What I Like About You, by Marisa Kanter
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Length: 416 pages
Times Read: Once
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.
Book bloggers rejoice, this book was written just for us and OH is it so good!
♥ The thing that hits the hardest is how wonderfully the online relationships are portrayed. It’s not just the budding romance between Kels/Halle and Nash, but the friendships she has with her girls. She has a very tight-knit circle of friends that have never met IRL, but who are always in contact, always there for each other, and who even have weekly Google Hangouts.
“I can’t help but think it’s funny, the way you can be literally so close to someone, but somehow closer with words and social media accounts and pixels in between.”
Me and my real-life group of internet besties who do things like secretly send each other the same Squishmallow during quarantine and then give them all coordinating names from The Raven Boys.
♥ Obviously though, what we’re all really here for is Nash and Halle. They’re incredibly cute together, both online and in person. I do have mixed feelings, though, about how Halle handles everything with Nash. I totally get how overwhelmed and mixed-up she feels when she unexpectedly meets Nash and doesn’t know how to react. As easy as it would have been to reveal her online persona when he did, it was just as easy to panic and keep quiet, and I so get that. But she keeps it going for, like…
And then no one can really know her. Not her new friends, not her online friends. The only people who truly understand what’s happening in Halle’s life are her grandfather, who we see still grieving the loss of Halle’s grandmother, and Ollie, Halle’s younger brother.
♥ Ollie is a goddamn delight, queen among queens, god among men. He is wise beyond his years, constantly calling Halle on her various bullshit. He’s my favorite character, and I need a spinoff for him immediately please.
A small taste of some of Ollie’s best quotes:
“He’s pissed. Obviously,” Ollie says, “Collecting receipts isn’t going to help.”
“He unfollowed me,” I say.
“I’d unfollow you too,” Ollie says.
“You’ve read this book before. It’s going to blow up, and it’s going to be your own stupid fault.”
“You’re literally both sides of this love triangle. You win. But you’re, like, determined to sabotage yourself.”
Final Thoughts: Do you love books? Blogging? Cupcakes? Cute boys? Excellent brothers? Y’all, if you love yourself, this book is for you.
“First, my books need to breathe–in alphabetical order, by genre.”
“I will never be Not Awkward–only incremental amounts of Less Awkward.”
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