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.
I liked the development of the relationship between Clara and Rose. I think this was the highlight of the novel. Their relationship was similar to rivals in a Korean drama (in general). I thought Clara’s mannerisms reminded me of Choon Hyang from My Sassy Girl Choon Hyang (a Korean drama I watched as a child). Both Clara and Choon Hyang acted immature compared to those around them. Additionally, I enjoyed reading about Clara’s relationship with her father. But what surprised me was when Clara looked up to her mother (who never took care of her) instead of her father. Fortunately, Clara developed as a character. I will not be going over this one as it’s kind of spoilery.
My least favorite relationship had been Clara’s relationship with Hamlet. In my opinion, everything happened way too fast between them. Their relationship (however the reader wanted to interpret it) did not seem okay. At times, I can’t help but think what Hamlet saw in Clara because they had conflicting interests and drastically different personalities. Clara also seemed to be a bad influence (she was definitely annoying) to Hamlet (just my opinion). This is probably where the saying “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” comes in. Clara’s interest in causing mayhem may have developed when she hung out with the wrong crowd (again, just my opinion). Even if this was the case, I thought it was hilarious reading about Hamlet and Clara’s budding relationship.
Also, I appreciated the diversity in the novel. I’m Filipino so whenever I read about Filipino characters (even if it was just briefly mentioned or if they’re just minor characters), I can’t help but feel good because of the representation. I rarely read books with Filipino characters so this was a nice surprise. Needless to say, this book was not short in diverse characters. Like the idea of Clara (who was half Korean and Brazilian) working in a food truck that served an infusion of Korean and Brazilian food hybrid intrigued me. One thing I didn’t appreciate was when Clara thought of Hamlet as a dog. It just seemed offensive to me. However, I think it depends on the reader and the way they take Clara’s POV into context.
As for the writing, since the book was written in the first person point of view of a teenager, I was expecting the use of slang. For instance, Clara did say ‘pooped out’ in the novel. What caught my attention was the use of ‘ephemeral’ when she described love. To me, it seemed far fetched because of 3 reasons:
- A character like Clara would never use ephemeral in a sentence unless forced to do so. Now, Rose using this word wouldn’t surprise me, but Clara using this word is laughable. I just don’t think that ephemeral is a word used in general conversations (or in this case, her POV). It just seems ‘out of character.’
- Clara described love as ephemeral doesn’t make sense either because she doesn’t seem to know much about love and relationships. Heck, she even told Hamlet that she didn’t even know if she loved her exes! Then again, maybe she used ‘ephemeral’ to describe the way her parents felt about one another. But this doesn’t explain how she knew the meaning of ‘ephemeral.’ Look, I know that Clara isn’t stupid but I just can’t imagine her using that word.
- Finally, someone like Clara who doesn’t necessarily takes things seriously (like relationships), doesn’t seem like someone who would contemplate about the love life of her parents. It seems like Clara is someone who wouldn’t know much about it, or she doesn’t seem like someone who would give her time of the day to think about it. However, I can see her as someone who would contemplate about the reasoning behind her parents’ separation but not in regards to the subject of love.
Once again, these are just my opinions. I don’t claim to know know more about Clara’s character compared to the author. I liked the author’s writing but I don’t think the word choice (ephemeral) seemed to fit for Clara’s character.
Overall, I did enjoy reading this story. I would recommend it to young adults and those who wanted to read a story that is almost like a Korean drama.
*Huge thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review!