Title: If It Makes You Happy
Author: Claire Kann
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 4th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
Source: E-galley received from Xpresso Tours which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 4 stars
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?
This was really a good book. It had so much to it, depth, characters, back stories, side stories, emotion, drama, and a lot of really good takes on issues that you may not think about normally, or don’t realize because they were from the side of an issue you may not identify with. Even some of them that I do feel like I connect with, the whole overweight thing especially, I even learned a few things or began to think of them from a slightly different angle. I loved Winnie’s relationship with Kara, but I also liked that she wasn’t sure if it was going to just be Kara for the rest of her life. Well, she knew Kara would always be in her life, but the fact that she knew she might want to see who or what was still out there was definitely a great look at how a young person might really feel. I like that she wasn’t just your standard LGBTQ character, that she was also truly interested in Dallas, but that it didn’t change her feelings for Kara, even if it did make her wonder and think about them more.
I really thought there was a lot of great details about how being overweight doesn’t always mean someone isn’t healthy. I had a doctor recently who actually gave me similar facts, about how some people are more genetically likely to get diabetes, but could be skinny, it just has to do with how the body deals with certain substances. I also didn’t realize you could refuse to have your weight taken at the doctor’s office! And then I liked Kara’s one line about how she was fiscally conservative without the Republican agenda. While I don’t completely agree with the “agenda” part, I know that really describes me, or is how I describe myself a lot of times with my own personal political leanings.
Her family was just really real too. I like how things ended with her grandma. Well, like might not be the right word, but I felt it was so realistic, and a perfect way to show that sometimes it is okay for that to be what happens, that you have to stand up for yourself. Winnie’s self-confidence was great, something we see with a lot of characters these days, but I like that she knew how much it actually covered and how it actually worked for herself. A lot of her self reflection really caught me as exact thoughts and feelings I’ve had myself.
A great book, I can’t wait to put it in my library, as well as recommend it to my students to read.
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.)