The Way You Make Me Feel
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 Honeycut, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) on the truck next door is pretty cute. Maybe Clara's estranged mom deserves a second chance. What if taking these relationships seriously means leaving her old self behind? From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love comes another funny story of friendship, romance, and discovering that even when life gets serious, it can still be seriously fun.
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.