Cover Image: Pizza Girl

Pizza Girl

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Member Reviews

I am obsessed!

Pizza Girl was endearing and surprisingly, a very good read that caught me by surprise. This was a flawless debut novel about an unforgettably flawed Korean- American protagonist I adored completely. Such a unique read.

Our Pizza Girl is eighteen years old, pregnant, lost, and grieving the death of her father. Living with her mom and boyfriend in the suburbs of Los Angeles, she connects with one of her customers, Jenny whom she delivers pizza to.

This book was so quirky I read and enjoyed this in one afternoon. It was funny and endearing, yet dark and original. I recommend this one for an unconventional coming-of-age story.
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Published by Doubleday on June 9, 2020

Jane’s father was an alcoholic. Here’s the view of life he shared with Jane: “I think some people are just born broken. I think about life as one big Laundromat and some people just have one little bag to do — it’ll only take them a quick cycle to get through — but others, they have bags and bags of it, and it’s just so much that it’s overwhelming to even think about starting. Is there even enough laundry detergent to get everything clean?” Before he died, he also told Jane that he thought people would be happier if they lived alone on an island. It might not be surprising that Jane has some issues.

Jane is eighteen and pregnant, working as a pizza delivery girl who has no skills or education and no ambition to acquire any. Most nights, she sits in the shed where her father used to drink and has a few beers, pregnancy notwithstanding. She lives with her Korean mother and her boyfriend but she no longer lets them into her life, much to their distress. Jane doesn’t understand why she’s pushing away the people who love her but she’s clearly on a bad path. The novel’s drama comes from the reader’s fear that her path, like her father’s, will take her to a destination she will never be able to leave.

Jane used to love her boyfriend. She used to leave work and feel that, “for at least half an hour after, everything, every last thing, was too beautiful to bear.” Something has caused that to change. The precipitating event might be her pregnancy, but the defining cause of her current misery, apart from unhappy memories of her father, is unclear to Jane and thus to the reader.

The story is dark but it has a number of light moments. It begins when a woman in her late thirties orders a pizza. Jenny wants a pizza with pickles because her family recently moved to LA and her autistic son will only eat pizza with pickles. He’s having a meltdown because she can’t find one (adding pickles after the pizza is baked doesn’t cut it for him). Jane takes the order and is persuaded to buy a jar of pickles. After the cook prepares the pizza, she delivers it to a grateful Jenny, with whom Jane instantly bonds. Jane later babysits for Jenny’s child and discovers that Jenny has issues of her own, making Jane feel an even stronger bond and an attraction that might be sexual. Whether Jenny feels the same way is, at least for a moment, ambiguous.

It isn’t quite clear why Jane needs to cling to Jenny. Jane says she likes Jenny because Jenny listens to Jane, makes her feel that her life and opinions matter, but so does Jane’s boyfriend. Why Jane becomes obsessed with Jenny is a question to which the novel offers no satisfactory answer. Again, that might be a product of Jane not really understanding herself — a common enough affliction at her age.

Jane’s obsession leads to a dramatic but strange moment at the end that might best be described as Jane hitting bottom. What follows might be regarded as a happy ending if only because, having hit bottom, there is nowhere for Jane to go but up.

I enjoyed Pizza Girl largely because Jane is curious and observant. Despite her woes, she isn’t entirely self-absorbed. She envies a husband and wife who seem joyously attached to each other until she learns that the husband is abusing the wife. A church support group is attended by people more interested in judgment or self-pity than support. Her new friend Jenny seems happy but she’s trapped inside a head that is filled with thoughts and memories she can’t ignore. Jane’s boyfriend is falling apart, largely because Jane has withdrawn her attention from him. Her mother seems to be distant but is actually quite caring. The collateral characters work so well that ambiguities in Jane’s characterization are easy to overlook.

Jean Kyoung Frazier writes sharp and honest dialog, She makes it easy to sympathize with Jane and to hope that she will make better choices. The upbeat ending suggests that she will. I sometimes feel that endings of that nature are manipulative or hokey, but Frazier sold me on this one, and on the story as a whole.

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I picked this up without knowing what to expect. It turned out to be an immersive read. The first person narrative was well done and I felt like I knew this girl struggling to figure out her pregnancy, her family, and life.
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The narrator of this book is the quirky 18-year-old Pizza Girl who doesn’t like her job.  She’s pregnant and not thrilled, but her boyfriend and her mother are so she’s hoping their happiness will soon soak in. She’s got a lot of friends who are there to help her including Jenny, who she met while delivering a pizza. The further she gets in the pregnancy, the more she drinks. The ending really doesn’t get any better. I guess happy endings are elusive if you struggle with addiction
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Beautiful and rough around the edges in the most perfect way. The writing emulates the main character, Pizza Girl (whose real name isn’t revealed until the very end) —you feel the confusion, disillusionment and oblivion of this young, pregnant girl who has no idea where she’s going. Feels dark and lost like the main character in Good Girl, yet dry and funny like April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation. Thank you to #netgalley for this read. I highly recommend.
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Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for providing this review copy.

