If It Makes You Happy
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?

If It Makes You Happy Details

TitleIf It Makes You Happy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherSwoon Reads
ISBN-139781250192677
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, LGBT, Romance

If It Makes You Happy Review

  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Having adored LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE from the same author, I absolutely needed to read this book. But now that I have, it’s hard to believe that the two were written by the same person.For starters, this story is told from the first person POV, whereas Alice’s story was in the third person. That was a very good surprise, because Winnie’s voice is so strong. It was wonderful to be able to hear everything she was thinking directly. I cannot imagine someone claiming Winnie is a one-dimens 3.5 stars. Having adored LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE from the same author, I absolutely needed to read this book. But now that I have, it’s hard to believe that the two were written by the same person.For starters, this story is told from the first person POV, whereas Alice’s story was in the third person. That was a very good surprise, because Winnie’s voice is so strong. It was wonderful to be able to hear everything she was thinking directly. I cannot imagine someone claiming Winnie is a one-dimensional character, unless they have never met a real girl in their lives! Because Winnie is REAL and BEAUTIFUL.At the same time, this was a much messier book than LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE. I’m not even technically talking about the story (although that too isn’t 100% clear); I’m talking about Winnie’s thoughts. They are all over the place! Don’t get me wrong, she’s super interesting, relatable and a breath of fresh air, but boy does she love talking and thinking and living life day by day. It feels as though the author did not create a plan before starting to write this. Each chapter is more like a series of thoughts than a series of scenes. But I did enjoy reading about the relationships in this book a lot, even if there is no plot per se. There is stuff happening, such as Winnie winning a competition, but the emphasis is on her interactions with the people in her life (and herself, in her own mind). I especially liked her and her cousin Sam’s dynamics because I believe in creating strong ties with family members, even those that don’t seem to have much in common with us.IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY is not an improvement upon LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE exactly, because it’s wordy and all over the place at times, showing that organization is important in a story, but it’s a lovely summer read with themes of family, friendship and love. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    ((VICTORY SQUEAL!!!!))I won a giveaway! You know what makes me happy?Answer: THIS COVER!
  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    A rom-com with a fat queer black girl as the MC, GET IN MY HANDS N O W PLEASE
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Buzzword A ThonThank you Swoon Reads & Claire Kann for sending me this ARC!This book just wasn't for me, which is a shame because I was super excited to read this. From pretty much the first chapter I wasn't feeling it. I didn't like Winnie the main character, she's just insufferable and I couldn't wait to be out of her life. Kara her "ungirlfriend" which WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT! was awful. I didn't understand what Winnie & Kara's relationship was suppose to be, they seemed like best frien Buzzword A ThonThank you Swoon Reads & Claire Kann for sending me this ARC!This book just wasn't for me, which is a shame because I was super excited to read this. From pretty much the first chapter I wasn't feeling it. I didn't like Winnie the main character, she's just insufferable and I couldn't wait to be out of her life. Kara her "ungirlfriend" which WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT! was awful. I didn't understand what Winnie & Kara's relationship was suppose to be, they seemed like best friends but at one point they are described as having a QueerPlatonic relationship but isn't just friendship? I literally have no clue and trying to figure it out pulled me out of the story. The only people in the book I did like were Dallas the male love interest, who was precious but I didn't want him with Winnie. I also really liked Winnie's grandmother but the book wanted her to be the bad guy. Winnie treated her grandmother like garbage but we were suppose to think Winnie was in the right but I just wanted to punch her for being a disrespectful little spoiled brat. I'm really disappointed that I hated this book so much because I wanted to read Claire Kann's previous book Let's Talk About Love but now I have no desire to ever read it. I'm sure I'm going to be in the minority with this book but YIKES! Not for me!
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  • ✩ Ashley ✩
    January 1, 1970
    “🎶... It can't be that bad If it makes you happy Then why the hell are you so sad?” I had to. It’s been stuck in my head all day since I added it to my TBR 😂
  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    Wow this was super cathartic to read with all of the ways that Winnie displays the frustration of how the world treats you when you're fat holy guacamole
  • Nicole Field
    January 1, 1970
    "It’s about a queer Black fat girl in a committed queerplatonic relationship—and falling in romantic love with someone else for the first time."
