A Love Triangle that’s Actually Likable

What I Like About YouWhat I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

To him, it’s a triangle. But I know it’s just a line. It’s always been a line.

Not only does this book have a super cute cover; it also has one of the most relatable characters in YA fiction. Most readers will like the sweet “love triangle.” But if you’re a fellow book blogger or reviewer, you’re going to resonate with the story on an entirely different level.

What I Like About You focuses on the life of Halle Levit, who happens to be the daughter of prominent Jewish filmmakers and the granddaughter of a well-known editor. Halle wants to be a bookish influencer without the help of her connections, so she creates a new persona: Kels. Soon, Kels wows the YA community with One True Pastry (OTP), a blog that combines unique cupcakes with book covers and reviews. Kels also befriends a Korean-Jewish artist named Nash, and the possibility of meeting IRL becomes too tempting. However, when family problems result in an accidental get-together, Halle doesn’t have the guts to tell Nash that she’s Kels. And guess what? Nash has fallen in love with Kels.

I loved reading the narrative from Halle’s POV because of our many similarities. Our love for family, our passion for reading/writing, and even our disdain for big groups of strangers. Halle usually had panic attacks at parties, and I deeply understood why she couldn’t thrive in such high-energy situations. I’d rather stay at home than be a wallflower or trying-hard extrovert. I don’t want to sound bitter; I just think that it’s better to have remarkable conversations with a few people than engage in small talk with many people whose names you’ll immediately forget. Hahahahaha. I’m pretty sure that Halle would affirm my argument.

Halle’s most striking quality was her blogging consistency. Regardless of her heavy academic load, she had time to write and schedule posts for her readers. And her creative process wasn’t simple at all. She had to bake dozens of cupcakes for a single book cover reveal. The downside was that Halle became too focused on social media to the detriment of her IRL relationships. Moreover, not everyone on the Internet had nice things to say about One True Pastry. This novel taught me that Book Twitter could be a significant source of undue stress and anxiety. Book blogging is fun and rewarding, indeed. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, either.

Because of her dedication to book publicity, Halle earned a spot at BookCon. In this annual event, readers can meet their favorite authors, win ARCs of hyped books, and just appreciate the presence of fellow bookworms. Halle was invited to be one of the panelists for a much-awaited discussion, and her excitement and gratitude were palpable. In a way, reading about Halle’s experience made me feel like I was there myself. I’d love to attend BookCon, but I don’t have the means to do so. For now, I can only keep on dreaming. 😦

Regardless of my fondness and empathy for Halle, I resented her for how she treated Nash. Ollie, Halle’s brother, always encouraged her to come clean. But it was to no avail. When the pressure of having two identities became overwhelming, Halle ghosted Nash as Kels as if their long-term friendship meant nothing. Nash learned the truth about Kels before Halle could tell him herself, so he was very heartbroken. If I remember correctly, his anger lasted for around 50 pages. LOL

As a whole, I liked many things about What I Like About You. It’s perhaps the most engaging contemporary book that I’ve read this year. Hopefully, I can emulate Halle’s blogging habits and write reviews more often. If only reading were a full-time job! Sometimes, #adulting sucks.