Pizza Girl is 18 and pregnant, working at the local pizza joint when she gets a strange request for a delivery. Pepperoni and pickles. As a favor, Pizza Girl deliveries the pie and meets Jenny. Jenny instantly becomes Pizza Girl’s focus for the remainder of the story. She eats, breathes and soon can’t stop thinking about Jenny. 

A solid, heartfelt look at the life of a pregnant teen lost in the world of her newfound adulthood.
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I can't state in so many words how much I absolutely loved this short coming-of-age story.  The humor was unique and kept me laughing. The author's witty use of metaphors and similes are unmatched to other authors I have read. The representation is very well distributed and the story was a very odd and unique one. I didn't post this on debut day because we were having a social media moment of silence on that Tuesday but I want to make sure I tell you guys to pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. This is a very short novel that can be read in one or two sittings and it's just what you may need to get you out of your reading slump. Although full of humor, there are dark themes in this one such as addiction (alcohol consumption while pregnant), depression, abuse and inner self struggle. It is all handled quite beautifully in this book that  I have no doubt will one day be a cult classic. I don't want to give much away because the less you know the better the experience. I give this one a hard 5 stars and will possibly re-read in the future!
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Wry, dark and unexpected, Pizza Girl is the story of Jenny, an eighteen year old pregnant pizza shop employee.

It seemed to me that Jenny had sort of lost her sense of purpose before the pregnancy, and that being pregnant has unmoored her even more. She lives with her boyfriend (the father of the baby) and her mom, the two of whom are oddly close. One day a woman calls with a pizza emergency. Jenny delivers a pizza to her and becomes fixated on her and her life. It's this woman who starts calling her "Pizza Girl."

This book won't be for everyone - I'm still trying to impose some kind of thematic structure on it. But the narrative voice is great and I can totally see it made into an indie film.
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This book was so weird and unexpected, but I liked it. Character driven storyline which explore deepest emotions and vulnerabilities are my jam, so this book fit the bill perfectly. A coming of age story with complex characters and emotion. Read it if you like character driven novels.
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The intense and insistent use of vernacular diction was not for me. I strongly prefer novels that don't imitate life to the degree that this novel's voice does. Many a reader will find this a young fresh voice, though, and the story zips along, and will probably make a pretty good movie one day, too.
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This coming of age novel is written so honestly that it will make your heart hurt as Jane tries to figure out who she is, who she loves and whether this is all her life will ever be.
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Pizza Girl by Frazier was quick witted comedy with a thriller twist I did not see coming. I thought her writing style was well executed, the beginning of the book captivated me from the start, BUT the middle to end was lack luster and the end was disappointing. I am glad I read it, and for her debut book it wasn't bad. I wouldn't re-read this one but I'd love to read more of Fraziers work to come.
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Jean Kyoung Frazier’s debut novel Pizza Girl follows an unnamed narrator who is eighteen, pregnant, and most notably a pizza delivery driver in Los Angeles.  Coping with the loss of her father, Pizza Girl spirals inward closing herself off from her overwhelmingly supportive mother and devoted boyfriend.  She is terrified of becoming like her father, who battled alcoholism his entire life, while simultaneously trying to find direction in life.  One day in June an odd order comes in for a pepperoni pizza covered with pickles and this is how Pizza Girl meets stay-at-home mom Jenny.  Pizza Girl fervently awaits Jenny’s weekly pizza order and she becomes infatuated with Jenny.  Her obsession leads to an unexpected series of events abruptly ending her relationship with Jenny and further straining already fragile relationships with her boyfriend and mother.  Pizza girl’s lack of direction and impulsivity may be frustrating, but really this novel perfectly portrays what it is like to feel lost as a young adult.  Pizza Girl is tantalizing and relatable, yet melancholic. Fans of slice-of-life novels will likely enjoy this read.
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This debut novel has gotten a lot of pre-publication buzz - and it's certainly an engaging read. The titular pizza girl is only eighteen, living at home with her recently widowed mother and her boyfriend. She's quite adrift and finds solace with an unexpected connection with Jenny, a mother also struggling with a recent move. It's a times a bit funny, but also really sad. The narrator seems so cut off from everyone and so in her own head as she deals with her own grief and complicated feeling for the life she carries...