  • The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
    January 1, 1970
    I was super psyched about this book because I absolutely LOVED Let's Talk About Love. I was super psyched over the cover which is all kinds of #BlackGirlMagic feels!!! A fat Black girl with a huge smile, braids and a look that has zero fucks to give in regards to how other people want to define her? Honey, I'm here for it!To be honest, this book felt disjointed to me. Winnie, the heroine, was all over the place. Despite the title, it seemed that she spent a great deal of the book making other pe I was super psyched about this book because I absolutely LOVED Let's Talk About Love. I was super psyched over the cover which is all kinds of #BlackGirlMagic feels!!! A fat Black girl with a huge smile, braids and a look that has zero fucks to give in regards to how other people want to define her? Honey, I'm here for it!To be honest, this book felt disjointed to me. Winnie, the heroine, was all over the place. Despite the title, it seemed that she spent a great deal of the book making other people happy at her own expense. The few moments she stepped out of that role, it seemed someone always pushed her back into it. She seemed to explain herself way too much for things I didn't think she needed to. While she accepted her fatness and, in an epic takedown of a concern trolling doctor, she also allowed herself to end up jogging with her cousin because of guilt in not having "a thing" the two of them do together. It felt like two Winnies at odds with each other, which could have worked but didn't. I will say that Kann is brilliant at showcasing Black families in a relatable and positive way. Winnie's family is like a lot of Black families the media never chooses to cover - smart, loving, close-knit. I loved how her parents playfully blamed Winnie's penchant for speaking her mind on the other. My parents did the same. My biggest dislike was her "ungirlfriend" Kara, whom much like Feenie from the previous novel, didn't understand or accept boundaries. Her excuse as to why she behaved the way she did really rankled. I hated how Winnie had to basically be the adult despite the fact the two of them had talked out exactly what their relationship would be like. I hated how Winnie tried to include her in the new dynamic that came along, only for Kara to behave selfishly.The saddest relationship was that between Winnie and her grandmother. The two of them were more alike than not, but her grandmother was unyielding to the point of selfishness. I'd hoped these two would mend the rift. There was a lot to like about If It Makes You Happy, especially the queer Black/PoC rep, which is still way sadly lacking in YA and adult fiction. As I said, this felt disjointed to me, but I definitely plan to re-read it.
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  • Bri
    January 1, 1970
    ~3.5 stars~Claire Kann’s second novel was relatable to me in many ways. I appreciated Winnie’s struggle for acceptance from her family and people around her. To be a Black, queer fat woman is to be subjected to endless microagressions and silencing tactics all the time. Especially within Black families, when elders think they’re right because they’re older. The strife between Winnie and her Granny resonated so hard, as I had a similar relationship with my grandparents growing up. I also enjoyed ~3.5 stars~Claire Kann’s second novel was relatable to me in many ways. I appreciated Winnie’s struggle for acceptance from her family and people around her. To be a Black, queer fat woman is to be subjected to endless microagressions and silencing tactics all the time. Especially within Black families, when elders think they’re right because they’re older. The strife between Winnie and her Granny resonated so hard, as I had a similar relationship with my grandparents growing up. I also enjoyed reading about Winnie’s relationship with her brother Winston. That was my favorite thing about this book. The fierceness of Winnie’s love and support for him was so heartening. I loved all their little moments of support and unwavering protection of one another. Unfortunately, the bulk of this story centered around a thruple, which was not conveyed in any of the snippets I’d seen of this book. I may have hesitated to read this if I’d known because polyam relationships and conflicts don’t really interest me. I found Winnie’s....ungirlfriend (?) Kara to be obnoxious and manipulative. While this conflict was addressed in the book, I didn’t appreciate that Winnie was so easily forgiving and did a lot of Kara’s emotional work (especially considering Winnie is Black and Kara is white.) I liked Dallas, all around good boy and Misty Haven King, but felt that his and Winnie’s developing relationship was centered around him being forced to accept the jealousies and rigid terms of Kara and Winnie’s vaguely defined queerplatonic friendship. I tried to be sympathetic towards the growing and learning theme that’s ubiquitous in YA cus that’s the point right, but honestly a lot about how Kara treated Dallas and her immaturity towards communicating with Winnie doesn’t sit right with me. It didn’t seem realistic or fair for Dallas to feel like things were as hunky dory as Kann portrayed them to be at the end. Considering all the themes packed into this book, Kann has done a great job of writing a sweet, snarky, and perfectly summery follow up to Let’s Talk About Love (which I absolutely adore.) I wish I could’ve given it a higher rating, but nonetheless Winnie’s personal journey (without all the relationship drama) makes it worth the read.
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  • ♠️ TABI ♠️
    January 1, 1970
    eeeep the author of a favorite book of mine where all kinds of representation is done superbly is writing another book!!
  • mahana (moved accounts)
    January 1, 1970
    ARC kindly provided by Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. y'all this is the first physical arc i've ever been sent ahhhhhhh let's go
  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Open, honest conversations about feelings, cutting out people who are bad for you, and a queerplatonic relationship?! Thank you.
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    this was so much fuuuun and so goooood pls read it now.Thank you to Swoonreads & Edelweiss for this review copy!
  • Janani
    January 1, 1970
    Tender and relatable on so many levels. I love the subtleties of this book. Just ace peeps being ace and living their lives without turning this book into an educational primer on the ace spectrum. I appreciated the storyline with the grandmother. Family dynamics are hard, and it's so important to learn to draw your boundaries and be your own person, and that's okay. I'm so glad teens get an opportunity to see that with this book.
