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What I Like About You

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Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can... but in the real world, it's more complicated. In this debut novel Marisa Kanter explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

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.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published April 7, 2020

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About the author

Marisa Kanter

4 books310 followers
Marisa Kanter is a young adult author, amateur baker, and reality television enthusiast. She is the author of What I Like About You and As If On Cue. Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, her obsession with books led her to New York City, where she worked in the publishing industry to help books find their perfect readers. She currently lives in Los Angeles, writing love stories by day and searching for the perfect slice of pizza by night. Follow her at marisakanter.com and on Twitter @marisakanter

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,345 reviews
Profile Image for Caryn - iam.caryn.
714 reviews85 followers
November 5, 2022
This is definitely a YA book meant for teens. I never rate a book low for the reason that, heaven forbid, a YA book be meant for YA readers.

I’ve always been an advocate that reading doesn’t have an age limit. A book may be marketed as YA, but that doesn’t mean ONLY YA can read it. It just means that YA CAN read it.

The reason why I would say adult YA readers may not want to pick this up, is the constant (and I mean constant), bashing of adult YA readers. It wasn’t necessary and it felt insulting. An author can target a teen audience and still be happy that adults get to enjoy their books too.

On a personal note, I am a woman in my thirties. I’ve been a reader since childhood, and one of the greatest joys in my life has been buddy reading books with my mom. Or just having us recommend books to each other. So if I was a teen while reading this, I would be heartbroken if I had chosen this to be a buddy read with my mom. She should never have to read a story that is full on insulting her because the author decided to push that only teens should read and review YA. So as an adult myself now, this really didn’t sit well with me. Every time it was mentioned it was a slap in the face.

It’s not a good thing to teach YA readers either. Basically it’s saying, “you have a small window in your life where you’re allowed to enjoy my books”, and then “see ya! Never read my books again.” It’s like because you’re not on the lowest side of the age spectrum of readers, your opinions are no longer valid.

Anyway. Moving on to the actual story. If that whole rant had been my only issue with this book, I wouldn’t have rated it this low. Because as I said, I’m not going to fault a YA book for being written for YA readers.

This just got so repetitive. The kind of identity crisis she was having “am I Halle, am I Kels?” it got exhausting. There were a lot of other repetitive points as well. I just think they could have been handled better.

The main character was also not enjoyable. The whole story felt a bit superficial, and Halle just wasn’t a likeable narrator and a fair bit selfish.

If you are a teen reader who wants a book with Jewish rep, you might enjoy this.
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,031 followers
July 12, 2021
I know a lot of you out there, including myself, loved Eliza and Her Monsters, and this book is perfect for you guys. Following a similar route as Eliza and Her Monsters, What I Like About You follows the journey of a blogger rather than a creator, making it easily relatable. The book follows Halle Levitt, aka Kels Roth, who runs a blog about books and cupcakes called ‘One True Cupcake’, and her journey as she meets an online friend in real life and doesn’t know what to do about it, worse, she might be falling in love with him.

The first thing that caught my attention about this book was that Anne was portrayed very realistically. From her dreams of being selected for the BookCon Panel and to being accepted to NYU all while stress baking her way through life, Anne represents book lovers around the world very well. Her anxiety regarding the panel and her enthusiasm about her blog are palpable and are easily replicated in the reader as we all know we would feel the same way were we in her place.

While her blog life may take up a lot of her time it is certainly not her only stressor. Her family life is not so great and her gramps is not who he was and Anne is unsure of her identity, whether she is really Kels or just Anne. When Anne started her blog she used a pseudonym to hide her identity as the granddaughter of a well-known publicist in the book world but now she struggles to figure out who she is when faced with her online world colliding with her real one.

This book was written very well and maintained a great pace. We see progress in both Anne’s online life and her real one as she finally comes close to making real friends in the new town she just moved to. Her relationship with Nash in the first half of the book is unstable and very very awkward, once again portrayed very realistically. Had she revealed her identity to him in the beginning of the book their relationship would be so much better but, just as in Eliza and Her Monster, I don’t love this book for the relationship but rather for the protagonist and how the book lovers and the community were represented in this book more than anything.


I can’t believe that this book only has 480 ratings, it definitely deserves more reads and I recommend it to all contemporary lovers and fans of Eliza and Monsters, just give it a shot and you might find that you like it more than you anticipated.
Profile Image for may ➹.
463 reviews1,850 followers
July 22, 2020
read this review and others on my blog


What I Like About You follows Halle, who runs a book blog called One True Pastry using the alias Kels. She loves everything about her online life: a platform to talk about YA books and also bake cupcakes, the ability to work with publishers, and her friend Nash. But everything changes when she meets Nash in real life—who doesn’t know that Halle is actually Kels.

