If It Makes You Happy

For 12 years, Winnie has spent the summer in the town of Misty Haven, where her granny owns Goldeen's diner. This summer is no different, and Winnie couldn't be more delighted. Along with her cousin and brother, she takes up residence in Granny's apartment above the diner and gets to work as Goldeen's co-assistant manager. Misty Haven is also where Kara, Winnie's long-distance, queerplatonic "ungirlfriend," lives, and they're ecstatic to see each other and begin planning their college future together.

Then, despite not signing up, Winnie gets chosen for Misty Haven's Summer Royalty, "a sham of a matchmaking system" in which a queen is chosen and other teens compete to be her consort. Kara, of course, volunteers to rule by her side; so does wealthy and attractive Dallas Meyer, "the bane of [Winnie's] romantic existence." Winnie's had a crush on Dallas forever, but "boys like him don't date girls like [her]"--that is, fat black girls. Dallas, however, seems genuine in his interest. As Winnie's feelings for Dallas grow and Kara starts acting weird, Winnie is butting heads with Granny more than ever before, and her perfect summer slowly unravels.

Winnie is an utterly endearing, wholly believable protagonist. She loves her family, her friends and herself but still deals with family problems, confusing friend issues and feeling like she's too much: "I wish I was allowed to tell someone how I felt without having to make it palatable." If It Makes You Happy has just about everything one could want in a contemporary YA novel: romance, competition, honest fat-black-girl talk, sinister geese and a ton of "merry, magical Black-girl business." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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