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  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 2.5I feel pretty conflicted about this book, and I'm so sad about that. I loved Let's Talk About Love, as it was one of the first books where I saw asexuality represented, so I had really high hopes for this one. And I really loved the first part of the book, which was very promising, but then it all sort of went downhill for me.The good:- The main character, Winnie. She's truly amazing: a well-rounded, flawed and very interesting character. I really loved the rep, especially beca Actual rating: 2.5I feel pretty conflicted about this book, and I'm so sad about that. I loved Let's Talk About Love, as it was one of the first books where I saw asexuality represented, so I had really high hopes for this one. And I really loved the first part of the book, which was very promising, but then it all sort of went downhill for me.The good:- The main character, Winnie. She's truly amazing: a well-rounded, flawed and very interesting character. I really loved the rep, especially because of her confidence about any and all of her identities.- The representation is absolutely fantastic. It's unlike any I've seen before, and I truly loved it. I thought it was especially wonderful that the main character was already in an established QPR at the start of the book.- The focus on friendship and family, and the message that no type of relationship is superior to others. This book just really centers the message that romantic love is not inherently better than platonic love, and that the only thing that matters is your decision to commit to someone. I especially loved Winnie's relationship with her brother.- The setting of the book. This book is set in a small town, where Winnie always spends her summers in her grandmother's diner. It gave me real Gilmore Girls vibes, and it just had so much potential for a wonderful summer read.- The writing. I loved how focused the book was on Winnie herself, and how introspective it was.The less good:- The pacing of this book was often choppy. We'd start a new chapter, and it would be completely unclear what the context was. There was no natural flow or logical transition a lot of the time.- The plot was... confusing. I think this is partly due to the pacing, but it was also just really messy. Of course the plot is very much secondary to the characters here, this being a character driven novel, but still, something needs to actually happen. And actually, quite a lot of things did, but they never really led to much. They weren't described in depth, and ultimately, the book felt like one long introduction to an unfinished story.- Aside from Winnie, none of the characters were really fleshed out, and I would have really liked to get to know them better, because that would have made Winnie's motivations more clear as well. We know she loves Kara, but we never truly see why. We also know that she likes Dallas, but we never really learn much about him, either. Even Winnie's family has pretty vague characteristics, mostly limited to a few interests, and I thought this was a real shame.So in the end, there was a lot in this book that really spoke to me. But I'm really sad to say I didn't love it overall, because it was just too messy of a book for me to be able to truly enjoy it. It feels a bit like I've read a draft of a book rather than a finished novel, and I think it could have done with more editing, if I'm very honest.Rep: Black fat polyamorous queer MC in an open QPR, aroace side character (not confirmed on page), several Black side charactersCWs: racism, fatphobia, emotionally abusive grandparent
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  • Camryn
    January 1, 1970
    UGH. I made it about halfway through this one. And I was really liking parts of it and couldn't deal with others. Like, I really love the main character, Winnie. I see so much of myself in her attitude and love of her family and struggling with dealing with elders in her family. Every time she talked about being fat, or going to the doctor, or exercising, or the little things family members would say to her about her weight, I felt seen. For real. I loved the family dynamics between Winnie, her UGH. I made it about halfway through this one. And I was really liking parts of it and couldn't deal with others. Like, I really love the main character, Winnie. I see so much of myself in her attitude and love of her family and struggling with dealing with elders in her family. Every time she talked about being fat, or going to the doctor, or exercising, or the little things family members would say to her about her weight, I felt seen. For real. I loved the family dynamics between Winnie, her little brother, and her parents. They were all so Black and sweet and just cool family vibes, but at the same time, her parents are Black parents who will not let her get away with just anything. So. I love that Winnie is queer. I really do. But I didn't understand her relationship with Kara. They said it was queerplatonic, but I honestly wish it had been explained more, because wondering about what the relationship was really pulled me out of the book for most of my reading. They acted like best friends, but then there was also "I love you" and promise rings? They called each other "ungirlfriends," so I was wondering if one or both of them are maybe ace/aro. It was explained, but vaguely, so I honestly didn't understand if the relationship was romantic or platonic. Even the other (?) love interest asks if Kara is her girlfriend and Winnie immediately says no.But Kara ACTS like a girlfriend, is the thing. She's extremely jealous of Dallas, the other love interest. I thought there was going to be a love triangle of some sorts, but then I thought it was moving in a poly direction, and now I'm not sure because I stopped. Kara and the dynamic were extremely frustrating. Not just because I didn't understand, but because Kara seemed manipulative and controlling and Winnie was constantly apologizing when she didn't need to and trying to make things up to Kara. Or they would just hang out like nothing happened.*Minor spoilers* Their agreement is that Winnie can date other people, but Kara is horrible to her when she even shows interest in them, and actively discourages other people from dating Winnie. When Winnie tries to have conversations with her about this, Kara is like, "I can't, it's too painful" and makes Winnie feel bad for even bringing it up. I got really tired of Kara. Really really really tired of her. She acts like she owns Winnie. Anyway. I had to stop reading because of her and because Winnie normalized her behavior and kept going back to her. Maybe it changes by the end, but I didn't get to see.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)If you weren't convinced that Kann has a knack for characters, then If It Makes You Happy will certainly convince you. Winnie has a big heart, does things for the right reasons (if they aren't the best course of action), and is one of those characters you instantly like. Whether Winnie's dedication to her family, her own personal growth to stick to what she believes in, or her entangle (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)If you weren't convinced that Kann has a knack for characters, then If It Makes You Happy will certainly convince you. Winnie has a big heart, does things for the right reasons (if they aren't the best course of action), and is one of those characters you instantly like. Whether Winnie's dedication to her family, her own personal growth to stick to what she believes in, or her entanglements with love, If It Makes You Happy will stick with you.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/blog...
