Book review: The Summer of Jordi Perez
Book reviews

The Summer of Jordi Perez – Amy Spalding

Release date: 3 April 2018
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4 stars

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) blurb:

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 an internship at at her favourite 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 also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in Los Angeles, and she’s struggling to prove to her mother – the city’s celebrity health nut – that she’s perfectly content with who she is.

Just as Abby starts to feel like she’s no longer the sidekick in her own life, Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight. Instead of feeling like she’s landed a starring role, Abby feels betrayed. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?

This book was super cute. A huge shout out to Sam @ Sleepy Sam Reads for reviewing it and making me aware that it exists! Thank you Sam, I would not have read this book without your review. Also, I REMEMBERED TO TAB PAGES! I HAVE QUOTES!

This book is about the summer between junior and senior years. (That’s the entirety of my very basic understanding of how the US school system works… Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior. Also, prom and homecoming are two different events that you need dresses for. All of this knowledge is gained from movies.) It’s also about first loves, friendships, family, fashion, learning about who you are and what you are willing to do, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, burgers. No, I am not joking.

Abby lands her dream internship at a local fashion boutique for the summer. One that could potentially end up giving her a part-time job at the end of the summer. She’s also coming to terms with the fact that her best friend, Maliah, is in a relationship with Trevor, and that means they hang out less. Also, Trevor’s best friend, Jax, wants Abby to eat burgers with him – for a PROJECT. (where do I sign up for these things?) Her sister is not coming home for the summer, and Abby’s mom is driving her up the wall. And, just in case that’s not enough for one summer, Abby has a crush on the girl who is competing with her on the internship.

I freely admit that this book made me cry. Not that it had super sad content or anything, but because I related to Abby on about 10 different levels (the same way I related to Molly from The Upside of Unrequited). There is not enough positive fat contemporary books out there. Or if there are, they are shamed into existence when they should be held up as shining examples of positive body image. I grew up fat. I was healthy though, I played sport – hell, I played representative sport for the city AND state I lived in. But I always felt like I wasn’t ‘pretty’ or ‘good’ enough, and when boys showed interest in me, I fobbed it off or thought I had to do more to make them like me. I found it hard to accept that they would like me for me. I hope that books like this one make it HUGE in mainstream so that teens out there that are like me don’t feel that way.

… people – especially people on the internet – can be so mean when you’re fat. As if fat makes you stupid or dirty or irresponsible. As if fat makes you anything other than … fat.

The relationship that Abby has with her mother reminds me so much of my own relationship with my mum when I was a teen. Hell, sometimes it reminds me of my relationship I have with her now! I know, and I think Abby knows too, that her mum just wants the best for her, and it might be true – sometimes thinner people have less adversity in their life. Of course she just wants her daughter to have an easier life. But sometimes kids just need their parents to see them for who they are, and love them unconditionally. Verbally.

“Of course I love you,” Mom says.

“Well, then like me.”

Now that I’m done sobbing over my body-issues anxiety and relationship fears, can we take two seconds to appreciate Jax, Abby’s friend-in-law, who is a) the best comic relief in the world, and b) such a sweet little marshmallow underneath all the tough boy posturing and lacrosse-bro talk. Jax may have been my favourite thing in this whole book. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s so much else that is amazing, but Jax was just… words.)

“Why are boys so scared of girl feelings?” I ask.

“Abbs, I’m a feminist,” he says. “I’m equally scared of all feelings.”

There were heaps of gorgeous characters that I loved though – this is a very character-driven story. Abby is a sweet natured girl, as is Jordi, the love interest/competitor. Maggie, the fashion designer/store owner, is also hilarious (definitely the best adult in the book). Maggie is also delightfully real, and super supportive of both girls.

This book was super easy to read. (I did it in 3 days between packing and cleaning and all sorts of things!) It was a fun read too – the relationships, fears and conversation were all very relatable. The adults were just as messy as the teens, and it didn’t have that horrible ‘posturing’ type of speak that is sometimes given to teens. (When really, as if teens actually talk like that?!)

If you’re looking for a fun, summer contemporary read, this is the book you are looking for.

Until next time, happy reading ??

I realised after I finished this review that I forgot to mention that it (obvs) has an LGBTQIA+ MC. I thought about going back and adding it in, but then I realised that THIS SHOULD NOT BE A BIG THING. This should just be normal, like “diverse reads” should be a normal thing. We shouldn’t have to hype these things, like we don’t hype hetero relationships in books.


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