The Way You Make Me Feel // Book Review

Author: Maurene Goo
Published: 2018
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance
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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 Honeycut, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) on the truck next door is pretty cute. Maybe Clara’s estranged mom deserves a second chance. What if taking these relationships seriously means leaving her old self behind?

Unfortunately for me, this book was a dud. The main character, Clara, wasn’t very likable. She was a prankster, and had a reputations of being a rebel. She wasn’t sneaking out late, or drinking under age, but she did whatever she wanted. Clara was very outspoken, and sometimes I found her to be too honest.

She had a single father and pretty absent mother. A lot of books follow single parents, but the difference with this book was that her parents were teen parents. I don’t find that a lot of books go for that angle. However, the fact that they were teenage parents wasn’t a big plot point. Also, her mother was a ‘social media star’, which I didn’t care for.

The main focus of the plot was Clara having to spend the summer working at her dads food truck with her nemesis, Rose. I actually found Rose to be much more enjoyable to read about. Something that annoyed me was Clara’s attitude about working in the food truck. I understand that she was looking forward to visiting her mom over the summer, and that she’s only a teenager, but she acted like working with Rose would be like going to jail.

However, throughout the book I saw Clara grow and learn. She formed a bond with Rose, and they learned a things from one another. Although, I am not a fan of stories where characters forget about their old friends, I do understand that people grow apart. But I felt like Clara was sort of ditching her old friends, instead of having a real conversation with them about their friendships.

There was a romance aspect, but it seemed rather rushed. I know that not all romances have to be slow burns, but let’s have an actual friendship start to form before a relationship happens. From the moment Clara and Hamlet met, she was kind of obsessed with her. She was jealous when she thought he liked Rose, which is crazy since they weren’t even a thing yet.

“The person who feels no fear in their heart when seeing a freaking clown in the flesh is probably a serial killer!”

I found them to be very clingy to one another, and I didn’t like that Hamlet didn’t respect Clara’s choices. There was a moment he used the ‘boyfriend’ title. She cleared stated she wasn’t ready for that, but did he listen? Nope. Also, who says ‘I love you’ after just a short while of dating? Especially as a teenager.

As for the father and daughter relationship, I found it very refreshing. Not a lot of books focus on the family side of things. It was very real that Clara was used to being the center of her father’s world, and her reaction to that changing was understandable.

There is a food truck competition within the story, but it actually played a pretty small part of the plot. Honestly, the author could have omitted it, and that wouldn’t have bothered me. Something I did enjoy, were the pop culture references throughout the book. They mentioned ‘Supernatural’, and hung out at ‘7/11,’ That, I found slightly weird. Do people do that?

Overall, the ending was predictable and happy. But all in all, the book was kind of forgettable, at least for me. It could be that I didn’t mesh with the writing style, and it felt like a younger YA contemporary. In the comments, let me know if you’ve read this book. And, before you go, please hit that follow button!

Until The Next Chapter,

On The Fence // Book Review

Title: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Published: 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary


With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on a basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets. She’s more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique. And going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. Sitting back-to-back against the fence that separates them. Braden may know her better than anyone. But there’s a secret Charlie’s keeping that even he hasn’t figured out—she’s fallen for him. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win. But if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
Source: Google Books

If you are in the mood for a fluffy, cute YA contemporary then this is the book for you. I am slowly working my way through Kasie West books, and wanted to pick up one of her older works. The story follows a teenage girl who has always been one of the guys. She is a sports-loving tomboy. And, the only girl in a household of men. She has a close relationship with her brothers and long-time neighbor.

I enjoyed the family relationship immensely. Although, they weren’t a huge focus in the story, her brothers were a great side characters. You could see the love they had for each other. As for the romance part, this is a sweet friends-to-lovers story that I wasn’t able to put down. Charlie was a very relatable female protagonist. She was blunt, imperfect and put up strong front. But she was willing to try new things like modeling and makeup. I liked how she didn’t judge people, because they were different from her.

“Bedazzled? What the heck was a bedazzle?”

The book wasn’t all Xs and Os, but talked about loss as well. The author did a great job handling the topic of grief without making it the whole focus of the book. Charlie made mistakes weaving a web of lies. But her decision to own up to her deception showed growth and maturity. There was a slight twist in the book, while predictable it showed how we protect the ones we love from pain. The book talks a bit about mental health, bipolar in general, if I’m remembering correctly. There is no secret that this is a love story about personal growth. Still I wish that mental health struggles was discussed more.

All in all, this is the type of contemporary I adore. From the plot, to the writing style and characters, I was head-over-heels. It was a quick read for me and one of my favorite West novels. If you are a fan of YA friends-to-lover romances than you might want to give this a read. Side note, it gets bonus points for helping me get out of a reading slump.

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Until The Next Chapter,