Hi everyone, and welcome to my stop for the If It Makes You Happy Blog Tour!
As a huge fan of Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love, I was beyond thrilled to have been chosen as a host for the Xpresso Reads Blog Tour for her new book If It Makes You Happy, and to receive an advance copy to read and review. So please check out my (spoiler-free) review below and if I managed to convince you, then please enter the international give-away to win a print copy of the book for yourself!
Note: Check out the other stops on this blog tour here.
Title: If It Makes You Happy
Author: Claire Kann
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary – LGBTQ+ – Romance
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”
Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?
ARC Review (spoiler-free):
Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review, this in no way impacted my opinion.
In case you are new to my blog and reviews, let me start by saying this: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann is one of my all-time favorite books out there and this has everything to do with Alice, the biromantic ace character of my heart, and its’ adorable friends-first-romance-later romance. So when I heard about Claire’s new book, If It Makes You Happy, I jumped right on it. I also loved that the blurb mentioned an Ungirlfriend, so I was intrigued by what I assumed would be a new ace love story. But I was also not 100% correct in my assumptions.
Though the romance in this story is not exactly what I had envisioned, it’s still super intriguing and though I didn’t understand fully at first (not sure if I even understand now, to be honest), it did quickly hook me and got me rooting for all these characters. Let me try to explain, in case you are as confused as I was. Our main character, Winnie, is in a queerplatonic relationship with Kara, who she calls her Ungirlfriend. They are partners, they mean everything to eachother and their relationship is built on communication, honesty and trust. (which I LOVED). But though Kara is ace (aro? aro ace? I’m honestly still not sure), Winnie is bisexual and they have an agreement that if Winnie would fall in love with someone else, she could pursue it on the condition that they would talk about it honestly and her boy/girlfriend would have to accept Kara too. All that sounds easier said than done when Winnie starts having feelings for the handsome Dallas…
Though I was a bit surprised by this at first, their relationship quickly became my favorite thing about this book. It’s not a conventional relationship you read about often, but it should definitely be out there more often. I loved the focus on honesty and communication and I loved all the scenes between Kara and Winnie together.
Other things I liked:
The focus on family: though it seems like the romance part takes the forefront, it’s actually the family relationships that are the heart of the story. Most notably, Winnie’s relationship with her brother Winston. She would do anything for her little brother and I was grinning though all of their interactions. But also her relationship with her cousin Sam, which is not as perfect but is still beautiful since they both put so much effort into it, and her relationship with her grandmother, which is unfortunately not so perfect.
The body positivity: Winnie is a fat girl and she is happy with the way she looks. Though not everyone agrees with her, luckily Winnie knows how to stand up for herself and make her feelings heard and let me just say that Winnie’s speeches made me want to get up and clap for her, because the girl has a way with words!
Honestly, I did have a few issues with the book, mainly that I was just so confused throughout most of it. The writing and plot felt a little all over the place and I was often wondering what the point of the story was. There is just so much going on and I felt like the story would have been better if a few things were cut from the story to give the remaining plotlines more room to breathe and reduce the chaotic overall feel.
That said, I still really enjoyed this story and recommend it to everyone who loves to read about an honest, communicative queerplatonic relationship, family dynamics and body positivity.
My rating: 3,5 stars
Claire Kann is the author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.
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