Kels Roth is a star. Her YA book review blog, “One True Pastry” — OTP for short — is gaining followers like crazy. She’s practically guaranteed a spot at BookCon this year. She’s pretty much destined for NYU.

There’s just only problem — Kels Roth is all a lie.

Meet Halle Levitt, a shy bookworm and a senior in high school. She created the persona of Kels Roth years ago with all the cool confidence that Halle couldn’t seem to muster in her real life. Using her pen name, Halle has made connections in the publishing world. She’s also formed friendships with other teen creators online, including one Nash Stevens. Nash is her best friend, and they share nearly everything with each other. Everything, except for Halle’s real identity.

But when Halle moves right before her senior year, she realizes that this lie just became a lot harder to hide — because suddenly, Nash isn’t just her online friend. He’s also her classmate. 

When Nash tells Kels, Some new kids moved into town. A sister and a brother. The girl’s our age, I think. I met her at the library, Halle desperately wants to confess, she’s me, but two words have never been more impossible to write.

A NEW TWIST ON A CLASSIC ROMANCE TROPE

In her debut novel What I Like About You (Simon & Schuster), Marisa Kanter takes the common YA trope of love triangles and turns it sideways. In this story, the obstacle between Halle and Nash isn’t another love interest — it’s Halle’s own secret alter-ego. After years of online friendship with Nash, how is Halle supposed to tell him who she really is? How is she supposed to deal with this boy who wants to befriend her, not realizing they’ve already been best friends for years?

Kanter keeps her readers on their toes as she unravels the tangled threads of Halle, Kels and Nash, and what Halle’s separate identities mean to each of them, while also keeping the reader guessing about answer to the biggest question: How is Halle going to tell Nash about Kels?

Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will love this charming and romantic read. 

A ROMANTIC STORY THAT REACHES BEYOND ROMANCE

Things aren’t all romance either. Not only does Halle have to juggle moving right before her senior year, but she’s also in the midst of stressful college applications. After years of moving all over the U.S., Halle has lost count of how many times she’s been the “new kid” at school. This move is by far, the most challenging. After the loss of her grandmother, she’s moving in with her brother to look after her grief-stricken grandfather. Behind the sweet romance, What I Like About You tells a strong story of family and resilience.

Ultimately, Kanter’s novel isn’t just about high school sweethearts — it’s about finding love in a difficult time. Halle learns that love and support can come from her family, her friends, her support groups — and they’ll be there for her, as long as she’s willing to take the leap and reach out. And if she tells him the truth, Nash might just be there for her too.

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Marisa Kanter writes young adult novels featuring ambitious girls, soft boys and all the feels. She grew up surrounded by books near Boston, MA. Her love for books took her to New York City, where she graduated from New York University with a B.S. in Media, Culture and Communication as well as a Creative Writing minor.

She has worked in publicity for major publishers and covered YA books for MTV. Currently, she works in sales on the distribution side of the publishing industry. She can often be found searching for the best iced chai in NYC or reading on the 3 train.

What I Like About You is her first novel.