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC and the opportunity to read and review this book before its release date. This, however, does not reflect the opinions in my review. If It Makes You Happy is my first introduction to Claire Kann and, overall, it was everything one could want in an enjoyable, summery contemporary read. Misty Haven and Goldeen’s practically jumped off the page and Kann did a great job of really capturing that small-town feel. It felt like a place I could fi Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC and the opportunity to read and review this book before its release date. This, however, does not reflect the opinions in my review. If It Makes You Happy is my first introduction to Claire Kann and, overall, it was everything one could want in an enjoyable, summery contemporary read. Misty Haven and Goldeen’s practically jumped off the page and Kann did a great job of really capturing that small-town feel. It felt like a place I could find if I drove a couple hours off the beaten path. By far the best thing about this novel is Winnie, the main character. A self-proclaimed fat, black queer girl with a personality bigger than life and a lot of love to give. She’s a doll and there wasn’t a single part in this story where I wasn’t rooting for her. She’s returned to Misty Haven once again to help her Granny run Goldeen’s before leaving for her first year of college in the fall, where she hopes to major in hospitality and take over the family business. She just didn’t anticipate that she would be chosen as the Misty Haven Queen, nor that her “ungirlfriend” Kara or a pretty boy named Dallas would compete for her hand to become the “King.” In between this drama, as well as trying to run the restaurant and help her little brother win a cooking contest, the summer is full of twists and turns. A lot of this novel stems from the circumstances Winnie finds herself in as she grows throughout the summer. She begins to understand that the once tight, unfailing relationship she had with her Granny is under strain because, as she grows, she’s becoming more and more her own person rather than the person her grandmother wants her to be. There are several points in the story where Winnie finds herself in trouble because she follows her heart of does what she believes to be the right thing in direct disregard of her parents’ or grandmother’s orders. What I loved most, though, was that it was always done with the best of intentions and with love at the center of her decision making. She makes choices that’s best for her, but always with those she loves in mind. She’s genuinely one of the sweetest and most empathetic teen characters I’ve met in YA. I love the fat rep in this novel – especially because Winnie feels at home in her own skin, even if others think she needs to lose weight. It’s refreshing to see a teen girl feel so confident about herself and know that she has so much more to offer the world rather than just her pants size. Too, I loved the fact that Winnie was doing her best to understand her sexuality. She knew that she loved Kara but didn’t want to put a definition on what they had, but at the same time she knew that she wished to further explore what was blossoming between her and Dallas. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this novel brings into forefront polyamorous relationships, but it feels like it was going in that direction. And given that this was the very first time I’d read a novel involving it, I found in very interesting. Unfortunately, given that Winnie was such a lively and lovable character, the rest of the cast seemed to pale in comparison to her. Kara is interesting enough, but she didn’t so much beyond the “best friend” trope and Dallas was so perfect that I had a hard time believing that he was real, three-dimensional person. In fact, I didn’t even remember his name and had to look back through the book before writing this review. Winnie’s little brother, Winston, was a lot of fun, though, and it was sweet reading about how close the siblings were and how far Winnie was willing to go to make her brother happy. Overall, If It Makes You Happy is a fun summery romance, but don’t expect the rest of the cast to shine a light to Winnie.
