This is a dote of a book, lads. It starts and ends there.
I will read almost any variety of YA fiction, but I have a special fondness for romances. My YA gateway drug was Sarra Manning’s Diary of a Crush series, which was full of wisecracks and pop culture references and joy and kisses and sleeping security guards in the Louvre and vintage dresses (I thought all vintage dresses would be so beautiful after reading Edie’s adventures – I didn’t anticipate so many years of wading through puffed sleeves and polyester) and ice cream and paddling pools in the backyard and music festivals and summer jobs in cafes and and and and and….
But so many lovely YA romances have one thing in common. Boy meets Girl. Rarely Boy meets Boy, and even less often, Girl meets Girl.
The Summer of Jordi Perez is Abby meets Jordi – two smart, talented, creative and likeable teen girls are chosen for a summer internship that leads to a coveted senior-year part-time job. They both want the job, but they also both want each other. It’s summer, it’s LA, Abby doesn’t know how to drive, Jordi has a passion for photography and wears too much black, Abby is a plus-size fashion blogger and Jordi is Mexican-American. And everything unfolds just as you hope it would.
Abby’s identity as a plus-size young woman and her relationship with her mother (a health food guru) is depicted well, but for me the novel had two strengths. One was that it is the f/f summer romance of my dreams, and the other is that it handles the nature of change really well. Abby’s sister has left for college and hasn’t returned for the summer (she’s also interning), her best friend is in her first serious relationship and disapproves of Jordi, and she knows that the sea-change of graduation is only a year away.
If some of this brings to mind Leah on the Offbeat, it’s different enough to feel fresh – in spite of a few similarities, Abby and Leah are very different girls – but I suspect fans of one will enjoy the other. A few elements of the ending felt a little anti-climactic to me, but not enough to dent my enjoyment of this. Looking forward to more from Amy Spalding.
PS the burgers were a nice touch.