Friday, 6 April 2018

Blog Tour: The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding | Review, Burger Talk, and Giveaway! (CA Only)

Book: The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)

Author: Amy Spalding

Publisher: Sky Pony Press (Available in Canada through Thomas, Allen & Son

Pages: 284 Pages

Format: eArc

Source: Sent to me by Thomas, Allen, & Son

Thanks to Thomas, Allen, & Son for providing me with an eArc in exchange for an honest review! 

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 lacrosse playing 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?

Oh where to begin with this one. I started reading this during one of the most stressful times of year for me, and I have to say, it was exactly what I needed. When the snow kept coming, it was really lovely to escape into this sunny, brightly coloured world that Amy Spalding has created. Because that's what it is: a welcome, light hearted escape.

I love Abby, can I start with that? She brought me so much joy, and I could have read another hundred or so pages of her just hanging out with her friends. The way the dialogue was written was relatable to my Millenial Youth Senses™ without seeming cringeworthy, or like it was pandering to a younger audience. In all of the dialogue, it felt like these characters were people I knew in high school, or people I stood behind in line for a coffee between classes. They felt so real.

The relationships in the book were what caught me, if I'm being honest. The sweet friendship between Jax and Abby, and their burger quest was so nice to read about, even if there weren't enough burgers and gossip for me. I felt like that was an easy way that the characters were able to get stuff off their chests, but it wasn't the most original thing. I wish there had been more about Abby and her sister, Rachel, as that is something I would have loved to get to read about. Yes, Mahlia has known Abby almost her whole life, but the relationship between sisters is something so intense that I would have loved to read more about them.

Also, I cannot write a review without talking about the relationship between Jordi and Abby. It was so adorably sweet, and so heartwarming. There's a line towards the end (don't worry, no spoilers), about seeing yourself through the eyes of someone else, and I'm smiling just thinking about it. Their relationship was so pure and precious, and I found myself rooting for these two girls from page one. I also found myself getting oddly defensive over Jordi. Had I not been sucked in early on, and had given into the suspension of disbelief, I can see how the big plot moment would feel like it was coming a little out of left field, but I still really enjoyed the conflict, and I really loved how Amy Spalding was able to piece things back together into a beautiful ending. 

Another thing that was super real, and something I so appreciated, was the way Abby sexuality is never something questioned. Seeing a queer voice that is as solid as the voices that are straight is not something I read that often, and often something that doesn't get enough attention, and I'm so glad that all the representation in this book was there and was treated so well.

I did have some issues with the book, but in all honesty, they never impacted my reading experience. I felt like the book was almost a little too focused at times, almost forgetting characters when they weren't directly involved with someone or something. Also I felt like chapters seemed to 'fade-to-black' instead of actually conclude. Small things I know, but they did irk me a bit while reading.

The main thing I loved about the book was that it knew exactly what it was. The book's identity was never at odds, and Amy Spalding was able to do really wonderful things with these fascinating characters and these summery, almost rom-com like plots. The book reminds me of sunshine: it warms me up and makes me smile. It was such a lovely summery read, and I can imagine people reading this on the beach, or by the pool during the hot hot summer.

4/5 Stars. I can see myself recommending this to people who want something light, warm-hearted, and super sweet. 

And now onto...

Burger Talk

My family is made up of burger lovers. We're not always looking for the fanciest one, but we love a good homemade burger, and a good fast food burger. Our summers essentially revolve around backyard BBQs, and trips to Five Guys (which hands down has the best burgers).
But four years ago, when I moved to Halifax for my undergrad, I was introduced to the glory that is #HalifaxBurgerWeek. Since then, Burger Week has been a staple in my friend group. But I will never forget the burger I had last year, from local restaurant called The Auction House. I still dream of this burger. One of the downsides of Burger Week, is that the burger is only here for one week, so I will never get to experience it again.
The burger was called the 'Oats Mcgoats Brisket Burger', and it was described as: brushed with an oatmeal stout glaze, topped with pistachio feta cheese, spinach, candied tomato chips and smoked bacon. 
I mean come on!!!

Tourwide Giveaway

The winner will receive:

1. 1 hardcover copy of The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
2. 1 pack of FujiFilm Instax Mini Film
3. 1 $5 gift card for Five Guys (Canada)


- Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
- Giveaway ends Wed. Apr. 11th @ 12AM EST
- Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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