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 20%I'm so sad that this wasn't holding my attention that much. I was struuuuuuggling to get through the chapters and by the time I put this down I didn't feel much towards Winnie or her family at all.This is another It's Not You It's Me book.This starts in the middle of a kitchen fire started by Winnie's cousin Sam, and immediately character after character is introduced, along with backstory and relationships that felt weirdly underdeveloped/bland when they shouldn't have? At 20% in ther DNF at 20%I'm so sad that this wasn't holding my attention that much. I was struuuuuuggling to get through the chapters and by the time I put this down I didn't feel much towards Winnie or her family at all.This is another It's Not You It's Me book.This starts in the middle of a kitchen fire started by Winnie's cousin Sam, and immediately character after character is introduced, along with backstory and relationships that felt weirdly underdeveloped/bland when they shouldn't have? At 20% in there's already a lot going on, with two towns that are joined but not joined, a girlfriend who's not a girlfriend but might be a girlfriend, a boy who Winnie is attracted to but doesn't like but really cares about and they ignore each other for reasons unexplained, a baking competition for a reality TV show, a weird Haven Summer Queen drawing thing (wtf even was that), and a competition to get the Summer Queen's hand or whatever, and a diner that's Very Important for ~Reasons~. So much going on and I didn't care about any of it.There was just so much telling. So much. And it didn't feel like it mattered to the plot or characterizations because whenever there was a jump of telling I was either struggling to figure out what people were doing or who was talking.I felt like I was getting 18 years of information crammed into 50 pages, and information that I didn't necessarily need for the story?The thing I did like was the representation. Winnie is a fat bisexual Black girl, and her insecurities about being in front of people and being weighed at the doctor (and not being listened to), were so well done.Anywho. I'm disappointed I didn't like this more, since I absolutely adored Let's Talk About Love, and I'm sad to put it down because this was one of my most anticipated releases of June.I think that it will resonate for other people, but the writing style wasn't doing it for me.I couldn't focus enough to care.I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
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  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review on The Candid CoverAny book about diners and cooking competitions is an instant win for me, so I was very excited when I learned about If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann. The book is not just about the diner, however, as it touches on serious topics as the main character is crowned the summer queen. I enjoyed the influential message the novel has to offer along with the main character who is unapologetically herself. This is a quietly powerful read that I would definitely recommend Full Review on The Candid CoverAny book about diners and cooking competitions is an instant win for me, so I was very excited when I learned about If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann. The book is not just about the diner, however, as it touches on serious topics as the main character is crowned the summer queen. I enjoyed the influential message the novel has to offer along with the main character who is unapologetically herself. This is a quietly powerful read that I would definitely recommend.❀ UPLIFTING BOOKThis book tells the story of a girl who dreams about inheriting her family’s diner, only the diner is running out of money to stay open. To fix this, Winnie decides to enter a cooking competition, the very one that her grandmother forbids. At the same time, Winnie is chosen as the summer queen in her town and has two people fighting for her hand. I enjoyed the blend of cute and serious in the book, and the amount of communication is perfect. I especially enjoyed the way the characters apologize without excuses, so they are genuine. There are a variety of topics discussed including figuring out one’s sexuality, and I liked how the author doesn’t really use labels to define it. Ultimately, this is an uplifting book perfect for fans of Sandhya Menon.❀ COMPLEX MAIN CHARACTERWinnie is a complex character in this character-driven book. She is passionate and willing to do anything to protect what she loves. As well, she is confident enough to be her true self and voice her concerns. I loved how Winnie doesn’t let anyone make her feel ashamed about her weight or who she is, including medial professionals. She is such an empowering main character, and her communication skills allow her to be a positive influence on her friends, her community, and the reader.If It Makes You Happy is a book that blends sweetness and significance. It has a moving plot as the main character attempts to save her family’s diner, and Winnie is such an inspiring character. I would definitely recommend this one for the summer, especially to those who enjoyed books like Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’.
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  • Mehsi
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the publisher/tour host in exchange of an honest review.It is time for summer, and that means that Winnie is all eager to visit Misty Haven where her grandma lives and has a diner called Goldeen (yes, the Pokemon). But her summer is going to be way different than she has planned. With romance, a competition, a kingly/queenly kind of event, trouble, and people trying to get her to lose weight (though she is just happy with who she is, bless her).The diner was so much fun I received this book from the publisher/tour host in exchange of an honest review.It is time for summer, and that means that Winnie is all eager to visit Misty Haven where her grandma lives and has a diner called Goldeen (yes, the Pokemon). But her summer is going to be way different than she has planned. With romance, a competition, a kingly/queenly kind of event, trouble, and people trying to get her to lose weight (though she is just happy with who she is, bless her).The diner was so much fun, there was a dash of fun chaos with the oven constantly going in def-con mode and a grandma who didn’t want to fix it for some reason. We read about food, about karaoke cleaning nights, we see Winnie make deliveries and handle tough customers (the customer is definitely not always right that is how you get these type of people in your restaurant), we read about how the diner looks which I could easily see in my mind and I wished I could visit.Winnie was such a fun character. She is driven, she has a goal in life, she knows what she wants. It was great to see her have all these plans, all these ideas of what she wants for the future. I would love to visit her diner when she sets it all up.I am glad that she didn’t mind that she was larger than most people. It is just a shame that others didn’t think so, but I was delighted that she wasn’t just going to let people run over her with their thoughts. Yes, maybe the whole doctor scene was a bit overkill, but I can imagine that she got so pissed. If I came for a darned blood-test and someone would go on and on about my weight and how I would die, I would also flip a table. 