First of all, the most heartwarming thing about this book, to me, is how it portrays the book community. I’ve never seen it written about in books before, and to see it displayed here, and in a way that isn’t making fun of it but uplifting it, is really nice to read as a book blogger. Though there were some things that seemed sadly idealistic (such as people actually caring about book bloggers but shh you didn’t hear that), I still liked to read about it!

I also enjoyed the character relationships in this book, first being the family’s. Halle is living with her grandpa and brother for the year, and I loved seeing how close they were. They also had to deal with grief, since her grandma had died some time before. The friendship dynamics were also really lovely, especially since Halle was new in town and we get to see her make new friends!

Friendship is messy. Hard. Infuriating. Awesome. Fragile. Durable. Impossible. Worth it.
Always worth it.

Surprisingly, I also really loved the Jewish rep! I knew about it before reading, but I didn’t expect to also relate to what Halle experienced, since I’m not Jewish. But like Halle, I don’t have much connection to my religion and pretty much only go to temple when I’m in Thailand. It made me happy to see Halle not considered any less Jewish for not doing many religious things, but also still want to try to be more involved!

Unfortunately, I did have a problem with this book, and it was the poor execution of the premise. I love this trope of knowing each other online and offline but not realizing it and then falling in love, but the way it was written here irritated me! I was constantly frustrated whenever Halle had the opportunity to tell Nash who she was and never took it, then kept angsting over it. That’s a ridiculously big issue in any relationship, romantic or platonic, and it felt like Halle wasn’t taking the initiative she should have.

However, I do know that this is a YA book, and so I have to consider that this is a teenager making mistakes, like any other teenager. But the issue got to the point that it 1) felt way too dragged out, and 2) felt like Halle wasn’t actually growing—writing about teens making mistakes is important, but so is writing about them learning from them and developing to become better.

The first few questions, I ask myself, What would Kels say?
But honestly? I don’t have to try so hard.
I am the Kels that everyone expects me to be, and she doesn’t feel like a persona anymore.

But! I also am just a hater of all lying/communication issues in books in general, and I do feel like this was mainly a me thing! I enjoyed everything else besides this, and it was a fun book to read. Though I did have my issues, and it also got a little too cheesy for me at times, I did actually like the romance in certain aspects: It was cute and well-developed, and both of the characters were (mostly) sweet to each other!

If you’re a fan of YA contemporary romances, you’re going to love this one, especially if you love the YA book community! It’s quick and enjoyable to read, and, if you can get past some issues with communication, you’ll certainly be whisked away by the romance.

:: rep :: several Jewish main characters, part-Korean love interest

:: content warnings :: death of family members (off-page), depictions of grief


Thank you to Simon & Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on the blog tour! This did not my affect my opinion in any way.

All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
801 reviews3,762 followers
June 11, 2020
Big thanks to Netgalley for approving me for this title!! 🥰

while my rating seems like i didn't particularly enjoy reading this book, that is NOT entirely the case

The Goods

See, this was really cute and wholesome at moments. I loved how it centered on a teen blogger and the book community. The main character is really involved in books and baking (two of like, my favourite things EVER) and i found so many aspects relatable and a proper, genuine representation of the online book world

The relationship between Halle and her brother Ollie was SO FREAKING PRECIOUS!!!! they're best friends and get along so well and trust each other and stand by each other and keep each other in line and I just love it so much!!!! beautiful sibling representation is one thing but beautiful little brother representation is even more 🥺🥺🥺

Halle's a really relatable main character. She's awkward but smart. She loves books and baking and spending time with her family and friends. She's really sweet and has a good heart but doesn't like making big decisions or taking chances (meeeeeeeeee) and of course, she spends her entirely life online!!!!!

Nash!!! He's such a soft, adorable boy. He's a graphic artist and makes his own comics and he's really sweet and caring and a whole marshmallow.


The Not So Goods

The whole plot of the book kind of hinges on the fact that Halle (though she uses an alias online) knows Nash's identity from the online world but he doesn't know hers. and so, there's a TON of miscommunication

and usually these "You've Got Mail" type of retellings are my favourite thing ever. But the fact that Halle KNEW about Nash right from the moment she met him and didn't say ANYTHING for the majority of the book made me feel v uncomfortable.

