Book Review: Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book written by an author in their 20s Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisf...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book written by an author in their 20s

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book you picked because the title caught your attention, A book published the month of your birthday, A book by a WOC, A book with at least a four-str rating on Goodreads,

TW: Domestic abuse, suicidal ideations, death and loss, homophobic slur, heavy sexual content, stalking, drinking while pregnant, alcoholism

If you've seen the cover of Pizza Girl, and didn't feel the need to read it immediately, you're a liar. I know they say not to, but I judge books by their covers. First impressions are important, and chances of me picking up a book with an ugly cover and wanting to read it are very low. Anyways, Jean Kyong Frazier's editor and art department tracked down the designer of a t-shirt for an actual pizza place, and I am in awe. The cover is so wonderful, and the book itself is pretty damn amazing.

When a woman calls into the local pizza joint with a strange request, a pregnant 18 year-old delivery driver becomes infatuated with the caller, a middle-aged woman named Jenny who's a shitty artist and an exasperated mother. The pizza girl grows obsessed with Jenny while simultaneously pushing away her support system. 

Realistically, this book is not at all what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting rom-com coming-of-age, but this book is more literary. It's contemporary fiction, but it's dark and deep and honestly made me feel so many ways that I still can't quite put into words.

Pizza Girl is reminiscent of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, because I found myself rooting for protagonist, while simultaneously rejecting her actions and being utterly repulsed by her bad choices. I was also heavily reminded of Little Fires Everywhere because this wasn't a book that I was sure of the storyline. I didn't know what the book was about basically the entire time I was reading it. It was a slow burn that provided a climactic scene, but on a level that didn't feel obscenely in-your-face. It felt so raw and real, and again, hard to explain because the emotions I felt when I finished it were so vast.

The major thing that I really didn't love about the book was that a homophobic slur was used and it made me feel so cringey that I couldn't overlook it.

"Like, yeah, pizza and sex is not all it is, but when you're with someone that you love - like, really love - you work through whatever shit that's managed to stick to you over the years, and when you want to punch walls, or rip out your hair, or if you feel like if you opened your mouth only screams would come out, you remember those pizza-and-sex days." - Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier

At 200 pages, this book can absolutely be devoured in one sitting, and though I highly enjoyed my one-sitting read, Pizza Girl could also be sipped slowly like a fine wine or nibbled upon like a charcuterie board worth of cheeses. As much as possible, go into this book with no expectations of the story. It will be wonderfully graceful ride. This is a knock-out debut from Kyoung Frazier, and I am impatient to see what she will deliver next.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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