😛 Then there was the thing with Sam. While at first I did kind of agree with Sam, not too much, but a little bit. Exercise is never bad in my book (if you can exercise that is), but then she took it too far. It was still sweet of Winnie to go through it because she wanted to do something with Sam (though in the end Winston just tagged along the whole time :P).I do feel sad that Winnie had such a low self-esteem despite being pretty much OK with having more weight. I was shipping her from the start with Dallas but she is just so awkward and weird with him. She keeps thinking that he doesn’t want her romantically because she is fat and pretty boys don’t go for fat girls. Girl, please. There is a person out there for everyone, and I immediately could see that Dallas was just fine with how Winnie looked. That he was more than happy to spend time with her. So yeah, the parts with Dallas were a bit cringy, but thankfully she did seem to understand that Dallas wasn’t going anywhere, though it took her a while to see that. I would have definitely liked some more sweet moments with Dallas (though there were still quite a few as Dallas isn’t one to give up, and he was so so sweet towards Winnie. Helping her out when things didn’t go well, listening, making sure to do the right thing).The competition, it was a shame that it happened near the end, I had expected it to get a bit more of it, but it was still terribly fun to read about it, see who is going to the finals, and see who is getting picked. I am so happy that Winnie pushed through and that she did that for someone in her life. Thanks to her that person has a wonderful opportunity and a great future ahead of them.While I am still very much wondering what is going on between Kara and Winnie. Is it romance? Is it friendship? Is it both? I did like seeing the two together, though I wish we had seen more of Kara before the summer. Now we quickly see her be jealous of Dallas, be angry at Dallas and it defined how I saw Kara throughout most of the book. There are some hints of a Kara that I did love and that I could see why Winnie is so smitten by her. Like how sweet she was to make a whole freezer full of gluten-free food for Winnie (yes, really). Or that she was there to listen when Winnie needed someone. Or how dedicated she was in the whole king/queen thing.Normally I am not a fan of a love triangle, but in this one it fit. I was both shipping Winnie with Kara, but also Winnie with Dallas. It felt all natural for these three to be together in a way. I guess you could call it polyamory, and I was delighted with how things were written. I loved how Winnie was quite clear on her intentions and also kept telling Kara or Dallas that she loves them both, that she would like them to get along, that she wants both of them in her life. And this may sound like she can’t choose, but that is not how it felt to me. It felt right, and I was just awwing.There was at times a bit too much thoughts going on and not so much actually happening, which I wasn’t a too big of a fan of. I am not one to enjoy thought-driven stories. Give me plot! Give me a story! Let something happen that isn’t in someone’s head.The grandma? Oh boy. Don’t get me started on that witch. She was just the worst. Making snide comments about her grandchild’s weight, pushing her to diet and do exercise. Restricting her from several things for no apparent good reason. One could say she has a strong personality, I would just call her a bitch. I do wonder if she has always been like this, given what Winnie’s parents say yes, but given that the previous years all went OK, I wonder what changed. Despite that Winnie is 18 years old, an adult, she treated Winnie like a child. She even called her child. And sure, hey, the lady is like 70/80 years old and 18 is nothing to her, but a bit more respect would have been nice.The ending was really nicely done, yes it was sad that it had to end like this, but I guess we could have seen it coming from early on. It was wonderful to end it with all of them in the car, talking over, saying I love you’s. Aww!All in all, I had a wonderful time reading this book. Yes, sometimes I was shaking my head at it all, but mostly I was rooting for the characters, hoping for the romance to get somewhere and cheering when romantic things happened, I loved how positive it was, shipping the characters, and laughed during the sillier moments. I would recommend it.Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I spent most of the book being super confused about who characters were and why they were making certain choices, and I feel kind of let down? I think the premise of a couple of the plot threads wasn't established very well. The book was trying to be Gilmore Girls, I think, but the thing with TV is that it's easier to launch viewers into an active world than it is with a book, since you have to more clearly establish descriptions and make characters clearer.
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  • Toya
    January 1, 1970
    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) 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.
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    I think the synopsis does a pretty good job explaining what the book is about, so I want to talk more about the characters.First is Winnie.  She is 18 and working at her granny's diner the way she does every summer.  She loves working there.  Her brother Winston, and cousin, Sam stay there with her.  Winnie is black and fat (not said in a bad way).  She is happy with how she is.  She's pretty confident except when it comes to public speaking.   She didn't sign up, but someone put her name in for I think the synopsis does a pretty good job explaining what the book is about, so I want to talk more about the characters.First is Winnie.  She is 18 and working at her granny's diner the way she does every summer.  She loves working there.  Her brother Winston, and cousin, Sam stay there with her.  Winnie is black and fat (not said in a bad way).  She is happy with how she is.  She's pretty confident except when it comes to public speaking.   She didn't sign up, but someone put her name in for "queen" for the summer.  And her name was picked.  Her ungirlfriend, Kara (more about her later), volunteered for be her queen.  But a boy, Dallas, also volunteered as king.  The two had to compete to spend the summer by Winnie's side.Kara is Winnie's ungirlfriend.  Kara loves Winnie and doesn't want to be with anyone else.  But Winnie doesn't want to be exclusive, while wanting Kara in her life forever.  They have a great friendship and things work well because they are always honest with each other.  But Kara kept something about Dallas from Winnie and it causes some major issues with them.Dallas is someone that I really grew to love through the book.  It took him awhile to open up to Winnie, but he finally did.  He likes her, but he isn't a fan of Kara.  Winnie explains that he doesn't have to be with Kara to be with her, but they have to get along.  Dallas is willing to try and I loved how sweet he was with Winnie.  He was honest and really listened.Sam is Winnie's 16 year old cousin.  Sam and her dad have lived with Winnie's family, so Sam is more like a sister.  She is a bit hyper and too perfect with things.  She definitely likes things to go her way, but she's also very sensitive and fears that everyone hates her.  Some of the things she says to Winnie can be insensitive, but she tries.Winston is Winnie's 14 year old brother.  This relationship was my favorite in the book.  Winnie had a great relationship with her parents, too, but the sibling relationship was everything.  Winston has been working along side the diner's cook.  And he's gotten good.  Really good.  It's something that he really wants to do and once he tells Winnie, she wants him to join a competition.  But her granny said no.Granny.  I had a tough time with this relationship.  Winnie is the oldest grandchild and was special to her granny.  But it also opened her up to the most criticism.  Things start to go bad when Winnie refuses to let the doctor weigh her.  The doctor starts lecturing her on health issues without ever seeing her chart.  Winnie is active, just bigger.  And she's fine with it.  But it quickly becomes obvious that her granny isn't.  Winnie tries to explain her feelings, but her granny doesn't get it.  This is just the start of their fighting.  I really wanted her granny to try to understand things from Winnie's point of view.  They were both similar though.  Quick to temper and stubborn.  There is definitely romance in the book, but most of it felt like friendship and getting to know someone.  Kara has a lot of jealousy of Dallas.  She's afraid of losing Winnie because it's obvious that she likes Dallas a lot.  I really liked that even though they weren't friends, they were both willing to try for Winnie's sake.I thought it was great that Winnie wasn't afraid of being who she was.  No real labels.  Just living life to be happy, but still focused on making others happy.  I would have given this a higher rating, but I was kind of bummed by the ending.  But overall, I loved all the fat positive things and the relationships in the book.I gave this 4 stars.  Thank you to the publisher, Swoon Reads/Macmillan, for sending me a copy for review.
