Title: What I Like About You
Author: Marisa Kanter
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can… but in the real world, it’s more complicated. In this debut novel Marisa Kanter explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.
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.
Halle’s parents are documentary directors who travel around the world making films. Halle and her brother move in with her recently widowed grandfather while her parents film a documentary for a year in Israel. Halle is also a famous teen book blogger, but she goes by the pen name Kels on her cupcake book blog. Halle discovers that her online best friend Nash also lives in the same town as she has just moved to when she runs into him at a library. However, Nash doesn’t know what Kels looks like, so he doesn’t know that Halle and Kels are the same person. Kels’s online persona is growing as she gets more opportunities but she has to keep up the division between her online life as Kels and her reality of Halle.
The book blogging community was really well portrayed in this book. There was one incident where an author insulted her teen community by saying that her books are meant for adults. This is a common argument, since many adults read young adult fiction. I think that’s because the young adult or teenage experience is so relatable because every adult was a teenager first. Even if you had different experiences as the characters in the book, most of the themes are relatable.
I found this book so tense. Halle was frustrating me because she wouldn’t tell Nash that she was really Kels. I kept holding my breath when he came close to discovering her identity. I wanted to yell at Halle to tell him the truth, yet at the same time, if she did tell him, it would be the end of the tension in the story.
I loved this book!
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Have you read What I Like About You? What did you think of it?