Author: Maurene Goo
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,