Cover Image: Pizza Girl

Pizza Girl

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this book but it ultimately is not for me. Literary fiction is just not something I typically read and although I’ve enjoyed ‘quirky’ literary fiction in the past (see Sourdough), this wasn’t the right type of quirk to give me utter enjoyment of the book. I think this book would be good if you’re interested in stories very focused on inner workings of the characters, especially self-destructive ones. Something I enjoyed about this book was its unsanitized portrayal of mental health. It really showed how detrimental poor mental health can be. I also thought the ending was hopeful. I’m giving this book 3 stars because the writing style kept drawing me in to keep reading even though it wasn’t a style of book I typically enjoy.
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This book.  First of all that cover.  It looks like something you'd get airbrushed on a tee with a fringed hem at Hampton Beach one summer in the 80's.  Totally retro-chic.   

Pizza Girl is a short darkly comic novel about an 18 year old woman who lives in the 'burbs of L.A. with her boyfriend Billy and her mom.  Her mom migrated to the States from Korea with the hopes of American Dream and ended up in California by way of Chicago.   Our protagonist, who remains unnamed until the end of the book, finds herself in a bit of a rut.  She is pregnant and working as a pizza delivery person at a local pizza joint.   She reminisces about her dead dad who was drunk most of the time.  She reminisces about her recently deceased dad.  She is completely dysfunctional.  

One day a woman, Jenny, calls into the pizza place and requests a pepperoni and pickle pizza, which isn't on the menu.  Our protagonist runs out to a grocer and buys pickles which she chops up herself to put on a pizza.  She delivers the pizza and develops a bit of an obsession with Jenny. 

I really enjoyed this one and it was a pretty quick read since it clocked in at right around 200 pages.   It also just flew by for me because it was quirky, clever, and darkly weird.  Sardonic!   We have a flawed heroine that we can't help but root for and hope she gets her stuff together.
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This is perfection. This is that type of book that I could read in a few hours, but instead, I let myself slow down and read it over a few days.

It's a coming of age story, a story of impending motherhood, a story about parents and relationships. It's about change, growing up, living a life that isn't what you thought.

This is a bold book that should be held to the highest esteem.
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I truly enjoyed myself reading this book.  For such a quick read, the author really makes you become super invested in the pizza girl and what she’s struggling with, within herself.  This book was super raw and honest, I just could not get enough of it.  If you’re looking for a fantastic coming of age book, that has beautiful descriptions of pizza, this book is for you!
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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.
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In suburban Los Angeles, a pregnant 18 year old teenager works as a pizze delivery driver. While in the midst of grieving the sudden death of her alcoholic father, she finds herself fixated on Jenny, a new customer who orders a pepperoni and pickles pizza for her son every Wednesday. 
PIZZA GIRL is a deeply engrossing, wildly unique coming of age novel. Our protagonist, pregnant but still living at her mother's home, floats somewhere between childhood and adulthood. While her boyfriend gives up college to take care of her, she can't help but peek into all the lives of her delivery customers and wonder what else is out there. 
It's been awhile since I read a novel where a teenage character truly felt like a teenager. I could viscerally feel all those weird things I fixated on when I was that age, and found myself immediately invested in the protagonist as she sank deeper into depression and confusion. Then, when the story takes a turn...I was gripping the edges of my ereader and leaning forward in my seat. Do not miss out on this singular novel.
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My take away from this book is that it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, old or young, everyone is struggling with life. Depressing to read due to the depressive thoughts of so many characters, yet strangely uplifting too with hope for a better future shining over all the characters. 

Pizza girl is 18, pregnant and her supportive mom and boyfriend are happy but she isn't. She has no direction, very little external personality but hugely rich inner thoughts and is questioning her existence, her sexuality and how much she is becoming her dad who isn't someone to want to become. She has opinions on everything and everyone but rarely talks  and is drifting through the pregnancy with an alarming sense of displacement that is hard to read.

Yet even with the darkness and the despair, as a reader you have to admire the beautiful writing and wry humor. Frazier builds the tension, drawing you to the conclusion that seems inevitable. I can't wait to read her next one!

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC, this is my honest review.
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Pizza Girl was not an easy book to read (but it is quite good).

