Review: The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding *Spoilers*

Who wouldn’t want to put on a cute dress and eat some delicious burgers in the warm sunshine? Abby’s certainly got a lot to look forward to this summer, between cute looks, eating burgers around Los Angeles with her new friend Jax, plus an internship at hip boutique Lemonberry. With the possibility of a job at the end of the summer, the last thing Abby expects is to fall in love with Jordi, the other intern, but love isn’t a blog post you can schedule.

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Published: 7 April 2018

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Category: Young Adult/LGBT+/Contemporary Romance

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)?

Rating: 3 Stars

Rep: F/F romance

Abby is a conflicting person. On the one hand, she has a blog that’s meant to be powerful and pro plus size, not to mention some internal monologue about how the world sees her and some discourse with others (“fat’s not a bad word”). Then, on the other hand, she makes a lot of self deprecating comments that clash. She also doesn’t like her photograph being taken, though especially not it being posted anywhere. This becomes a point of contention between her and others throughout the novel and a big one later one.

After reading this book, I would believe that Abby was fashion obsessed, but that she was focused on her blog? I’m not too sure about that. I think that that might have been the intention originally, to make it something that she wanted to pursue professionally and I think she could have, but in the text I didn’t see her mention it all that much. It felt like a very casual thing even while fashion itself remained important.

Jordi’s artwork and her enthusiasm, her passion for it, felt real. It would’ve been great to see the photographs that were described because they sounded amazing. Her family was also fun to read about, from her father who sent leftovers like pollo verde and and caldo de pollo to share with Abby or her brother Christian playing video games.

Beyond characters and into narrative, there were times when scenes felt rushed, like conversations and interactions that felt like they were speeding by as though the author didn’t quite know what to do with those people or that instance so needed to get through them asap. It happened at least once with Jax and Abby when they were out on one of their burger excursions (the timing was off in how things played out), which was odd because their relationship had been so well developed until then, almost more so than her relationship with Jordi, so why skimp then?

There’s a betrayal at the climax of the book on Jordi’s part that, while others in the book found to be not a big deal, for Abby’s part I found to be heartbreaking. It goes back to her self image and while that might have needed some improvement, it doesn’t excuse the act. I thought, from other reviews, that Abby’s reaction would be something overreaching but nope. It was actually about right. If I’d been betrayed like this, I’d be at least as pissed as Abby. I hate having pics taken of me and to trust someone to take them & then put them on public display? That’s HORRENDOUS.

There’s also an issue about the levels of story in this book: Abby, Jordi, and the internship at Lemonberry (Story A), Abby, Jax, and the burgers (Story B), and Abby and her mom, Norah (Story C). The first two were decently developed, with fluctuating levels of interest throughout. The conflict between Abby and her mother, however, felt like it was being shoehorned in, especially at the last minute. It could have been an important one, especially with the commentary on body image, Abby’s body positivity & her blog, and Norah’s health food movement, but it was buried below Story A (Abby, Jordi, & Lemonberry) and Story B (Abby, Jax, & burgers).

I also had an issue with the wrap up of the endings. With regards to Jordi’s photographs at the gallery & Abby’s reaction…Jordi takes them down, puts them back up, between the two of them they invite everyone back and Abby gets over all her insecurity in a snap? Just like that? It really didn’t make sense that something that was so deeply ingrained was so quickly, basically swept away.

Then the internship that they were competing for the whole summer, which was supposed to be a whole source of tension through the book? It was literally solved with a simple “Maggie asks Jordi and me if we just want to split the part-time hours in the fall. We’ll both barely make any money but we all feel silly that we didn’t think of this solution sooner.” That was SUCH a take-away-the-stakes thing to do. If this had been a physical ARC, I think I would have flung it away from me in frustration.

The Summer of Jordi Perez had its cute moments for sure and reading it had good moments. I don’t know that I’d read it again, but there’s some fun to be had in that initial read, so anyone looking for a reasonably quick, cute f/f with some delicious food asides and some definitely adorable fashion looks can turn to this book.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

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