Bite-Sized Reviews of The Way You Make Me Feel & The Girl and the Grove

Posted May 18, 2018 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 12 Comments

I’ve got two bite-sized reviews for you today, both YA review books. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Way You Make Me Feel & The Girl and the GroveThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on May 8, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

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.


This is a cute summer read that features an MC who has a lot of growing up to do (luckily she does!). Clara starts out pretty unlikeable—she’s a jokester and a prankster, but it all feels a little mean-spirited. She has a never-try attitude and doesn’t really care when things blow up in her face. On the one hand, it was refreshing to see a girl portrayed in a stereotypically guy role, but on the other hand, it was hard to get behind her. Things get a little better when she ends up befriending her nemesis (a mean girl who turns out to be a lot more complex than the stereotype) and falls for a nerdy kid who’s the absolute sweetest. She also learns to appreciate her dad a whole lot more. I was a little sad that we didn’t get more closure with her two best friends, who she just sort of dropped (which was maybe okay—she grew away from them, which happens), but otherwise I thought the themes were handled in a positive way. This book won’t bowl you over with its profound messages, but it’s an enjoyable read with diverse characters who end up having more substance than you first expect.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Way You Make Me Feel & The Girl and the GroveThe Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith
Published by Flux on May 8, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park.


This is the type of book that keeps you guessing as far as what’s really going on. At First, it feels like a contemporary novel that deals with the issues of adoption, loss, and a sense of not belonging. I think that any teen will be able to relate to those issues, even if they haven’t experienced this type of loss. Of course, like most contemps, there’s a romance—though the path to that romance isn’t as straight and narrow as we’re used to seeing. There are also hints of mental illness … or is it? About halfway through, the book takes a major jump into magical realism territory, which blends into fantasy for a brief spell… but then we stay firmly in what I’d call magical realism. I think some people were thrown by all of this, but I mostly enjoyed figuring out where things were going. And I liked the overall magical realism, though I do wish it had been introduced a little earlier in the book.

I liked Leila, and I felt for her in her struggle for identity. I also connected to the romance in the book, and I loved the sense of environmental activism. There were a few negatives, though. The biggest one for me was the mean-girl character, who was a bit over-the-top stereotypical. She’s out to destroy people’s lives (and the environment) with very little motivation that we can see, which is frustrating. Then there’s an almost-love-interest who was a little hard to like as well.

Still, I think younger teen readers especially will enjoy this one. And the adoption themes alone make it a unique and interesting read.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?


12 responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of The Way You Make Me Feel & The Girl and the Grove

  1. So glad you enjoyed The Way You Make Me Feel! I recently came across it and it sounds very interesting so, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I’m binge reading Fantasy like it’s nobody’s business at the moment so, it’d be best to read it during the summertime when I’m in the mood for Contemporary! Long May She Reign is also a book I’m quite interested in reading in the future!

    Elena @ Book Lady's Reviews recently posted: Most Anticipated Book Releases - June Edition! {Part 1}
    • She did take some getting used to, and I can understand why some people just might not have liked her. Sometimes with characters like that I’m able to get on board later in the book, and sometimes it’s just too late for me. Not sure what makes the difference.

  2. So the only one I’ve read is Long May She Reign. I felt similarly, and you made a great point about the religious aspect. I don’t think I will be reading any of the rest of them, even though The Way You Make Me Feel sounds cute. I am too picky with my cutesy books ha. And I struggle with magical realism which is why I initially passed on Girl in the Grove. And just all around pass on the last one. Great reviews!!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: The 100 Episode 5×04: Pandora’s Box
    • Yeah, I sort of felt like the end message was that they could trick the silly naive religious people and no harm done. But then Freya almost kinda sorta convinced herself that maybe she really was chosen? And there was the whole lightning backing her up and everything—I just felt like I was getting mixed signals and I wasn’t sure if I should feel insulted or not. LOL!

  3. I hadn’t seen too much about The Way You Make Me Feel so great review. It definitely sounds like a perfect summer read and one I definitely want to get to. It may not have a profound message but not all books need one, as long as it’s enjoyable. It sucks Long May She Reign wasn’t more memorable and didn’t stand out a bit more because I was excited for that one. I’ll still read (hopefully) but I was hoping for a little more from it I guess.

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