I was pretty quickly *into* this story - in just the first 3 percent of the book, there are multiple lines that had me going, "Oooh, yes." But once I started to care about the narrator? This short debut novel took me a couple weeks to get through. The narrator (pizza girl) is just...not OK. And that was hard to read about, because Jean Kyoung Frazier adeptly made me care about pizza girl. She's 18, pregnant, and struggling, and I wanted to climb into these pages to give her a life preserver.

I think the less one knows about the plot going in, the better, so I won't detail it here (and I'd also disccourage you from reading some of the trade publication reviews as I saw one that describes much of the book!). Just know this is not a happy book. To be sure, it's a well-written one, and I think there's cause for optimism. But it's not an easy read if you've got a bleeding heart. Still, I'd recommend it for those who like quiet coming-of-age stories, complicated feelings, and struggles so well-described you can feel them in your bones. 

Content warnings: drinking while pregnant, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, parental death and grief, fatal car accident, recollection of bulimia/body image issues, possession of a gun (imagining how one might use it), and serious anxiety and minor panic attacks. Passing references to stabbings, shootings, physical assault, damage of property, burglary. Use of the words faggot and retards.
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Pizza Girl is quirky, humorous, a perfect coming of age story.  

Pizza Girl is the narrator. Her inner monologues were hilarious and other times my heart ached for her. She is struggling with grief and unhappiness and on top of that she is pregnant and has a drinking problem. WOW. So much to handle. She becomes obsessed with a women who orders a weekly pizza. 

This book is weird but I just kept reading. Its dark, funny, heartbreaking and just the right type of everything in a book. 

Thanks to Netgalley for my advanced copy.
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Jane is 18, pregnant, and working delivering pizzas. Her mother and boyfriend are smothering her, and she's struggling along in misery. Until she meets Jenny Hauser. Jane develops an obsession with stay at home mother Jenny as they develop an unlikely friendship.

This book was bleak to say the least. Jane is a pregnant teenager with a drinking problem and a delusional attachment to a stranger. As I made my way through this title, I felt my mood dropping radically. It is extremely well-written and masterfully plotted, but I'm not sure that I could recommend it to most people. It most strongly reminded me of Otessa Moshfegh's "Eileen," and I would probably recommend it to anyone who enjoyed that equally bleak title.
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This debut novel is an honest, unapologetic and weird(in the best way) coming of age novel. 

I don’t know what I was expecting but it definitely was not this. This novel gave me lots of Juno vibes.

The Pizza Girl, (we actually don’t know her name for most of the book) is unhappy with her life. We read about her most private thoughts that were sad yet somehow beautiful. 

I highly recommend this novel! I’m so thankful to booksparks for putting this on their #campbooksparks lineup. 

Thank you netgalley and doubledaybooks for the early copy of this book.

Check this one out on June 9th.
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A sardonic story of a woman who is struggling with the direction of her life.

The Pizza Girl, as we come to know her (her name isn't revealed until near the end of the book) is miserable.
She hates her job.
She's still dealing with the grief of losing her dad, an alcoholic.
And she doesn't want to be pregnant.
Does she do anything to fix or improve any of the above issues?  No.  And I struggled with that part of the story the most.  You see, I have a pet peeve when reading.  I do not care for heroines that lack ambition.  And that is Pizza Girl to a T.  Am I meant to not like her?  I guess that could be the ultimate question.  But despite my thoughts on the heroine, her voice was a unique one that made this a quick read. 

As her days mindlessly pass by, she finds comfort in a woman who she delivers pizza to one day.  Their first meeting is a bit absurd - Pizza Girl throws up in one of this woman's shoes, when morning sickness strikes.  Rather than throw her out of the house, this woman, Jenny Hauser extends an olive branch, recognizing the signs of an unhappy woman.  And it doesn't take much for Pizza Girl to form a bit of an obsession with this woman.

I wasn't sure of the overall direction or purpose of this story.  And I loved that another reader compared this to The Catcher in the Rye, which I actually just read a couple weeks ago.  Like that story, this one offers a window into someone's world.  A world the main character is lost within. 
And Jenny, with her personal struggles, provides a type of kinship that Pizza Girl is desperate for.

"Because the reality is, I've been to so many places and not a single one has saved me.  And I need Los Angeles to save me.  I need this place to work this time."

This book offers no perfect answers for Pizza Girl.  Things don't magically get better.  Remember, she has no ambition.  But maybe, just maybe, Pizza Girl will find a way to accept that that being growing within her, realize that it's not the curse she's deemed it to be.
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"𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞⸴ 𝐏𝐢𝐳𝐳𝐚 𝐆𝐢𝐫𝐥‧"

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐡𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭⸴ 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐮𝐩 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤.

