Book Review: The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
by Amy Spalding 
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Series: I firmly but kindly request a sequel
Published: April 3rd 2018
Times read: 2
Recommended by: Gabrielle, the power librarian

Cute cute cute cute. This. This is the book that I have been looking for. This is a sweet, funny, touching summer story about seventeen-year-old Abby who is starting out a new internship, making new friends, and falling in love. 

Abby is more how I wanted Leah from Leah on the Offbeat (even though I really liked that book) to be. Abby is so relatable. I think that we have all been that person who forgot how to stand or walk normally. Is this how I hold my arms? Why am I so aware of my young now? There are a few parts where Abby misses part of a conversation because she was daydreaming and oh man, have I ever been there. I am not gay but omg I was so Abby as a teenager. There is a scene of holding hands, and she is trying not to think about it too hard in case it isn’t happening. The way to loud inner dialogue, awkwardness, and self-doubt. So real.

I have a friend who told me once that she would love it if she didn’t have a body. That she wishes that people were just floating masses of energy or whatever. Reading about Abby’s struggle to be in front of the camera modeling the clothes that she loves reminds me of that. I also love that she has a complicated relationship with how she looks. One the one hand she is good with it in some setting and on the other it is her kryptonite, a secret, vulnerable spot that can easily hurt her. 

The human condition is bullshit.

The balance of Abby’s gayness seems just right. I like that this isn’t a coming out story. It is just a part of who she is, but it also affects a lot of things in her life because... reality. It is there but not the ultimate cause of drama.

I think that this is the first time that I have read a book about a fashion blogger and had a crystal clear idea of their style. Full skirts, fruit patterns, and belts. I am here for it! It is also clear that the author actually knows how social media works. 

The secondary characters in this book are all well defined and rich. You can imagine them having lives that are happening off the page. Abby and her best friend, Maliah are struggling a bit with balancing friendships and realationships. They are both seventeen and in their first relatioships. Of course, that is going to happen. It is sensitively and realistically explores the desire to stay as close to your best friend as you always have and the desire to be with this new person that you are in love with. I appreciate that Jax becomes her friend. He is that almost “stereotypical obnoxious boy from high school” but he manages to be sweet and funny and supportive. 

Food is very important in this book. It was interesting to see how different everyone's relationship to food and cooking was. Abby's mom is fixated on food but not the comfort that it can bring. Jordi's family makes empanadas together as a way to become closer. Abby and Jax scour Los Angeles in the search for the perfect burger. 

I have had some trouble finding f/f books that I actually liked and shipped. There are a bunch where the writing was found I was just not getting invested in the love story. So many of them read like really unhealthy friendships. So much angst. So I ha e have been questioning myself about internal biases because generally, I don’t have that problem with m/m books. Do I just have different standards for these books? Is it too much to just want something adorable as an option? I have been making an effort this year to read at least one f/f book a month. The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) is the first book that I have been 100% on board the relationship. Like, I will go down with this ship. Abby and Jordi are meant to be, and I will hear nothing to the contrary. Do not @ me you are wrong. Pardon me while I squee over them a bit.

From Goodreads:

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)?