Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: May 8, 2018
Pages: 336
Source/format: e-ARC from Publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from

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.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

When a joke goes wrong and causes a fire at Elysian High School, Clara Shin is teetering the line of getting suspended along with her arch nemesis, Rose Carter. Her father sentences Clara to work on her father's KoBra food truck which is a Korean/Brazilian fusion restaurant on wheels. The kicker is that Clara will be working KoBra with Rose.

Clara is sassy, tends to not think before she acts and is always getting into trouble. She has no filter. Her father thinks that with hard work, she will learn to keep a cool and perhaps learn from Rose. On the contrast, Rose is an over achiever. She is captain of the dance team since freshman year and is part of the debate team. She takes summer courses at the local community college on top of her high school course work.

Hamlet Wong works at the neighboring coffee kiosk and often visits the KoBra truck with iced drinks. Although it is plainly obviously to Clara's father and Rose that Hamlet likes Clara, Clara denies it and claims Hamlet is not her type. However, Clara and Hamlet become close over the duration of the novel. Their relationship is adorable! From flowers to grass jelly flavored kisses, the excitement of going on a date radiates from the pages.

Maurene Goo created a book that is unique and humorous. I found myself chuckling when Clara has a witty comeback. However, I do agree that she needs to control herself sometimes and needs to think before she speaks. Goo did an amazing job with the character development in The Way You Make Me Feel. Clara, along with several other characters like Rose, grew a lot from the end of school until the end of summer.

Each character has their own personality and they work well with the whole cast. Patrick and Felix are supportive of Clara for most of the time but I would have loved to see more backstory and interaction. However, I absolutely loved Clara's dad, Adrian. Clara's father raises Clara solely while Clara's mother is a social media "influencer" and travels the world. Clara's parents never married and her parents were only 18 when Clara was born. Adrian is a single parent who works hard trying to provide for his daughter as well as trying to be a good parent.

Although Clara tries to reconnect with her mom by impulse buying a ticket for a flight and hopping on a plane to Tulum, she realizes that her father has always been the one to support and to root for Clara. Adrian is possibly one of my favorite fathers in a YA book. He cares about his daughter yet he sets boundaries between him and Clara as a learning experience for Clara. He is a lovable dad and he is a fantastic relationship with his daughter.

This family dynamic differs from Rose's where Rose's parents are super strict and they quiz each other on important current news over dinners. Rose starts off being uptight but slowly eases up throughout the book. She engages in typical teenage things like gossiping about boys with Clara which helps her unwind. The contrast of a wealthy lifestyle of the Carters, the Wongs and Clara's mother compared to Clara and her dad are significant. Money can't buy everything. Friendship and family bonding are priceless. Happiness can't be bought.

With the delicious lombo and picanhas, I was definitely craving the Korean Brazilian fusion food from KoBra. Throw in a sugarcane lime drink and I would be all set. The Way You Make Me Feel is a light and funny contemporary that is perfect for the summer. Goo created an exceptional book combining food, travel, romance, humor, friends and family all in one. She creates long-lasting memories of a lifetime.


  1. I loved her other book, I Believe in a Thing Called Love - and this sounds like a book I'd love as well - the main characters both sound similar in the sense that her character Desi in her other book did kinda crazy things without thinking before she acts upon them, and from your review it sounds like Clara speaks before she thinks which is a recipe for disaster and hilarity! I love good parent-children relationships in books! I absolutely adored Desi's dad in Goo's other book and am so happy to hear that Clara's dad is awesome as well. Great review!

    1. Yes! I Believe in a Thing Called Love is too cute! I also want to read her debut novel one day. I actually love The Way You Make Me Feel even more than I Believe in a Thing Called Love. It's a hilarious book for sure. I hope you have a chance to read it.