I totally understand wanting to stay safe online, especially for teenagers, but the way in which their friendship grew in real life and she kept finding excuses not to come clean made it feel sooooooo catfish-y

and the problem was, the book felt really repetitive. it was like a cycle of nash and halle hang out and become close friends, they do something fun, nash is torn bc he has feelings for kels (halle's online persona), halle feels guilty.

and repeat.

for the majority of the book.

if the plot progressed a little more or something more developed, i might have been easier on it. but i just felt everything was hinged on this plot line ONLY and it was quiet predictable and drawn out.

anywhos

i liked the cupcake part :D


“I don’t know what to say.

That’s the problem with words. In my head, words are magic. My thoughts are eloquent and fierce. On the page, words are music. In the clicks of my keyboard, in the scratches of pencil meeting paper. In the beauty of the eraser, of the backspace key. On the page, the words in my head sing and dance with the precision of diction and the intricacies of rhythm.

Out loud? Words are the worst.”
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,430 reviews899 followers
July 31, 2020
DNF.

The main character is a YA blogger. Great. But wait, this one is a teenager who finds adult bloggers annoying. Uh, awkward! She thinks that interacting with them is way too "exhausting." Reading this I felt like that character in a movie who is listening in the bathroom stall while the mean girls gossip about her as they are putting on lip gloss.

In addition, a lot of the plot the book is devoted to very petty online (and offline) drama (some of it over a YA author who doesn't mind having adult fans, which annoys her teen fans.)

Right now it feels like the world is falling apart and I'm exhausted for real. I just don't think this book is meant for me. This character's blog is "by teens, for teens." Maybe teen readers will relate to this character more than I did? At this moment in time, this book has way too much pointless drama for me.

TL; DR: This main character finds me exhausting and I feel the same about her.

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
Profile Image for Rachel Solomon.
Author 11 books5,061 followers
February 3, 2020
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU is a YA gem and one of my all-time favorite books. Marisa Kanter has such an authentic teen voice, and I fell head over heels for her characters.

The Jewish rep in this book is the closest to my own upbringing, which was so wonderful to see. I also love the way Marisa treats online friendships as the valid, important relationships they are. It's a lovely, special book that made me smile, laugh, cry, and hug it tightly to my chest.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,228 reviews2,933 followers
April 2, 2020
3.5 stars

I actually had picked up this book about a month ago and read 20 or so pages and decided to stop and read something else. Sometimes a book might not be working for you in the moment and it's okay to try again at a later date. I'm glad I gave this one a second chance because I did end up enjoying it. Definitely recommend reading especially if you have a book blog or post about books on social media.

Teenager Halle Levitt has a popular YA book blog but she posts under the name Kels. Her alter ego Kels is basically everything Halle wishes she could be all the time. "Kels" is super confident, fun, and has quite a few online friends, including her best friend, Nash. Halle has moved around so much due to her parents' jobs she isn't used to hanging out with peers in real life. She's never even met the people she chats with online. Now that she is staying with her grandfather for the school year in Connecticut, she feels awkward socializing with kids at school. Guess who happens to be a student at her new high school? Nash. Halle is afraid Nash only likes the cool Kels persona she has created and would never go for the real Halle. So she keeps quiet and doesn't tell him she is actually the girl he has been chatting with for years online. Soon she realizes Nash is in love with Kels but how is it going to go over if she comes clean and tells him the truth?

This is one of those stories in which from the get go as the reader you know it's a bad idea for the main character to hide her true identity from her potential love interest but you just have to roll with it and hope things will work out in the end. It helps that the story involves teenagers as it's easier to buy into the fact their judgment can be questionable at times. For those of us who survived the teen years, I think it's pretty easy to identify with Halle's lack of confidence.

The book is around 400 pages and in my opinion it could have been trimmed a bit in length. Halle's female online friends didn't enhance the plot all that much so their text and chat conversations weren't really necessary to me. That's just a slight nit pick thing as the overall pace of the book was pretty good.

I loved the social media aspect of the story as it really showed how much fun it is to run a book blog or post book photos on Twitter or Instagram. I highly encourage the book community to read this one.

I won a free advance copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
581 reviews820 followers
April 27, 2020
*pounds fist, clamoring for more fluff* this was super cute and perfectly angsty. if you want a book that captures that "teen book blogger feeling" (to an almost scarily accurate effect), definitely check out WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU & Kels/Halle's books & baking prowess!
Profile Image for julianna ➹.
207 reviews263 followers
April 29, 2021
edit #2: i was right. i AM prophetic (see the bottom for context). as in, i hate this book.

Amy digs a carrot in hummus. "I wish you'd talked to us."

"We could've shut this shit down so fast," Elle says.


