Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Received From: Edelweiss
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.
Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?
But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?
Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)?
GENDER: presumed cisgender
TROPES: friends to lovers, coworkers to lovers, unlikely pairing
TAGS: young adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, fat character, Mexican character, Latinx character, POC character, ownvoices
WARNINGS: queermisia, homomisia, bimisia, cissexism / transmisia, ableism, fatmisia, underage drinking
This book was a fun, summery read that I really enjoyed! My rating for it is probably closer to 3.5 than 4, but I rounded it up because I did enjoy the book overall.
I found Abby to be a really relatable character! The parts about her not being able to imagine anyone falling in love with her, and her constant rambling, internally and externally, were parts I especially identified with. It was nice to see a character who is really confident in some situations but is less so in others, because that’s a mode that I think a lot of people live in.
Also, I really appreciated the discussion around how Abby views her body. Because it’s so so true that there’s a difference between loving your body yourself and being comfortable enough to put it out there for public consumption, because you cannot control the way people will treat you. I loved that this conflict was shown at that Abby clearly knew her boundaries, and I liked that she ultimately became comfortable enough to open herself up publicly, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy how it ultimately came about.
Abby’s love of fashion was also really fun to read! It was so great to see her in an environment that catered to all body sizes and didn’t make her feel ashamed because she was the only fat girl there.
One thing I didn’t really enjoy about the book was the conversations around queerness. It’s discussed in such a binary way that it pretty much implies everyone is either gay or straight. Other sexualities were only mentioned once in a throwaway line about how Abby doesn’t understand how straight and bi girls deal with boys all the time. It’s an acknowledgement of bi people, at least, but it’s very near the end of the novel and that’s the only mention of people being anything other than gay or straight. Ultimately, this wasn’t a total deal breaker, but it would’ve been nice to see a more nuanced discussion of queerness since both the main character and love interest are queer. (And apparently the only two queer people amongst their friend groups??)
The angst twist near the end of the novel was expected, but it was still a huge gut punch of betrayal, and honestly, I wouldn’t have blamed Abby if she hadn’t forgiven Jordi in the end. Jordi knew that Abby wouldn’t want pictures of her in Jordi’s gallery show, so she just went ahead and did it without asking so she didn’t have to deal with Abby saying no and any guilt that may have come if she’d used them anyway. It’s a huge betrayal of trust, especially as Jordi knew how Abby feels about having pictures of herself in a public forum, and Jordi really had no business forcing Abby into this situation under the guise of “helpful, caring girlfriend.” Also, I didn’t like that Abby’s friends basically told her that she overreacted to Jordi betraying her trust the way she did. Abby had every right to be upset and feel the way she did, and her friends should’ve been far more sympathetic than they were. Additionally, they’re all apparently skinny, so they have no idea how it feels to be a fat person who is ridiculed simply for being fat, so their opinions don’t really matter here.
Overall, this was a good, fun book that I’d recommend, and it’s a great story about a fat girl finding love and enjoying her life.
Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
By day, she manages the digital media team for an indie film advertising agency. By later day and night, Amy writes, performs, and pets as many cats as she can.