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  • Lisa Mandina
    January 1, 1970
    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 Kar 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.This review first appeared on Lisa Loves Literature.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don't usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adored it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann's writing style - simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town. Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny's diner, and I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don't usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adored it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann's writing style - simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town. Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny's diner, and that's not what it was. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don't really seem to go anywhere. They're just a collection of scenes, rather than part of an overreaching storyarc. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambly thoughts, rather than a story that's headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story was on her weight. This may have worked better for me if I'd gone into with different expectations. As it is, I'm not invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.
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  • Chandra
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5 rounded up.First off let me just say this cover is everything!(view spoiler)[ I started off really liking this book and I did enjoy most things about it. What made me enjoy it less over time was Winnie and Kara's relationship. More so just Kara in general and I was seeing a lot of red flags about her character early on. Winnie apologized far too much when Kara was constantly avoiding taking responsibility for her own actions and taking the longest to apologize for some very unhealthy behav 2.5/5 rounded up.First off let me just say this cover is everything!(view spoiler)[ I started off really liking this book and I did enjoy most things about it. What made me enjoy it less over time was Winnie and Kara's relationship. More so just Kara in general and I was seeing a lot of red flags about her character early on. Winnie apologized far too much when Kara was constantly avoiding taking responsibility for her own actions and taking the longest to apologize for some very unhealthy behavior. All of that really bothered me, Kara just comes off as really possessive.Other than that I did enjoy this book, I really liked Winnie as a character, she was relatable and funny and the most caring. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    Not going to lie, this book took a while for me to dive into, there was so many things happening in the first 50 or so pages. I finally kind-of understood the storyline after that, but the plot didn't go anywhere much. It follows Winnie, a girl of colour who's on summer break in Misty Haven, and follows themes such as friendship, loyalty, family, health, and love.That being said, huge bonus points for the detail that went into a lot of the characters, and it really allowed me to connect with som Not going to lie, this book took a while for me to dive into, there was so many things happening in the first 50 or so pages. I finally kind-of understood the storyline after that, but the plot didn't go anywhere much. It follows Winnie, a girl of colour who's on summer break in Misty Haven, and follows themes such as friendship, loyalty, family, health, and love.That being said, huge bonus points for the detail that went into a lot of the characters, and it really allowed me to connect with some of the characters on a quasi-personal level.Rating: 3.5/5Thanks to Swoon Reads/Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan for the advanced reader's edition, which I got at the Sydney Writer's Festival!
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  • Michelle (Love, Stars and Books)
    January 1, 1970
    (I received a free eARC from NetGalley & Xpresso Book tours for a voluntary and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own)Book review: If it makes you happy by Claire Kann (4 stars) If it makes you happy by Claire KannGenre: YA, contemporary, Romance, LGBTRating: 4/5 stars(Review)(DISCLAIMER: All thoughts and opinions are my own.)Winnie is spending her summer working at her family’s diner and hanging out with Dallas, who she has a crush on. When she snaps at a doctor, everyone give (I received a free eARC from NetGalley & Xpresso Book tours for a voluntary and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own)

Book review: If it makes you happy by Claire Kann (4 stars) If it makes you happy by Claire KannGenre: YA, contemporary, Romance, LGBTRating: 4/5 stars(Review)(DISCLAIMER: All thoughts and opinions are my own.)Winnie is spending her summer working at her family’s diner and hanging out with Dallas, who she has a crush on. When she snaps at a doctor, everyone gives her advice and tells her that she’s “too fat”. She hopes to one day inherit the diner but her Granny doesn’t want her to enter.I love that Winnie isn’t afraid to speak her mind and is unapologetic about being herself, YOU GO GIRL! This is the first time I’m reading about a pansexual protagonist and I enjoyed it!Although not clarified in the synopsis, Winnie and her best friend, Kara are in a queerplatonic relationship and tells the story that Winnie falls in love with someone else for the first time.I really enjoyed the pacing, events of the book and Winnie’s strong character, I would recommend for everyone to read this!
