The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (336 pages)
Clara’s Summer Does Not Go As Planned When She’s Forced to Work with Her Foe
The Way You Make Me Feel has Clara Shin as quite the prankster. After her most daring prank disrupts her prom, causing both a brawl and a fire, her dad punishes her by forcing her to work for him in the family’s food truck, KoBra, for the summer. To make matters worse, Clara is forced to work with the girl she attacked after her prank, Rose. Rose is uptight and Clara’s total opposite. But when the girls learn of a food truck competition with a $100,000 prize, they must work together if they hope to win.
As the girls learn to work together, and even to like each other, we also learn more about Clara’s relationship with her father and her budding romance with a boy named Hamlet who lives with his Chinese grandparents. Clara’s father has raised her basically on his own and is always working to guide her in the right direction without stifling her. Trying to balance her new work schedule with getting to know Hamlet is difficult at times, but the sparks fly between the two nonetheless. As Clara comes to better understand Rose, her father, and Hamlet, she also grows into her authentic self.
A Light-Hearted Story about Friendship, Family, and Finding Your Way
This story, though relatively light-hearted, does touch on a few deeper issues. First, Clara’s relationship with her father reveals much about the difficulties of single dads raising girls. Not only is their relationship heartwarming, but we also learn more about their cultural identity. Clara’s parents are Korean by way of Brazil, which not only contributes to Clara’s identity but also gives their food truck, the KoBra (Korean-Brazilian) its signature flavour. Also, Clara and Hamlet try to carefully navigate the intricacies of blending Hamlet’s Chinese heritage with Clara’s complex background. Lastly, Clara’s friendship with Rose shows us that we don’t always know what’s going on in other people’s lives and that showing compassion is infinitely important.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
While not the most poignant read, The Way You Make Me Feel is fun and definitely mouth-watering. Watching these characters learn and grow, both together and as individuals, is heartwarming and emblematic of what being young is supposed to be about. Also, keep a snack handy; the descriptions of the food will definitely make you hungry!
Looking for more great reviews? Check them out here!
Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table