Review: What I Like About You

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. 

If you ask me, this book is a real life story waiting to happen! With so many people forming online friendships, the possibility of accidentally meeting in person is a pretty good one, if you ask me. I love how the premise of this story is that there’s a love triangle, but only two people in it. Yet, one of them doesn’t know it. It’s almost something you’d see in an episode of Catfish. 

The main conflict of the story is obviously Halle not telling Nash that she’s, in fact, Kels – the blogger behind One True Pastry. While on one hand, readers were probably annoyed that she didn’t just tell him from the get-go, I completely understand why she kept her worlds separate. For one, using a pen name when being a blogger (or other type of online influencer) is a nice thing to have, especially when you consider the weirdos that are out there. Sure, you want people to know it’s you, but there is something about not using your real name that makes you just a little more confident, and in this story, Halle was more confident as Kels, so she wanted to keep her real life separate from her online one.

That’s not to say that she was right for keeping her blog a secret for so long, but it’s what makes it understandable. I think another reason that Halle might have held back was because would Nash or any of his friends have believed her right away if she owned up to being Kels? I mean, she does have the proof on her phone, but as we’ve seen in other stories, you sometimes aren’t given the chance to prove that you are who you say you are right away. So, though that reasoning wasn’t mentioned, I think it might’ve been an underlying factor in why Halle didn’t tell Nash about her blog from the start.

The banter between the characters was great. I loved the chemistry with Nash and Halle (as herself and Kels), Nash’s friends, and Halle’s family. The group texts that were between Halle, her brother, and their parents were the best. Their dad using only emojis was my comedic relief of the book. For the most part, I liked all of the characters, but I’d have to say that Sawyer and Ollie were two of my favorites, despite being side characters.

One of the main reasons I won’t give this book five stars is because of the bashing of adults who read YA. There was an entire subplot that dealt with a YA author saying that her books were for everyone, not just teens, but the teens of this book got upset and started boycotting the author. For one, we here in the real world know that books, no matter what age category they fall under, are for everyone. You don’t see adult authors making a big deal if teens read their books, or children’s authors getting boycotted for letting their books be enjoyed by all ages. The entire plot point of Halle, Nash, and their friends taking the authors words in an offensive way was annoying to me, and maybe it’s because I am an adult, but I know that when I was a teen I wouldn’t have cared if adults read YA or not. My motto is ‘read what you like.’

One other tiny, baby issue I have is how Halle refers to Middletown, CT as “the middle of nowhere Connecticut” which, as someone who has lived in Connecticut my entire life, has to point out that this is not true. Middletown is definitely not “the middle of nowhere” of our tiny state. Trust me, I’ve been to the middle of nowhere in our state – where you can’t get any WiFi or cell signals and are surrounded by nothing but trees or some farmland. Just saying.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It’s cute and an easy story to follow. The Jewish rep in the book is great too, as you don’t get a lot of that in books. Of course, the plot of being in a love triangle that only has two people is the fun part and what I think makes this book good. So, if you’re looking for a cute, interesting YA romance to read, this one is a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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