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What: The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

Who: Sky Pony Press

When: April 3rd 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Sky Pony Press for review via 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’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.

But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She’s also unwittingly become friends with Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in L.A.; she’s struggling to prove to her mother—the city’s celebrity health nut—that she’s perfectly content with who she is; and she’s desperately trying to remain behind the scenes and off-camera where she feels she belongs, when she hangs out with Jordi, who documents her entire life in photographs.

Though crazy, summer’s been fun, and just as Abby starts to feel like she’s no longer the sidekick in her own life anymore, Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight for the first time, and it feels more 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?

The Summer of Jordi Perez, was, in one word: cute. I don’t really feel like I read a lot of cute books, and I guess that’s what made The Summer of Jordi Perez so refreshing. That’s not to say that the book didn’t tackle tough topics, or that it was drama free, because it wasn’t. But the majority of The Summer of Jordi Perez was really, really cute.

The main character in The Summer of Jordi Perez is Abby: fat, gay, and a fashionista. One of my favourite parts of The Summer of Jordi Perez was Abby’s outfits. Her style sounded so colourful and adorable, and I wanted to see them in real life. I especially liked the sound of her tie-dyed dress. I am not a colourful person when it comes to fashion but I think if I had a tie-dyed dress it would be the exception.

I think Abby’s character was overall pretty fleshed out, but there was one thing that I think was remiss. And that was her adamance that she would never find love. It didn’t really make sense to me because there was no back story given as to why she might feel this way, and there was no exploration of her feelings on this topic, either. It was just Abby saying that she was going to be alone forever and never find love. For such a strong feeling, and a topic that Abby touched on multiple times, it really wasn’t explored enough.

The Summer of Jordi Perez is by no means an action packed novel. In fact I would call this a YA romance because the main arc of the book was Abby’s relationship with Jordi. And that relationship was pretty darn adorable. I liked how they clicked so easily, and I liked how they complemented each other in so many different ways. I guess I would have liked a little more build up to their relationship because it went from ‘we don’t know each other’ to ‘I have a massive crush on you’ to ‘I love you’ pretty quickly. But I guess this is a summer romance and they do have that whirlwind reputation, right? Either way, the romance between Abby and Jordi was cute as heck.

I felt like some things weren’t executed as well as they could have been. For instance, Abby goes around town with this new friend, Jax, to find the best burger in Los Angeles. But I felt like their relationship moved too quickly (much like Abby and Jordi’s but on the friendship level), and considering the burger part is in the title of the book it left a lot to be desired. Most of the time it was just Abby and Jax having a burger while talking about other plot arcs, and not much about the actual burgers.

There was also the fact that Abby’s mother fat-shamed her own daughter, and wanted her to have a boyfriend even though she knew about Abby being gay.  The only kind of resolution this got was the mum saying “I don’t know why the things I say come out that way” which is… pretty half-assed and overall not a great resolution.

There were a few instances of bi erasure in the book, as well. At the beginning there were statements like “girls who like girls”, which I thought was great. But by the end the conversations were only about gay girls, and there was no mention of Abby finding a girl who likes girls ever again. So for a book that started off petty good on the inclusivity, it ended very subpar.

Lastly, there was Abby’s weight. Throughout almost the entire book Abby is not ashamed of being fat. She embraces the word and her body. But then randomly at the end there’s this mini-arc about Abby actually not liking her body. I was a bit disappointed because overall the book had a body-positive vibe to it and that random bit at the end really took away from that.

All in all, The Summer of Jordi Perez was a cute novel for sure. There were just some things that hindered me from falling absolutely in love with it.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

fat shaming from a parent, homophobia/misia from parent, use of ableist language, bi erasure

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Posted on: April 13, 2018 • By: Chiara

7 Responses to Review: The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

  1. Verushka says:

    I totally agree with you — this has cute written all over it, even with the issues you pointed out.

  2. Kelly says:

    This sounds adorably cute but so sad to hear about the issues, especially with character biases and not being used as a point of apologising and learning, especially for Abby’s mother. It sounded as though it begun so wonderfully but ended on a sour note. Being a heavier girl, Abby sounds so wonderfully body positive even despite her mother shaming her, I wonder why the author made the decision to have her dislike her body. It gives the impression that being fat and happy is almost a false happiness and I hope readers choose to remember the positive aspects rather. Still sounds like an incredible endearing read nonetheless Chiara, absolutely lovely review, will be checking this one out <3

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, the issues I had with it certainly dampened my overall enjoyment. The mini plot with Abby’s mum was very under-developed, I have to say. I was incredibly happy that we had a fat protagonist who was so confident in herself and her body. So when the insecurities came out at the end, I was a bit disappointed. I would have preferred Abby’s self confidence to remain strong throughout the whole story, to be honest. Thanks, lovely! I hope you enjoy it :)

  3. To be honest, this one never really stood out to me, but I’m sorry to hear it didn’t really go beyond cute and also had some issues in it. I hate that Abby had to suddenly not like her body at the end – that’s kind of weird since she was so body-positive throughout the rest of the book. And that mom sounds awful! That’s so not a good excuse…

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      I wanted to give it a go because it was available for immediate download on Edelweiss! And I had heard some pretty good things about it. It was generally cute, and I did enjoy it for the most part. But the issues I had with it really prevented it from moving beyond that, which is kind of sad. And yeah, the mum thing was the worst.

  4. I already knew about the bi-erasure, which is such a shame, but the fact that it was such a body positive book until the end is disappointing as well! Still going to read this one one day though, as it really does sound adorable :) Great review!

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