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  • Caro
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tour and Netgalley for providing me with a digital Arc in exchange for an honest Review!💗 Read this Review on my Blog 💗CW's: Emotional Abuse, FatphobiaRepresentation 🌺 Queer Black Fat MC Why You Should read If It Makes You Happy The main character Winnie ☀ Now she is a force to behold and I can happily say that I immediately liked Winnie. She is a queer black fat girl and has often experienced a number of hate against her on ground of her sexuality, size Thank you to Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tour and Netgalley for providing me with a digital Arc in exchange for an honest Review!💗 Read this Review on my Blog 💗CW's: Emotional Abuse, FatphobiaRepresentation 🌺 Queer Black Fat MC Why You Should read If It Makes You Happy The main character Winnie ☀ Now she is a force to behold and I can happily say that I immediately liked Winnie. She is a queer black fat girl and has often experienced a number of hate against her on ground of her sexuality, size and skin color. The book mainly tackles how she combats fatphobia and promotes body positivity, as Winnie feels comfortable in her body and does not want to lose weight. I liked that the author confronted fatphobia head on. Winnie is such a kind person; she is always there for everyone and often takes care of everyone but herself. She is constantly trying to fix things and be there for her friends, that she is incredibly loyal to. However, she is also someone not to be messed with. Winnie speaks her mind and stands up to herself, even when it’s hard and you should better not hurt her friends. In contrast, I liked that the book explored how she did have troubles with public speaking and being the center of attention, it was very relatable to me. All in all, Winnie has a good heart and even when she makes mistakes is very big on communication and working through problems.The supporting characters & the amazing friendships ☀ Literally every character has their own story and personality and shines a new light on the story. I immediately liked Winston, Winnie’s brother and aspiring chef, because he has such a strong, but also realistic relationship with his sister. He’s 14 years old and therefore also prone to being annoyed by Winnie, but he’ll always stick with her, as she has always protected him in turn. This is one of the best sibling relationships I have read about because it feels so real and genuine: the author explores both the ups and downs. Winnie’s cousin Sam is also part of the family and though it took me a while, she grew on me as well. Sam is spoilt as Winnie is always cleaning up her mess due to being soft on her. Despite being a bit naive, Sam generally means well and is pretty much the peacemaker in the family. I also liked Winnie’s – let’s be real – soulmate Kara, who she’s in a queerplatonic relationship with. Both are very committed to each other and take their relationship seriously. I liked seeing how much they meant to each other and set out to support the other whenever possible. However, things aren’t always perfect e.g. when Kara makes a big mistake and doesn’t handle it very well. I liked that the book was very big on communication, but in a totally realistic way. I think that talking is vital in addressing problems and maintaining healthy bonds with people, but I liked that the book also highlighted that sometimes people need to be left alone, before they are ready to open up.Toxic family relationships handled well ☀ This one concerns Winnie’s grandmother. In the beginning I wasn’t sure about her, as she seemed to be this stricter and slightly bossy grandma, that however would fight for her family. The book takes us on a journey by watching Winnie realize a lot about her grandma and her relationship with her. It’s a very messy and toxic one, that Winnie never really questioned, until it becomes too much for her. Her grandmother is very manipulative, and I would also say emotionally abusive, as she constantly pushed Winnie to do what she wants, punishing her when she goes off script and never offers her an explanation. In the end Winnie has to always apologize to ‘smooth things over’ and even has been thrown out of the diner. It’s clear that her grandmother isn’t listening to anything she says and probably won’t change her problematic pattern, of never admitting her own mistakes. The story never vilified her and instead showed both the good and the bad sides and how Winnie figures out that this isn’t a healthy relationship with her anymore.Slowburn romance & smalltown fun ☀ A main part of the book is Winnie working in her grandmother’s diner and generally spending her summer in the small town of Misty Haven, where she is surprisingly crowned Summer ‘Queen’ and must represent the city with her suitor Dallas. Now Dallas is also a supporting character that I loved so much! It took him a while to open up, but he is generally a good guy who has a gentle heart. He’s a bit secretive at first, but he’s got a huge crush on Winnie and you can see how they are drawn to each other. I really liked their relationship, it was defined by honesty, getting to know the other person and a lot of great chemistry. Winnie likes him against her better judgment in the beginning, but the good news is that he is an honorable boy who is genuinely interested in her. He’s respectful and trying to fit into Winnie’s world. As she’s in a queerplatonic relationship with Kara, dating someone else is an option, but she makes clear to Dallas, that Kara is a part of her and will not become second choice in the end. Of course, there are struggles trying to make it work, but they were very realistic and in the end Dallas and Winnie had such a beautiful slow burn romance that was entirely realistic!
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