*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Halle proves it can. YA book blogger Halle Levitt moved from place to place her entire life because her parents are Academy award-nominated directors of documentaries. For her senior year in high school, Halle and her brother move in with their grandfather in Connecticut while their parents spend a year in Israel filming their latest project. All of her friends are online through her blog, where she goes by the pen name, Kels.
Her late grandmother worked in publishing and Halle wants to follow in her footsteps. That’s how One True Pastry formed, a mix of books and desserts. Who doesn’t love that?
Halle’s best friend online, Nash Kim, happens to be the first person she meets in her new town. The problem: Halle and Kels are very different. Halle believes if Nash knew the truth, he wouldn’t like her. Her plan: Keep her distance and lay low. All she has to do is work on the blog and keep her grades up to get into NYU. After all, what is one year? This plan fails as Nash is determined to bring Halle into his social circle. As it turns out, having friend to hang out with isn’t so terrible. See if Halle can keep Kels a secret or if her world will come crashing down in Kanter’s debut YA novel!
What I Like About You is as sweet as the cupcakes on One True Pastry. It would be so cool to be able to recreate book covers on cupcakes.
First, this is one of the only YA books with Jewish representation. Not only does it talk about more known holidays such as Hanukkah and Passover, it also discusses the importance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. While Halle wasn’t raised as someone who practices, it’s important to her Grandfather so she learns more about her faith through the story. Plus, most of the town is Jewish!
Next, we know some people who read YA might criticize that Halle should have told Nash right away. But seriously, don’t you remember being young? Things aren’t always easy and it’s normal for a senior in high school to worry that nobody will like her. Even though we know most of her problems could have been solved with honesty, it’s intimidating to be vulnerable. Plus, Halle has anxiety. This book does a good job of tackling grief, anxiety and depression.
We also became invested in this romance. Halle and Nash had great chemistry even from the beginning. Nash wasn’t like most book guys. He didn’t know about sports the way some of his friends and Halle’s brother did (Go Red Sox!). He was sweet, sensitive and a YA book expert!
We did have one issue with this book, though, which prevented us from giving it 5 stars. There was too much bashing of adults who read YA. The MC and her friends are annoyed with an author who they think belittles her teen audience. We didn’t care for this plot point. 1.) That author said her YA books should be for everyone. Shouldn’t that be true? 2.) YA books can have MCs who are not teenagers. We love College YA and have read YA books with MCs in their early 20s. The only way this plot point would have worked for us was if this fictional author actually said something nasty about her teen audience.
Overall, we did love the praise of YA book bloggers in this book. Kanter recognizes how hard it can be and how much work we do. We loved being honored! Also, the focus on family was a nice touch. We enjoy reading about complex, but also healthy, family dynamics. Halle’s relationship with her grandfather got better through the book and she always adored her younger brother…who at times, was smarter than her.
What I Like About You is a must read for YA bloggers, YA readers and anyone who will enjoy this unique take on a YA contemporary. Warning, this book will make you hungry!