REVIEW: Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

In brief: A young, pregnant girl tries to make sense of the world and where she fits in it.

The good: Quirky, with a hefty amount of emotion.

The not-so-good: A bit unresolved at the end.

Why I chose it: Sounded a bit different.

Year: 2020          

Pages: 198

Publisher: HQ (Harper Collins)

Setting: Los Angeles

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Pizza Girl is a quirky and at times funny novel that hits the reader hard at the end with emotion. It’s a short novel under 200 pages, but it packs a lot of feelings under the simple premise of the life of a young pregnant woman who delivers pizza.

The protagonist is unnamed for the majority of the novel and the story is told from her perspective. Her life lacks direction after school finishes. She’s pregnant, living with her boyfriend and mother and delivers pizzas. When she receives a request for a pepperoni and pickles pizza, it sparks her interest. Jenny is new to town with a son who won’t settle into his new life. She’s desperate and the protagonist hears this, so complies with the request. It starts a strange friendship between her and Jenny, with Jenny filling some sort of hole in her life. But does Jenny reciprocate? Will the protagonist face up to her fears that she will turn out to be like her alcoholic father? Will she let her boyfriend and mother help her?

The story is alternately light (pizza delivery has its quirks) combined with the protagonist musing on her lack of direction and lack of interest in the future. It’s not until nearly the end of the book that things get darker with the protagonist going off the rails completely. As she’s not really a likeable character, it was hard to emphasise with her at this point. It’s more weird and creepy as she’s been directionless to this point. The epilogue does offer some closure although it’s not complete. I would have preferred some more direction as it was hard to predict the character’s actions as she’s alternately lazy and unpredictable. All the characters are flawed, which makes them interesting, but there was a lack of progression/development at times for some of them that made me wonder how they got from A to B.

If you like your characters messy doing messy things, Pizza Girl is worth the read for its blunt honesty. The protagonist simply doesn’t care, even as though around her do. It makes for both a refreshing and occasionally awkward read.

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