Review of The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

3.75 of 5 stars

I received an eARC of this book from Edelweiss for review.

I want to start with I LOVED READING THIS BOOK but there was one particular element that dropped my rating.

First, let me list some of the many things this book does well:

+ The character actually states her identity on the page. Though I know many folks don’t feel the need for identifying words, there are countless others who feel validated by seeing their identities shared by main characters. In the last 17 books I’ve rear with queer MCs, only 10 actually used specific identifying words and weren’t just ambiguously queer. These aren’t great odds, especially considering the many ambiguously queer side characters I’m not counting. I think seeing specific identities is most important for folks who don’t identify as purely homosexual (gay/lesbian), which is how Abby identifies, but baby steps.

+ Abby had an amazing bromance in this book that made me really really happy.

+ Abby specifically states that fat is not a bad word, it’s just an adjective. The book as a whole also talks about how fat doesn’t equal unhealthy and fat-shaming is sucky (I know that sounds like a duh statement, but in a culture that thinks such behavior is perfectly acceptable it’s lovely to see someone calling it out as BS).

+ Seriously, I cannot praise the fat rep enough. It gets another plus sign.

+ I was initially worried about the female competition aspect of this book, but I was so happy with how the author handled it for the majority of the book. I love that Abby gets to have selfish desires and thoughts without being portrayed as a bad person. She gets to be competitive and ambitious without being vilified. I loved that part of the book.

Now for a small thing and a really big thing I had a problem with:

-The first few chapters were rough for me. I like that Abby’s inattention and internal monologue immediately cast her as an unreliable narrator in some ways, but it went on too long and happened too many times in the first few scenes. It quickly felt repetitive and boring to me. That being said, once we moved past those scenes I loved the the writing.

-Okay, the big thing. I’m not going to go into spoilers… if you want more details, shoot me a message but this is going to be a spoiler-free review. However, there is a very large plot point that creates significant tension in the book that is resolved in less than a paragraph near the end of the last chapter. It felt like a huge letdown to me. It felt like a cop-out. I was very excited to see how that particular story ended and was hugely disappointed. NOTE: I haven’t checked in the final copy to see if this issue made it all the way through. If it did not, I will amend my review/rating appropriately.

All in all, though, I still highly recommend this book. It has all sorts of good rep and characters that I loved. In future rereads, I’ll probably just skip the last bit.

I recommend this book to any readers looking for good fat MC rep as well as readers who want competitive ladies and fluffy wlw stories.

Author: SeeOwlRead

They/She. I’m a queer reviewer and librarian.

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