June is Pride Month and I love supposrting diverse books. If It Makes You Happy is a diverse book and a good summer read. Today is my spot on the blog tour to tell you what I thought of this book! Thanks to the publisher and Xpresso Book Tours for providing me with an ARC to read and review.
If It Makes You Happy
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 4th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
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?
When you read the blurb, you realize this book will be pretty diverse, but it’s more so than I realized. My favorite thing about that was it didn’t feel forced. The characters were themselves and that was that. I love when authors create a world like that and everything seems natural.
If It Makes You Happy follows Winnie, a plus-sized girl of color. She is spending the summer with her grandmother (like she does every year) and plans on helping her grandmother run her diner. She sees herself running it one day and is happy with this. Winnie has an ungirlfriend Kara. They’re not labeling anything, but seeing where things go.
It took me awhile to really get sucked into this story. Not because I didn’t love the characters or what was happening, but it felt like it took awhile for something to happen. We read about Winnie’s day to day life and her emotions. She has a dream and is going day to day figuring them out.
This book has different relationships and connections and that’s basically where everything takes place. I have to start off by saying my favorite connection was between Winnie and her brother. I loved how much they were there for each other and really tried to spend time together. That bond felt really special and had me smiling quite often. I had mixed feelings with her grandmother. While I understand people can be set in their ways, it felt to me way too often that the grandmother didn’t want to listen. She expected Winnie to, but didn’t follow the same rules. I was very frustrated with that at times.
The romance in this book was sweet, but also too much at times. I love the bond Winnie had with Kara and how even though they didn’t define things, they had their own clarity of what they were. They were really sweet, even if it did have challenges. Then comes Dallas. It’s clear he likes Winnie and Kara isn’t happy with that. For me the book spent too much time focusing on this love triangle. At times it was too much drama. I love that it shows that emotions aren’t black and white and things don’t magically resolve themselves. My favorite aspect of that was Winnie realizing she was feeling things and wanting to talk it out. Even when something pretty mean takes place.
Winnie is such a fun character. She is far from perfect, but knows this. I loved that she was happy in her own skin and wasn’t willing to change, because other people think she should. I was so proud to finally have a character that stood up for herself and not being ashamed for being who she is. Winnie can speak without thinking, but she means well.
If It Makes You Happy is another summer read to bring to the pool. Once you get sucked in, you’re done reading before you know it. This author created a lot of amazing characters and I love the small town feel I got from this setting.
The great thing about blog tours is that there are a lot of amazing bloggers who talk about the same book. If you want to see the full schedule, click here. The links are updated daily with tour posts!
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.)
For the US/CAN readers, there is a tour-wide giveaway. You have a chance to win a print copy of It Makes You Happy! The giveaway ends June 13th.
Even though there were a few things that bugged me about this book, I really enjoyed Winnie. It’s great seeing more diverse characters in YA books. What was the latest diverse read you finished? Tell me about it in the comments!