The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maureen Goo
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date: May 8, 2018
Real and Fake Blood, Bullying,
Property Fire, Underage Drinking,
Bodily Harm, Swearing
Korean & Korean Brazilian, Chinese,
Black, Mexican,
Gay, Anxiety, Filipino

Okay, okay, okay.

So I needed to sleep before I talked about this book because I was legit very emotional after reading this book. Like, wow. I had so many feels about this book and I could see so many aspects about my own life that Clara went through, and even Rose, and I just felt for them all. So yeah, I’m still emotional about it, but I wanted to write this review before I had to go to the doctors. Here goes.

Clara Shin is Korean American and the daughter of a very hot Korean Brazilian father that has a food truck, lovingly and smartly named KoBra (hybrid of Korean Brazilian food). She is what you would call the biggest class clown, with her best friends Patrick and Felix and they have been skating through life pulling pranks and causing trouble. For some reason, Clara has taken it upon herself to have a full on war with Rose Carver, who Clara has described as the long lost Obama sister. I think if she were to become the first Black Female President of the United States, she would be amazing. Oh, and then Hamlet Wong plays a big part in the book but I’ll explain that in the plots section. Yes, his real first name is Hamlet. Not a joke.

Like I said earlier, Clara is the Queen of Pranks and causing fun drama to make everyone around her laugh – well everyone except for the authority figures. You know how it is. Well, come prom, she pulls a major prank, which makes Rose legit want to kick her ass, and they somehow end up almost burning down the school cafeteria.

As punishment – because Clara rarely gets real punishment for anything besides detention – her father and the Carvers agree to have the girls work at the KoBra all summer. Together.

While they learn the trade of food truck magic, they meet Hamlet who works at a coffee cart near one of their regular spots to serve customers. And yes, some growing up actually happens.

Adrian (Clara’s dad) reminds me of Daniel Dae Kim, the way he’s described. If Daniel Dae Kim was born and raised in Brazil I mean. But I can just imagine how hot he is. Like super hot.

I love the friendship that Clara and Rose end up having, after years and years of just hating each other. Learning how to get to know one another, work well together, and finally enjoy each other’s company can make me slightly forgive the initial girl on girl hate. Slightly.

The relationship between Clara and her father was so heartwarming. Like, it reminded me of me and my mom, and then Clara finding out just how much her dad really loves her in a painful way just made me cry. That really reminded me of my mom too. I should have called her and told her to read this book.

Also Clara calling out sexist bullshit all the time. Classic and made me laugh.

I just really liked this book, okay?

Clara’s mom.

Patrick and Felix and how they reacted to Clara finally giving a shit in life and not wanting to waste her summer doing stupid shit like before. It’s okay to see your friend grow up, even if you aren’t ready to grow up with her. At least show some respect to someone who is supposed to be your friend.

Clara’s mom.

There was one line that Rose said when they first meet Hamlet, and I was kind of surprised that something like that came out of her mouth, especially coming from her.

He shrugged. “I grew up in Beijing.”

Rose shoved me, getting closer to him. “Wow! When did you move here? Your English is flawless.”

I tsked. ” That’s so racist.”

She bit her lip, mortified. “Oh! No, I didn’t mean…”

First Meeting Hamlet Wong

Rose, you done slipped up, sis. At least Hamlet didn’t take offense, and actually didn’t make you feel bad about your mistake.

Clara’s mom.

This whole book was a love letter to being Korean, living in LA, and having diversity surround you and be a part of how you identify with the world around you. I felt that so much, because that’s what makes me feel most at home. Maybe not being Korean since I’m not, but being proud to be Asian, growing up in a place where it wasn’t a rare occurrence to see multitudes of different Asian cultures everywhere. The food too, oh my gosh.

People who would be there for you even when you messed up and behaved like a little jerk? They were the good stuff.

That part made me cry too. This was a part where Clara really grew up and realized that this was the kind of life she wanted, and the kind of people that she wanted to be around.

This was the part that began Clara’s redemption in my eyes, and I’m so glad that Goo included it. It may seem small to some people that don’t realize that this is a problem all over the place, not just in LA, and that having girls protect each other is so damn important and special.

I gritted my teeth and was about to start my walk home but stopped when I saw a couple of guys walk by – shrouded in shadow, walking slowly, appraising us as they did so. I stared at them. I see you. And they kept walking. When one of them looked back at me, I kept my gaze steady. Creeps.

I sighed and turned around. “Do you have a ride home?”

“I’ll wait with you, then.”

This was after the first day they had to man the KoBra alone, and even though they weren’t friends yet… Clara still had the right mind to make sure that Rose wasn’t waiting alone in the dark by herself. That… was really great.

Okay I’m still crying. I’m sorry. I really liked this book. I didn’t even get into the other parts because I feel like that would be spoiler territory, but yeah. Just read this. I’m so glad I did. I don’t know why I put it off so long, but Goo is one of my absolute favorite authors from this point on.

Also did you guys peep Clara’s KoBra shirt on the cover???I freaking love that!

8 thoughts on “The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

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