The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding is a much needed, one of a kind young adult novel that addresses weight stigma and LGBTQA+ issues in a beautiful way. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager!
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I am a big fan of young adult fiction, and I was overjoyed to pick up Amy Spalding’s book The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) after attending a talk that she held close to where I live. While the young adult genre is becoming more diverse, I was never able to find books that featured LGBTQA+ characters when I was a teenager. Nor was I able to find books that addressed weight stigma, which is something that I dealt with quite a lot. Spalding’s book features both issues by portraying the main character as a Lesbian teenager who struggles with weight stigma and poor self-confidence as a byproduct. Spalding’s writing was spunky and endearing, and I ate up this book in about two days.
Abby Ives is a Lesbian fashion blogger who features fashion for women of size but struggles with her own insecurities surrounding her weight. She often refers to feeling like the best friend to the main character in a rom-com, but the novel features her story without glamorizing her straight best friend’s love story that is occurring simultaneously. After being granted an internship with a local fashion designer, Abby finds herself sharing the internship with a photographer named Jordi who quickly becomes her first love. Abby has never been in a relationship before and was convinced that no one would ever want to be with her, which brings up her own insecurities throughout her relationship with Jordi. Spalding presents Abby’s concerns with her weight in a realistic and heartbreaking way as they become an issue with her self-confidence and ability to be intimate.
In other Lesbian/Gay romance novels I have read I found that they are often either too explicit or not explicit enough which separates the stories too far from straight romance novels. However, The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) was not this way. Spalding’s writing normalized the romance between Abby and Jordi without oversexualizing or undersexualizing their story, which made it a great first book to read in the Lesbian romance genre if you are wanting to explore this area.
The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) is a beautiful look at first love, LGBTQA+ issues, and weight stigma as it affects self-confidence and intimacy. I am so enlightened to see the young adult genre becoming more and more diverse. Amy Spalding is a gift to the young adult community, and I highly suggest this book for anyone looking to explore more diverse reads that are entirely relatable.