I wish you did. I really wish you did.

edit: i am actually going to un-dnf this real quick and try to finish it bc i feel slightly bad for rating it and i also am still interested in the concept...

guys, as an #ownvoices reader... this has some really terrible book blogger representation 🙅‍♀️

i'm joking, but seriously it would be cool if more ya contemporary novels portrayed the internet more accurately. i feel like numbers are constantly inflated past realism, and it's like ??? what is the point? even if someone has only 20 twitter followers, that doesn't necessarily mean their experience is less meaningful! anyways that's how you can TELL this author was not a book blogger-turned-author bc i can guarantee you that no one's book reviews are receiving 1.7k comments

i would like to point out that there are some novels that exaggerate internet fame which i actually do enjoy! BUT there was nothing in this book that was saving this. the overall voice within this novel veered towards pretentious, and honestly it felt more suited to a middle-grade representation of high schoolers rather than an actual young adult novel.

also read a couple of text exchanges between the main character and the male lead, as well as the main character & her friends, and BOY are they boring

dnf @ 10%

(yes i am rating it... don't worry, i can foresee that if i were to finish this novel, it would undoubtedly receive one star)

an installment in the series: spontaneous buddy reads with sugar baby

-----

mc of the novel, a book blogger: has 20k followers on twitter & gets over 1k comments on a blog post... and she has only written 50 total reviews so far

me: 👁️👄👁️

(drop the damn social media strat!)
Profile Image for Vishakha ~ ReadingSpren ~.
226 reviews186 followers
September 26, 2020
This was so bad. SO BAD.

Literally the only good thing about it was the jewish rep and everything else was just. bad.

So I am an adult in my late twenties who reads alot of YA. I love the language that YA authors use, its simple, easy to access, evocative, dramatic and funny. I think some of the most creative, most intelligent pieces of written media is done in the form of a YA book. I love how YA approach the most difficult of topics (racism, genocide, homophobia, misogyny, etc.) with relative ease and almost always without being pretentious. Basically, its one of my fav demographics.

Now imagine reading a book that is constantly bashing adults who are into YA for not being...teens. I legit had no idea that this was a problem. Because I have been a teen myself (I swear I am not lying) and while I do remember hating adults who made fun of teen-things, I don't remember hating adults who.... enjoyed them. In fact, I remember being extremely happy when my parents would engage in things that I liked. I have a very distinct memory of feeling immeasurably happy when my mom saw and liked the Philosopher's stone. More recently I was through the roof because my dad (who generally avoids anything cartoon-y) read one of my graphic novels and went as far as to rate it on Goodreads with 4 stars. So I don't know what kind of teens the author was trying to represent in her story when she created the protagonist who CONSTANTLY bashed adults who liked YA. Like, if you are a teen let me know if this a thing because I'm curious now.

This line of thinking is amusing to me. But mostly it is annoying. Why would you want to tell teens to believe that they have a limited window to read YA? Also, does this apply to authors as well? Like if adults aren't allowed to read YA how the fuck, pray tell, will they write it? Its like saying that men aren't allowed to read chick-lit or women aren't supposed to enjoy Shounen/Seinen manga which is of course, bullshit. Read whatever the hell you want people. Don't listen to this author.

The 1-star rating is not because of this... thing though. The tension of the story hinges on the protagonist not telling the male-lead her identity as his very close internet friend. The author tried to play it off as something related to anxiety and not related to the protagonist being just an idiot. Not enjoyable, not funny, bad plotting, zero chemistry. But like I said, there was genuinely good Jewish representation so go give it a read if that's something you are looking for - whatever the hell your age is.
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,204 reviews267 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
June 20, 2020
Despite the frankly awful cover (a major publishing house okayed this?), I wanted to read it anyway, because it's about a YA Book Blogger. However I was annoyed by the book barely two chapters in I thought it would be best if I just stopped reading it.

I found Halle/Kels to be quite annoying, and maybe it's mentioned later but I didn't understand her choice to be a catfish. I felt after reading her most famous review that if she was a real book blogger, I would honestly find her insufferable. I found myself wishing for the cover reveal deal she wanted to be rejected, just to take her down a peg or two. I'm sorry but her ego was way too big for this book.

Terms like YA, ARC, and many others made sense to me, but I found myself wondering if a reader outside of this little clique we'd built online would really have a damn clue what was going on.

