The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles)
by Amy Spalding
Expected Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
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)?
The Summer of Jordi Perez is the kind of book I have seen so many readers asking for, and I’m so, so glad it’s going to exist in the world. The Summer of Jordi Perez is about Abby, who is excited about her first step toward her hopeful eventual career in the fashion industry: a summer internship at Lemonberry, a chic store in Abby’s neighborhood that caters to all sizes (think Modcloth). Abby’s always loved fashion, but it doesn’t always love her, or at least girls that look like her, so she also runs a fashion blog focused on plus-sized style called +style.
Everything seems to be looking up for Abby, despite the fact she still has to put up with her mom’s healthy eating blog, which is a big deal and its own brand, and her sister at college is growing increasingly more distant. On the first day of her internship, she meets fellow intern Jordi Perez, a girl she knows from school but barely talks to — but soon that’s not the case, and Abby starts falling hard and fast for Jordi.
The Summer of Jordi Perez is a fun, delightful read. There’s so much to love about the book, from Abby’s growing confidence to the adorable relationship that springs between her and Jordi to Abby’s completing platonic friendship with Jax, who Abby meets through her best friend’s boyfriend. I found the depiction of weight in The Summer of Jordi Perez refreshing. The book is not about Abby’s weight, but the book also doesn’t ignore the reality for plus-sized girls–Abby struggles with finding stores that stock her style in her size, and while she’s normally okay in her skin, she also doesn’t want to put pictures of herself on her blog because of the potential for hate comments, which is a very reasonable fear. In this aspect, The Summer of Jordi Perez reminds me a bit of The Upside of Unrequited in some ways, since Jordi is a photographer and Abby is forced to confront how Jordi sees her, not how Abby thinks the world sees her.
The romance itself is also well-done. The growing attraction beween Jordi and Abby is evident very early on, but it was refreshing to read a romance play out organically and without much drama. Both Jordi and Abby are already out before the book starts, and while at times Abby’s mother says things that are a bit off, on the whole both family dynamics are realistically portrayed and without any over-the-top theatrics. And of course, there would be no plot without some conflict, so it’s not like the book is devoid of drama. . . it’s just devoid of needless drama. Overall, this is a happy, uplifting book that I hope finds its ways into the hands of queer teen girls.
A charming read about a plus-sized stylish girl getting the girl of her dreams (and figuring out the best burger in Los Angeles). 4/5 cupcakes.