The Summer of Jordi Perez Cover
Synopsis from the Creator:

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 also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosseplaying 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?

Review: The Summer of Jordi Perez, by Amy Spalding

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 7, 2018 9:30:00 AM / by Suzanne

I think this is the best Young Adult f/f romance I've ever read. Yeah, that's not saying a whole lot since the market isn't exactly teeming with them, but Y'ALL. It is SO SWEET.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) is exactly what you expect from the title. The book follows Abby over the course of a summer. She gets an internship at a local fashion boutique and finds out that a girl she barely knows is also working there that summer - Jordi Perez. Jordi is an artsy Mexican-American girl who wears mostly black and is big into photography. Abby is a fat white girl who dresses in clothing with fruit patterns and has her hair dyed pink. On the surface, they're total opposites, but the relationship that grows between them is never antagonistic. It's sweet and moves slow, and it's just all kinds of adorable.

Abby's mom is the person behind "Eat Healthy With Nora!," a blog and soon cookbook, that's all about taking the carbs and fat out of everything. As you might expect, Abby has some shame about her weight because her mom is constantly trying to get her to "eat healthy," but it's also pointed out that Abby's body is the way it is. She likes walks and hiking, she usually eats her mom's hyper-healthy food, and she's still fat. It's how she's built, not a character flaw. One of the main themes in the book is Abby's acceptance of herself, and it's done in a way that felt both optimistic and realistic. Another theme is Abby's somewhat rocky relationship with her mom, both for being a lesbian and for being fat. There's some reconciliation, but it's still clear that Abby's mom has her own stuff to figure out and that it's not Abby's fault. It felt a little like Simon's dad in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Abby's friends are totally encouraging and want the best for her and her fashion blog (Plus Style). Her friend Malia, who starts the book sort of ignoring Abby in favor of her new boyfriend, Trevor, encourages her to model the styles she talks about on the blog. Trevor's best friend, Jax, invites Abby out for burgers to help his dad develop a new app (they have to/get to rate burgers around LA) and even though he's a "lacrosse bro," he never talks about food in a way that makes Abby feel bad, and tells her she's "f*cking cute," and stuff like that. It's the sort of unlikely friendship that pops up a lot in YA novels, but I really liked this one. 

The Black Moment in this novel is a little too close to the end for my liking, without enough of a ride-into-the-sunset period, but I liked the gentle, sweet relationship between Abby and Jordi so much that I'll overlook it. 

Other things I liked: the secondary characters and subplots in the book; Abby's effervescent, rambling speech; Jordi's parents teaching Abby to cook; the boutique and the woman who runs it. There's no sex on page, if that's a thing you'd like to know.

If you're looking for a book that makes you feel good? I hope you'll pick this one up.


Content Warnings: mild fatphobia from Abby's mom

I borrowed this book on audio from Hoopla, via my public library.

Topics: review