"Because engaging with adults who think YA is for them? Exhausting." Cam across as the author suggesting that adults shouldn't be book bloggers and to that I suggest that perhaps the author, an adult, shouldn't be writing books for teenagers.
Profile Image for bookspumpkin.
421 reviews161 followers
February 2, 2021
Mein erstes Buch 2021 und es hat mir wirklich gut gefallen. Zwar war es vorhersehbar und die Protagonistin hat mich zwischendurch genervt, weil sie Nash einfach nicht die Wahrheit gesagt hat, aber trotzdem war es eine süße Geschichte, die mich gut unterhalten konnte.
Auch fand ich es schön, dass beide einen Buchblog haben, das hat die Geschichte noch interessanter gemacht.
Profile Image for thebookelle.
45 reviews420 followers
May 11, 2021
Ein Buch über Buchblogger*innen? Das kann ja nur toll sein. Und das war’s auch. Aber es ging noch um so viel mehr als Buchblogs. Ganz ganz tolles Buch, toller Schreibstil. Meiner Meinung nach wäre jedoch eine Triggerwarnung wichtig gewesen!
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,460 reviews182 followers
July 27, 2020
CW:

Reading advice: You will want to eat cupcakes so be prepared by making/buying them in advance.

A good edit would have made this a better read for me as it felt really drawn out. The secret identity story went on for an unrealistically and frustratingly long time and my annoyance levels were off the charts. This meant that I didn't really feel invested in any of the characters or who ended up together. It's a shame because I liked the premise. I mean cupcakes and book blogging are an amazing combination.

Lastly, I know a lot of people have been commenting on this in previous reviews so I'll just say YA fiction is for whoever wants to read it.
Profile Image for Kylie Dennison.
5 reviews200 followers
November 4, 2020
Genuinely one of the worst books I’ve read in a long time. Will give a more detailed review on my vlog channel. Surprised I even finished this one
Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,209 reviews1,802 followers
March 26, 2020
I received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to be honest and let you know that this book was not on top of my priority list. I thought the synopsis sounded like bait to book bloggers out there and the author would do some *cringe worthy* "relatable" stuff that would make me want to claw my eyes out. But guess who was severely wrong? Me! This book was relatable in every sense but realistic. Marisa Kanter works in the publishing industry. She knows the effort reviewers put in their reviews, posts, and social media to promote a book. She gets us. And guess what? The slang she puts in the book? It's the right amount without making it really annoying and it's exactly the slang we all use on a daily basis.

This book was the fluffiest YA read this year. It's about a girl named Halle who has an online identity as Kel. She's the owner of a super popular instagram/book blog page where she writes reviews and bakes cupcakes that look like the cover of the books. She has a tight-knit group of book blogger friends but she has never once shown her face. So what happens when she moves to the middle of nowhere and the first person she sees just so happens to be her best online friend?? She keeps it a secret, falls in love with her best friend, and ghosts all her online friends, hurting everyone around her.

I loved this book. The writing was simple enough to grip me from the very start and I wanted to read on for the grief Halle and her grandpa both shared for her grandma's passing. I thought Halle's grandpa was realistic but often cruel for the way he treated his grandchildren after the death of his wife. What I really wanted was more of them discussing this topic and him explaining his actions. While Halle was a relatable character, I also thought she was selfish at times. She claims she wanted to be there for her grandpa but she ends up ignoring him and going online to promote her blog. And of course, the whole lying thing was hard to digest. She had better options than to drop everyone and ghost people! It was her simply not thinking of others and thinking her actions didn't impact others.

Even though the characters were flawed, I still really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend you to check it out!!
Profile Image for sam.
357 reviews513 followers
April 14, 2020
Is it possible for the heart to grow in size cause mine just swelled up.

Gahhh i need more of this trope like seriously if anyone has any recs like this please please please let me know.

4.5⭐️

Oh yeah and full review to come
Profile Image for tiffany (readbytiffany).
150 reviews610 followers
May 22, 2020
Filled with delicious cupcake descriptions, relatable teenage angst, and passionate love for books and online friendships, What I Like About You is a love letter to book bloggers everywhere. 💌 As someone who’s been blogging for over 2 years, I loved exploring Halle’s journey towards finding herself while following her personal experience in this much-loved community.

What I Like About You follows the perspective of Halle Levitt, a popular YA book blogger who runs One True Pastry under the alias Kels. Halle and Kels couldn’t be any more different. ✨ While Halle is introverted and shy, Kels is popular, confident, and well-loved by her secret online friends, including the graphic novelist, Nash.

When Halle moves to her grandfather’s small town to finish her senior year, she never would have expected to run into Nash himself. As she attempts to keep her identity a secret, she finds herself falling for Nash…who just so happens to be completely swooned by Kels.

“Today’s recipe is lemon cupcakes with lavender frosting, topped off with gold glitter”


The best part about reading this story is that, as a book blogger, it’s incredibly relatable. Marisa Kanter explores some of the notorious online drama of book blogging community *coughcough looking at you Twitter* and she also understands the value of the online friendships we develop as well. I never would’ve expected to find such close friends through my love of books, and Halle’s experience is just the same.

