Title: The Summer of Jordi Peres (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
Author: Amy Spalding
Publishing Date: April 3rd 2018
Published by: Sky Pony Press
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 224 pages
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 starts with Abby, the main character, on her way to her first day working at her favorite boutique. I feel like the first few pages are not the best introduction to Abby as a character. Abby is very, very disperse at the beginning, she gets distracted way too easily and it’s a bit annoying because we’re reading the story from her perspective. But if you give it a few pages that distractiveness isn’t a big character trait in the rest of the book.
After that rough start, I actually got to like Abby. She is a pink-haired, fat, lesbian girl, who loves fashion and blogs about it and is always dressed in colorful clothes. Then there’s Jordi, the love interest, a talented mexican-american girl, who loves photography and dresses all in black. The amount of good representation in this book, in terms of sexuality, body-positivity and ethnicity is lovely to see.
From the start, it’s easy to tell this is the story of a first love, there’s certain innocence to the relationship and the romance that made the story sweet and put a smile on my face. There’s instant attraction between the characters, but the relationship development is organic. They like each other, they go on dates and it doesn’t take forever for them to get together. Abby and Jordi are incredibly cute together and there’s so many sweet moments. The conflict that surges between them is very predictable, there’s a lot of not so subtle hints about it, and it’s not the biggest conflict ever, but it’s easy to understand where the characters are coming from. At the end, this is a very adorable story, so don’t expect lots of angst and drama when it comes to the conflict, which to be honest is something I really like about it.
I was expecting the whole best burgers of Los Angeles plot to be a bit more important since it’s on the title of the book. The reality is that Abby and Jax go eat burgers together in several ocasions throughout the book and they become friends because of that. They are very different people and they have very different perspectives and it is interesting to read their conversations, which are hilarious, and the burgers are more an excuse for their friendship to develop that anythig else. Don’t go into this book expecting amazing food descriptions because that’s not what you’re gonna find. Instead, you’ll get an amazing and compelling friendship, that will keep you entertain. It is one of my favorite parts of the story.
Other interesting subjects and themes that are present in this books are: complex family dynamics, especially between Abby and her mom; then there’s female friendship, Abby has 3 friends who are not perfect, but they are supportive, encouraging and loving; and also there’s abby’s work in the boutique, which revolves around social media, it’s really great to see the real applications of social media in buisness and the importance that it has, because it’s such a big part of our world.
Overall, this is short, cute and funny story with a diverse cast of characters, that addresses important subjects and that will have you smiling the entire time.
Rating: 4 stars
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