Review: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

What I Like About You
Marisa Kanter
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published April 7, 2020

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About What I Like About You

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

What I Like About You on Goodreads

My Review

I have so many feelings about this book. First, I thought the story was great– I’m pretty much a total fan of the whole they fall in love but don’t know who the other person really is trope. (If you love that, too and haven’t read them, I recommend P.S. I LIKE YOU by Kasie West and ALEX APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett– review coming soon.)

I thought the stuff about the book blogging sphere and how painful the drama can be as well as how amazing it is when you get to share the excitement about a favorite book or author were super real. All of that definitely hit home for me.

If I’m honest, I really struggled with Halle’s comments about adults reviewing YA. At one point she vents frustration at adults who review YA and forget that they’re not the target audience. At another point, she makes it clear that she feels YA reviews need to be written by teen book bloggers, and that once she’s no longer a teen, she’ll stop reviewing and instead elevate other teen review voices. Which I think is a good thing– teens who review YA should get that platform.

I guess it just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, especially when she was so hurt that an author was offended by teens liking her book and basically told them to calm down, the book isn’t for you. Then she kind of did exactly the same thing to adult reviewers who read YA?

Honestly, it was not at all the main point of the book, and really, I think, was meant to highlight that there are lots of strong opinions and values within the book blogging community. It makes sense that as a leader, she’d have thoughts on who belongs and what best practices were.

I guess it just felt weird then as a not-teen reviewer to then have to decide how to review this book without it being colored by my feelings about those parts, because to be honest, I did find it hurtful, even if that wasn’t the author’s intent.

At any rate, I felt like I couldn’t honestly review the book without including this as part of my reading experience. I liked the story, the romance, the humor. Also, I loved seeing the Jewish rep, because there is so not enough of that in the book world. I think fans of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett will really enjoy WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU.

What I Like About You on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Halle’s family (and several of her friends) are Jewish. One friend is Black. Halle’s brother has dated both a boy and girl, but doesn’t want to be labeled.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between a boy and girl. At one point they remove their shirts. References to sex.

Spiritual Content
Halle and her family celebrate several Jewish holidays and Shabbos with other community members.

Violent Content

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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