The frustrating part of the book is all the miscommunication between the characters as Halle attempts to keep her blogging identity a secret from her new friends. 😖 However, I think it’s completely understandable as Halle’s a teen! She’ll make irresponsible and questionable choices as she learns to feel confident in herself. Personally, I felt frustrated for all the lies, but I also couldn’t fault her for it either.

“It makes everything about our online friendship feel valid.”


I personally can’t speak to the Jewish representation in this story, but I love how seamlessly Marisa Kanter wrote it in. While the book was on the longer side and the pacing was on the slower side, I still found her writing to be quite enjoyable apart from hidden secrets debacle (but like..that’s also the whole plot).

Overall, I was very pleased with Marisa Kanter’s debut novel, and I’m excited to see what she writes next. This is a story about teens for teensfrom someone who understands the value of developing your voice and finding lasting friendships through the internet. 💖

"I’m not thinking about whether I’m Halle or Kels. Because I am Halle. I am Kels. I am me."


Content/Trigger Warnings:

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Blog (Read By Tiffany) | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,797 reviews
April 7, 2020
4.5/ 5 stars

What I Like About You is a debut Young Adult contemporary romance.

This is such a cute YA read! I really enjoyed this book. The girl in this book writes a blog where she combines her love for reading Young Adult books with her love for making cupcakes. She designs cupcakes to go with her favorite YA books.

This book takes place in Middleton, Connecticut. The narrator is Halle (senior in high school - 1st person POV).

Halle loves books and she loves baking. Online she is known as Kels, a YA book blogger and founder of One True Pastry. She bakes cupcakes to match YA book covers.

There was so much to like about this book. I absolutely adored her family. Her gramps and brother Ollie are both major supporting characters in this book. I liked how we got to see her grandfather deal with the loss of his wife. And I really liked how close she was with her brother.

Her parents are Academy Award nominated documentary directors. So this was an interesting and different part of the story. Especially since they were out of the country travelling.

Even though her grandmother has recently died. She was such a big part of this story. Her grandmother was such a big part of her life, as she worked in publishing. I loved everything to do with her grandmother. But it was definitely very sad.

I really liked how Judaism played such an important part in the book. Halle and her family are Jewish. And there are a bunch of other Jewish characters and customs featured throughout this book.

The book also dealt a lot with anxiety and panic attacks, which I thought added a lot to this story.

The book also looked at Friendships (in real life and online), college acceptances, Loss/Grieving and keeping secrets.

Halle is two people. Online she is known as Kels. She is best friends with Nash. And she has a lot of blogger friends. In person she is shy and anxious. She loves books but hates crowds. She is obsessed with getting into NYU.

I feel like this book had everything that I could want: a Jewish family, a narrator who is a book blogger, cupcakes matching YA book covers, books being made into movies, book cover reveals, book conventions. It was just full of so much that I love.

Also the romance was really cute. Yes the story was at times a bit bizarre and not overly unpredictable. But I still liked it so much.

Overall I really liked this book. But the end left me wanting more. I feel like the book could have used an epilogue or a sequel, as I really wanted to see what happened after the last scene. But I would definitely recommend this book as it was such a charming read!


Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,328 reviews95 followers
April 6, 2020
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

What I Liked

-There is a lot of book community nerdiness in this and I liked it. It’s always fun to read a book about a book blogger.

-I enjoyed reading about Jewish culture. Though Halle is Jewish, she wasn’t really raised with religion, so when she lives with her grandfather who is religious, we get to learn right along with her about traditions and etc. I haven’t read a lot of books that include this, so it helps set it apart a bit from other similar books.

-I loved Halle’s little brother, Ollie. He was wise beyond his years and was always there for Halle. He deserved a little better from her, though, to be honest.

-I liked Le Crew. Though some members of the group weren’t always my cup of tea, I liked their friendship.

What Didn’t Work for Me

-Halle’s parents are famous documentary filmmakers. A little is spoken about the super important topics they cover, but more is said about how they are chasing an Oscar. They came across really shallow to me. I didn’t really respect them.

-One of my biggest pet peeves in books is when all the drama could be resolved with one, honest conversation. I got very, very frustrated with Halle. I can understand being caught off guard the first time she met Nash, but then months go by and their relationship progresses, and it turned more into an uncomfortable catfishing situation. Her brother was the only one who knew the truth of the situation and he continually tried to talk her into telling the truth and she would just get mad at him and storm away to go pout. She was often a hard character to like.

