expecting. You know how in some YA books, the characters act like mini-grown ups? Not the case here. Clara and her gang of friends act like stupid, immature teenagers through most of the book. Clara herself is a little jerk who never thinks of anyone aside from herself. She and her friends live for pranks, always dreaming up something bigger and better for next time. Clara’s nemesis is Rose, also a little jerk, but one who thinks that Clara and her friends are beneath her. The characters fit into very specific molds which reminded me very much of the YA of my youth.

This is billed as a young adult romance, but I think of it more as a coming of age story than anything else. This is a book about Clara learning to think of someone other than herself. It’s a book about consequences. It’s about family and appreciating what your parents have given you. It’s about friendship and analyzing whether the connections you’ve made are really going to benefit you in the long run. The romance is the least important part of this book. In all honesty, it’s pretty forgettable.

Sometimes, a YA book will make me look back on my high school days with rose-colored glasses. Oh, to be young again, I think, as I sit here preparing for my ten-year high school reunion. Other YA books make me very glad to be grown and away from that drama. The Way You Make Me Feel falls firmly into the second category. I have no desire to go back to the petty arguments and stupid feuds of high school. I connected more with Clara’s dad, Adrian, than I did with any of the teenage characters. Adrian is actually one of the best and most present YA parents in recent memory, so bonus points for that!

This was my first book by Maurene Goo. I might not have loved it as much as I’d expected, but I did have fun. I have I Believe in a Thing Called Love on my TBR for later this year.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

I received a free advance copy of The Way You Make Me Feel from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review. The Way You Make Me Feel releases on May 8, 2018.