Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
“Her name was Jenny Hauser and every Wednesday I put pickles on her pizza.” This might be the best first line of a book I’ve read all year. I don’t remember what called my attention to Pizza Girl. It might have been the absolutely AH-mazing cover. However it ended up in my hands, I am glad it did. This story feels wholly original and the character of Pizza Girl (she isn’t given a name until the end) is complex and so, so flawed.
PG is an eighteen-year-old pregnant high school graduate who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She delivers pizza. She lives with her first-generation immigrant, retail-working mother, and her devoted, loving, annoying boyfriend - both of whom are thrilled beyond words that a baby is coming. PG is not excited. She spends her nights not sleeping but hanging out in her dead father’s shed, watching infomercials, and drinking his old beer. Dad was clearly an alcoholic with anger issues and PG is in denial of the fact that he passed those traits down to her. When Jenny, a thirty-nine-year-old stay-at-home-mom, first calls the pizza place with a request for a pepperoni and pickle pizza for her picky-eating son, PG has no idea the delivery will ignite an obsession and forever change the trajectory of her life.
I typically do not end up liking books where the protagonist is unlikeable. Pizza Girl is a definite exception. She is an absolute mess and makes horrible decisions but she is so real. I have known many students like her over my twenty-eight years of teaching. Some of them figure out their way and I have a feeling PG will be one of them. Readers will root for her. Although the target audience is adult, Pizza Girl absolutely has YA appeal* and it’s bound to become a cult classic. Impressive debut for author, Jean Kyoung Frazier.
Jaguar readers, FZW Library doesn't own this one but both the hard copy and eBook are available from the public library. Ask your lit librarians if you need help accessing!
* heads up for a few graphic sex scenes