-There’s a lot of YA Book Twitter drama that goes on and it reminded me of why I mostly avoid Twitter. The YA Book Community can be great, but it can also be incredibly toxic and judgmental and promotes “cancel culture”. To be fair, though, the Twitter community in general can be that way. One situation in this story is that the author of a book that means a lot to Halle disses the movie being made about her book saying it’s not just for teens. Halle plans on seeing the movie anyways because it meant a lot to her grandmother (who worked on the book), but she lets other people make her feel guilty about it and it sways her opinion to join the boycott. For a book that celebrates the YA book culture, I just wish that the characters would’ve come across a little better than they did.

Overall

Overall, What I Like About You wasn’t really for me. I almost DNF-ed it several times, but I decided to keep going and did enjoy some parts of it. When needless lying is basically the whole plot, though, I just can’t get behind it. However, this book is obviously a celebration of YA literature and I am well over the age of the target audience, so some of the things that bothered me may not bother them.

Overall Rating (Out of 5): 2.5 Stars
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
487 reviews828 followers
March 26, 2020
*3.5 stars*

I blew through this in two sittings and had a blast. This is definitely one of those books where the main character’s decisions will stress you out the. entire. time., so just be aware of that going in if you’re someone who gets easily frustrated at YA protagonists (personally, I love flawed protagonists because THAT WAS ME as a teenager). There was also a lot of lying, which added to the stress for sure. BUT I loved the friendship dynamics, and I especially loved the warm and fuzzy book community feelings this story gave me (even if the portrayal of the online book community did feel a little idealistic)!
Profile Image for Shealea.
424 reviews1,180 followers
Shelved as 'will-not-finish'
August 21, 2020
Will not finish.
(Audiobook stopped at the end of Chapter 2.)

As a book blogger myself, I found the premise of What I Like About You and its focus on book blogging to be promising. In fact, I did enjoy the beginning of the audiobook.

However, once birthright was casually mentioned very early on (I think the main character's parent expresses excitement about traveling to Israel since they "haven't been there since birthright"), I couldn't shake off my discomfort. Especially knowing the terrible ethnic cleansing in Palestine, which is still ongoing.

I don't claim that What I Like About You is problematic because of that one line. I just personally could not look past it.

Further reading:
📌 Free Palestine carrd
📌 Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is ongoing; we need a united response
📌 American Jews, Don’t Go on Birthright
Profile Image for ~Rajeswari~.
151 reviews31 followers
March 20, 2021
I need to make a playlist of acoustic covers from tonight and carry it in my pocket. Songs that will remind me of winding up in a coffee shop in lace sleeves and red lipstick

This book shouts giddy and cute. Books,Cupcakes and good conversations are really my things.Halle and Nash’s online friendship starts on the basis of these and then Halle found Nash in real life(No Spoiler,sorry).I really loved this book💕
Profile Image for Meli.
997 reviews181 followers
October 2, 2020
Halle habe ich sofort ins Herz geschlossen. Sie ist Buchbloggerin und kombiniert das auch noch mit ihrer Cupcake-Liebe. Online benutzt sie aber ein Pseudonym, damit man sie nicht mit ihrer Großmutter in Verbindung bringt, die eine berühmte Lektorin war. Und für Halle war ihre Großmutter noch viel mehr: Ihre beste Freundin und vor allem ihr Vorbild. Doch nun ist sie fort und Halle beschließt, zu ihrem Großvater zu ziehen, der unglaublich unter dem Verlust seiner Frau leidet, also geht es hier auch viel um Trauerbewältigung und Familienliebe. Halles Beziehung mit ihrer Familie war ein sehr wichtiger Aspekt für mich, der mich auch sehr berühren konnte.

Nun ist sie also in einer neuen Stadt und trifft dort ihren besten Freund, der aber gar keine Ahnung hat, wie "Kels" im wahren Leben ist und natürlich erkennt er sie deswegen nicht. Trotzdem ist er Halle gegenüber sehr freundlich und möchte sich mit ihr anfreunden - nur leider ist Halle ziemlich panisch. Kann sie Nash sagen, dass sie ihn längst kennt? Wegen ihrer Unsicherheiten hat sie eigentlich viel zu große Angst, sich ihm überhaupt zu nähern, aber Nash ist im wahren Leben noch charmanter als online.

Eine Sache, die mich auch sehr neugierig gemacht hat, war, dass es hier eine Art Liebesdreieck gibt, auch wenn Halle ja eigentlich zwei dieser drei Personen ist. Nash und Kels sind natürlich Freunde, aber sie sind sich nie begegnet. Halle ist aber schon eifersüchtig, wenn Nash mit Kels redet, während sie sich eben von ihm fernhält, damit ihr Geheimnis nicht gelüftet wird. Und als Kels will sie ihn gerne treffen, aber das geht ja auch nicht, aus dem gleichen Grund. Ich fand die Geschichte der beiden (oder der drei?) einfach gelungen, weil man richtig spüren kann, wie Halle sich deswegen verrückt macht. Nash und Halle fand ich so sympathisch und authentisch, dass ich auch viel Spaß an ihrer Liebesgeschichte hatte.

