Title: What I Like About You
Author: Marissa Kanter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can…but in the real world, its more complicated. In this debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Marisa Kanter hilariously and poignantly explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.
Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?
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.
Marisa Kanter has worked in publicity for major publishers and covered YA books for MTV. Currently, she works in sales, on the distribution side of the publishing industry. She can often be found searching for the best iced chai in NYC, or reading on the 3 train. What I Like About You is her first novel. Follow her at marisakanter.com
What I Like About You is charming and witty, filled with family love and love for the bookish community. It’s heartfelt and deeply relatable in many aspects. It’s one of those contemporary books that will stay in your head and heart for days and remind readers how important the bookish community really is. What I Like About You is, at heart, a book dedicated to teen book bloggers. Marisa Kanter has really brought a wonderful debut to the YA contemporary world.
Halle is a fun and well written character that will no doubt relate to every reader in some way. She’s brave and loving and strong, but she’s also a teenager with real struggles. Halle, at first, appears to be a normal teenager: dealing with school and family issues, trying to find balance in her life, and getting ready to apply to colleges. She also has to handle her grief over the loss of a beloved family member, her idol. But it turns out, she also runs a successful book blog under the name of Kels. Her online presence is different from her real life, daily presence. Kels has online friends she’s never met but they’re real connections, they’re her real friends. Kels speaks her mind, she’s not afraid to be herself. Halle is quiet, struggling daily with her grief and depression. But then there’s her online best friend, Nash. Nash is charming and downright adorable. He’s technically Kels’s best friend, but he proves to be the anchor Halle needs in her real life.
Halle is grappling for steady ground; everything she’s ever loved is piling up and threatening to overflow all at once. She wants to maintain this balance between her real life and online life; she doesn’t want her online book community to know what her real name is and who she’s related to. She’s struggling with the online book community and her growing friendships in real life. Halle wants to be on a panel at Bookcon and she wants to get into her dream college. And all that just builds up until it eventually starts to collapse around her. All her struggles and fears are real and relatable and valid. She reminded me of myself at times and the fears I faced (and still do). Halle is, in some way, the epitome of some of the struggles and anxiety that teens go through.
Halle’s fear of losing Nash as her best friend is what stops her every time from telling him the truth. She knows he’s in love with Kels, so how exactly do you tell someone that the person they’re in love with has been in front of them for weeks? Her fear leads to an increase in her anxiety and she’s no longer just battling with her real life and online identities, she’s now battling with keeping her anger and sadness and depression hidden in front of her Gramps and Nash. Everything Halle feels and struggles with can relate to each reader in some way, even the heartfelt romance.
The romance is, honestly, cute and fluffy. It had me swooning at times (I’m a sucker for romance!) and clutching the book to my chest. I was rooting for Halle and Nash the whole time. But, of course, I knew there was going to be a climatic downfall, and when that downfall came, it was sad and hard but still so relatable. All the little nodes to the plot really tied this book together well.
What really sold this story for me (besides everything I mentioned above) is the realness of each character. Each character played a role in the story that helped Halle get through her struggles and anxiety. Each friendship felt real and genuine. Throughout this book, I was reminded of my friendship with my closest friends, which led to a constant smile on my face during this book (of course, Halle and Nash also contributed). Everything just felt so real about this book and that made for an excellent contemporary romance story.
Overall, I really enjoyed What I Like About You. It’s a cute and heartfelt story with memorable and relatable characters. It’s a love letter to the bookish community and because of that, because of these characters and what they represent, I’ll always support Marisa Kanter in her writing endeavors.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Blog Tour Schedule
|4/1/2020||The Novel Knight|
|4/2/2020||Book Princess Reviews|
|4/3/2020||eleven thirteen pm|
|4/6/2020||Vicky Who Reads|
|4/7/2020||Pub Day (Marisa)|
|4/8/2020||Kayla Reads and Reviews|
|4/9/2020||The Heart of a Book Blogger|
|4/10/2020||Mary Had a Little Book Blog|
|4/13/2020||Jen Ryland Reviews|
|4/14/2020||Love in Panels|
|4/15/2020||Forever and Everly|
|4/16/2020||I’m All Booked Up|
|4/20/2020||Rants & Raves of a Bibliophile|
|4/21/2020||Read By Tiffany|
|4/22/2020||A Court of Coffee and Books|
|4/23/2020||From the Library of Alexis|
|4/27/2020||Lost in a Book|
|4/28/2020||Pages and Pugs|
|4/30/2020||Kait Plus Books|
|5/1/2020||We Live and Breathe Books|