She makes some very bad decisions that definitely pulled all of my attention really made me like her a lot less. The book, though, is certainly well-written and while the characters do come to life, I just had a hard time connecting with this oh-so-lost girl. She has so many people reaching out to her, and she is so selfish and self-absorbed... But, it would be a boring world if we only had stories about likable people! While I didn't like or identify many of these characters, I still found myself eagerly turning pages to see where it was all going. And I didn't want it to end in some ways, because some of my most important questions went unanswered...  although it did give me a few food combos that I am interested to try - like Hot Cheetos dipped in cream cheese and a pickle and pepperoni pizza! One thing to note, Illini alums may not like to see their school abbreviated to UI... rather than U of I.
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Pizza Girl is a heartwrenching coming of age story that goes places I haven't seen similar narratives go. Our titular pizza girl is a pregnant teen whose alcoholic father recently passed away, leaving her without closure. She's terrified that she is like him, and many signs (both good and bad) point to yes. Without a plan or any life goals, she gets a job delivering pizzas. One day a woman calls requesting a specially made pickle pizza, and everything changes for our pizza girl. She becomes fixated with this woman, driving past her house, attending the same support meetings, fantasizing about her in the shower...all while pushing her amazing boyfriend and mother away. Things do get bad for her. They started bad for her, tbh. But by the end of this short novel you do begin to feel the seeds of hope. Frazier is incredibly talented. She creates feelings of claustrophobia, frustration, and even hopelessness in the reader, allowing us to feel empathy for her excellently crafted characters. I also appreciate her depiction of LA. It's not a major feature of the book, but Frazier shows a side of the city many people don't see. It was hard to read this books right now, as we're all dealing with a lot of emotional strain, but Pizza Girl was an excellent entry in the lost young woman category. If you liked Eileen or The New Me, you'll like Pizza Girl.
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- I love dark books with flawed characters and this didn’t disappoint.  Pizza Girl is heavy on the dysfunction, it isn’t filled with an abundance of lovable characters but it’s a well crafted story that was weird in a good way.  I don’t know that it’ll be one that is going to work for everyone but if you like complex character driven books give it a go.  I tend to find a lot of books forgettable but I don’t see myself forgetting this book anytime soon.  It is definitely not your run of the mill coming of age story!
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I was really taken by PIZZA GIRL, the fantastic debut novel from Jean Kyoung Frazier. Her main character, the nameless "pizza girl" is a complex and often frustrating 18 year old girl, coming to age in LA in 2011. She is pregnant, working at a pizza joint instead of going to college, and slowly following in her recently dead Father's footsteps as an alcoholic. She lives with her Mom and her boyfriend Billy, and become enamored with a stay-at-home Mom who she delivers pizza (with pickles) to. The story is sad, and layered, but moves swiftly and is hard to put down. Frazier's writing style is delightful and this books cements her as a solid, new voice. 

This book was so easy to digest (no pun intended), and unlike anything I've read before. It's a different sort of coming-of-age, and our pizza girl is unlike any main character you will have likely come across. She can be infuriating, wanting to reach into the page to shake some sense into her, but that is what makes this book so compulsively readable. It's taut, weird, and packs a punch. I loved it.
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In Jean Kyoung Frazier's book PIZZA GIRL, she tells the story of a young woman going through some major upheavals in her life. At eighteen, she finds herself pregnant, working at a pizza store, while grieving the recent death of her father. By happenstance, one night she finds herself manning the phones at the store, and a woman calls desperate for a particular pizza for her son. She brings the pizza to the woman, named Jenny, who she ends up striking up a complicated relationship with. Jenny is middle-aged, recently moved to Los Angeles, who comes to rely on the weekly pizza as a way to placate her son who is not adjusting well after the move. The narrator, whom Jenny called "Pizza Girl" throughout the book, continues to struggle with coming to terms with her pregnancy, her evolving relationship with the father of the child, and her mother. She is a complicated character: a mix of being highly observant with some people and completely unaware of the struggles others are going through. Jenny and her develop a weird relationship that the reader cannot quite see what is going on or what will happen as the book progresses. Another interesting plot thread is the narrator's relationship with her recently deceased father. She struggles with the strained relationship she had with him prior to his death, as well as still grieving for the person, and she sees himself in her more and more as she makes some poor decisions. This fast read is a fascinating take on a young woman, and Frazier fits a lot in a short amount of words.

Thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for the advanced e-book for review.
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Let me start off by saying I don’t think I was in the right headspace for this one. I had trouble connecting with the characters & felt the story was a little strange. But not a bad strange. I found myself highlighting several portions of this one and really felt like this one covered some pretty heavy topics. I read the book in a day, so it was easily bingeable but I was just left feeling indifferent about the book and the characters. If you like a coming of age story that’s definitely different from the norm then give this one a try!
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I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
This book was short, but definitely not sweet.  It didn't take long to read, but I just couldn't get into the story.  I'll admit, a family history of alcoholism causes issues with any book I read that involves drinking.  But this book-with the teenage pregnancy and the drinking-it was too much.  I know many people are reading this book and loving it, but I didn't.
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