Halle ist oft als Kels auf Twitter unterwegs und man sieht verschiedene Aspekte der Blogger-Welt, die ich sehr gelungen fand. Es geht aber auch gar nicht so oft um Bücher, wie ich erwartet hätte, mehr darum, wie Halle diese Dinge empfindet und wie wichtig ihr diese Online-Welt ist. Ich fand das alles wirklich perfekt in ihre Geschichte integriert.

Fazit
Mir hat alles an "What I Like About You" sehr gut gefallen und es hat auch meine Erwartungen absolut erfüllt. Die Liebesgeschichte von Halle und Nash konnte mich begeistern, aber ich fand auch Halles Entwicklung absolut gelungen.
Profile Image for Josh Hyung (조슈아).
118 reviews1,290 followers
July 30, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Irmak ☾.
228 reviews48 followers
January 26, 2021
Was I too mature for this, or was this too immature even for a YA? I think it's the latter because I do enjoy YA books. The age range doesn't really matter to me as long as I am interested in the plot and the book is good. But this wasn't. The main character is more of a 14-15-year-old than a 17-18-year-old. She was too immature, and every time her LITTLE brother said something that made sense and was reasonable, she just got angry at him for "not understanding and supporting" her, instead of actually doing something about the problem she created and owning up to it. She was so self-centered it annoyed me so much and the plot got a little too repetitive after a while. I think this would've been better as a middle-grade.

That's all I have to say about this book.
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
572 reviews358 followers
August 28, 2020
This was a super cute story about confidence, love, family, friends, and our favorite thing, talking about books!
What I Like About You follows, Halle, a YA blogger with a love for baking who uses the pen name Kels so she isn’t associated with her grandmother who was a well-known editor.
Halle and her brother move in with her Gramps while her director parents travel to Israel for their newest documentary. Halle runs into an online friend who only knows her as Kels and has to deal with the drama that ensues when her worlds collide.
I instantly connected with this story from all the different references to the world of books. With talks of blogging, book twitter, bookstagram, booktube and BookCon, this is the perfect book for us reading fanatics.
The format included multi-media aspects with blog posts, tweets and texts which made it such an immersive experience. Seeing Halle’s texts with her online book friends reflected so many conversations I’ve had with my own friends that I’ve met through the book community.
This was a really fun romance story but it also had so many other layers. I loved the family aspect! Ollie was such a supportive brother and seeing Gramps come out of his shell and connect with his grandkids more was so sweet. Le Crew was an amazing friend group that I wanted to be a part of so badly! They were so fun and I’d totally be down to join their weekly bowling sessions.
There were so many ups and downs throughout this book. I was internally (and sometimes audibly) screaming at Halle the whole time to tell her friends the truth. I was so frustrated at times but also so invested in her story and I’m so happy with how everything turned out in the end.
Marisa Kanter did such a good job of understanding and representing the book community! I think anyone with a love of books would really appreciate this read.
Profile Image for Iris.
543 reviews252 followers
April 17, 2020
4.5 stars

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This book was cheesy and stupid and ridiculous and overdramatic but I loved it with my entire heart. This was a book about a YA book blogger, and (even tho I don't really blog anymore) I genuinely don't think I've ever felt so seen.

This community, this messy wonderful community, means the world to me, and seeing it in a book was just... mind blowing. The magic and the petty drama, the difficulties and the triumphs... you can tell this was a book written for us.

What I Like About You is far from a perfect book. It has a lot of uhhhh lack of communication, which is never a fun trope to me, and omg some of the plot points were STUPID and CHEESY and I was FED UP and wanted to smack Halle a lot, but also like . . . I loved it anyway?? somehow??

Maybe it was the characters. Halle had her issues, but the side characters were all fantastic. Maybe it was the writing, which was so engaging and fun. Maybe it was the fact that it made me long for cupcakes.

Or maybe it was that so much about this book was incredibly relatable. I know I already mentioned how much I loved how it portrayed the book community (and let's be real here, I'm ALWAYS a sucker for any book about the internet in general), but it was more than that too. Sure, I wanted to smack Halle now and then, and sure sometimes things were a little flukey or lucky, but this book was just also such an accurate portrayal of teenagers. They were a little messy, but aren't we all?

This book is far from perfect, but I loved it with my entire heart anyways.
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