Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 210
Fun
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Clara Shin is the class clown and definitely qualifies as a troll too. (Big difference between the two, I'm not gonna get into it.) Thanks to re-enacting Carrie's bucket dump when she wins prom queen, she's stuck working her her dad's food truck with her worst enemy Rose Carver. All of their animosity stems from when Rose caught Clara smoking in the bathroom in ninth grade, which got Clara suspended, and Clara spent the next few years being The Worst to Rose in response. I loved their friendship when it came together and they got over themselves, but for how much bad blood was between them, it felt like things came together too quickly.

Still, my favorite moment of the book: once they become friends, they go see The Exorcist in a cemetery and Clara trolls Rose by sending her a gif of Regan's head spinning around.

Honestly, most of the character relationships that form over the course of the novel come together a bit quickly.

What stuck most with me was a vicious remark Clara made early in the book. Page 79: When someone places a vegetarian order, Clara tries to cook it in a skillet she hadn't washed since using it to cook some meat. When Rose rightfully gets onto her for that cross-contamination, Clara snaps at her with "What they don't know won't hurt them. They'll just have to wonder why their food is suddenly more delicious. Hint: pork."

Was she being this flippant just to make Rose angry? Probably. But this is a sort of malicious carelessness is about more than Rose. Clara could actually cause people harm! In the food industry, you do your best to avoid cross-contamination and listen without question if someone tells you to use something else instead of X ingredient (i.e. soy milk instead of regular milk). You don't know if they have food allergies and they shouldn't have to explain any food allergies just to get what they asked for. Even before her character growth, Clara is characterized as caring about her dad's business, so her attempt to sabotage it like this is baffling to me. It never comes back around either.

It seems like I'm complaining a lot, but I swear I enjoyed the novel! Clara's romance with Hamlet is cute, her character arc is impressive, and it's a fun read. It's definitely not my favorite Maurene Goo novel, but this is only the second of four so far. Like I said, Goo writes fun YA contemporaries and one of them not being my thing is just how it goes sometimes.
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