Hello, hello my fellow bookworms! Today, I am excited to be participating in the blog tour of If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann, which is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers on this tour by clicking here!
If It Makes You Happy
Author: Claire Kann
Publication Date: 04 June 2019
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Swoon Reads
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?
Winnie is one of those characters that I have been waiting a long time to see in contemporary literature. She is a strong, independent black female who is fat and queer. Winnie isn’t here for anyone’s judgements about her body or her sexuality. She’s brutally honest and speaks her mind without a filter. Winnie is my spirit animal.
Winnie recently finished high school, which means college is on the horizon for the fall. During the summer, she stays with her grandmother (like she does every summer) in Misty Haven to help run the diner, which she hopes to be hers one day. Those dreams seem to be quickly fading though since her grandmother can no longer afford to keep the diner open. Winnie devises a plan to enter and win a cooking competition for a reality TV show.
The relationships in this book are complicated to say the least, which is refreshing since most relationships are. Winnie and Kara are ‘ungirlfriends’, which means that they always have each other and definitely care for each other, but they are choosing not to put a label on their relationship. (While I do follow this logic, by calling yourself an ungirlfriend, that is still a label but that’s just my two cents.) To complicate matters even more, the gorgeous Dallas shows interest in Winnie as well. She brushes off his advances since Winnie is convinced that pretty boys don’t like fat girls (I get this from an esteem point of view, but that’s just wrong). This creates a love triangle that gets a bit messy through different points of the book.
I wasn’t much of a fan when it came to Granny, but she reminded me of what it’s like growing up black. Granny constantly criticized Winnie’s weight and refused to treat her like an adult (even though Winnie is 18 years old). She still calls her child and belittles any opinions that she has. One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to anyone (family included) is commanding respect but not offering it in return. Respect goes both ways, which is something that Granny definitely needs to learn.
Overall, If It Makes You Happy was a refreshing story that gave a much needed voice and representation to anyone who can remotely relate to Winnie. If you love YA/NA contemporary literature that is character driven then you don’t want to miss this one.
Thank you to Swoon Reads for providing an ARC giveaway win and Xpresso Book Tours for the eARC. This did not influence my decision. All opinions are my own.
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: http://www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.)