Jane grew up with a hardworking Korean mother and American father whose love of the bottle seems to have left a yearning for the numbness of alcohol in her own body. It wouldn’t be so terrible if she wasn’t pregnant and overwhelmed by the stagnancy of her life. Suffocating under the vigilant eyes of her boyfriend Billy and her mother, she finds her thoughts souring, turning to poison. The only escape she has is when she goes to work at a local pizzeria. Driving around delivering pizzas under the Los Angeles sun in her inheritance from her father, a beat up Ford Festiva, she goes through the motions until a woman named Jenny calls in with a unique request for her pizza order.

As soon as Jane arrives at Jenny’s doorstep, she is entranced, even by the middle aged woman’s long ponytail. In one day by fulfilling a special order, she is this stay at home mom’s savior and the pleasure of it soaks into Jane’s very bones. As the two women form an intimacy, Jenny is free to let down her hair and confess to the exhausting expectations of adulthood, motherhood in particular. Jane is able to relax her ‘brave face’ and admit to how she really feels about her pregnancy. Jane is tired of thinking about how she should feel and to have this stranger, whom she feels an instant connection with, handle her with a directness others never have changes everything. She longs for nothing more than to be out of the house and with Jenny, even if it includes her little boy Adam.

Jane has already been losing pieces of herself, not facing the mind-numbing grief of her father’s death nor allowing the pity over how he lived it to enter her guarded heart. The pregnancy is just another unwanted thought she wishes to ignore, forcing itself front and center anytime Billy and her mother ponder the future child. She is disconnected from reality, and the pending arrival of motherhood she isn’t even sold on. Feeling both resentment and guilt towards Billy for all he has given up and the joyful way he is embracing their love and the child inside of her is carrying her further adrift. Her enthrallment with Jenny may seem like a self-prescribed therapy but Jenny may be lost herself, and simply another distraction. Jane doesn’t know as much as she thinks about her parents relationship, but like all of us fills in the missing gaps with her childhood memories, focusing solely on her father’s failings and her mother’s defeats. How can she possibly make anything work with Billy, with so much of her father in her? How does she come to terms with the mixed emotions about their future together, particularly when she has zero passion about it? How can she make things better when she can’t see herself doing anything else, being anyone else, stuck forever in the same life? She is a frustrating character, self-centered in the way only youth can be and yet it’s hard to not to have compassion for her mental state. Some people get dragged in life and learn everything the hard way. Some of us give our childhood too much rule over our future. You have to confront your demons, you will never bury them in a bottle.

Her hunger for Jenny spirals as Jane self-destructs and both must learn to face their lives and the emotional tangle of their separate realities. The two are in different places in their lives yet both are coping with identity shifts, one of age and the other of youth. There are always expectations that we can’t always live up to and emotions we can’t feign. We can escape now and again, but the hard facts of our current situation is always ready to swallow us whole. There are no easy fixes, that’s the real lesson of adulthood. Perfect for readers who are on the cusp of the future-young and overwhelmed by the endless possibilities or lack thereof.

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Doubleday Books
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Immediately upon starting this book, I knew I was going to like it. The writing was sharp, wry, and had me convinced of Frazier's talent. Pizza Girl (you learn her name at the end) is 18, pregnant, and has no idea what she wants in life. She lives at home with mom and adoring boyfriend, who is giving up his future at USC to help raise their baby. Pizza Girl works part-time delivering pizza, where we learn the truth about how hard the job is. It seems the whole world looks down on her -- giving shitty tips, tsking her for untied shoes, not looking her in the eyes, not recognizing her as a classmate, or worse, recognizing her but are condescending. She's not very happy with her job or her future and is in fact, pretty depressed. She is still grieving over her father's death and is coming to realize that she may be more like the drunken, often scary person that so recently left her life. Pizza Girl's life gets an exciting burst of energy when she fulfills a strange pizza order for a frazzled mom. She immediately falls in love with Jenny, whom she feels a kinship to. The obsession starts to take over her life and the only thing she looks forward to is the call from Jenny to deliver the unique pepperoni and pickle pizza for her son.

Though numerous times, I felt myself feeling frustrated with Pizza Girl, I was also cheering her on. Though her obsession with Jenny ended very bizarrely, it was a beacon that helped her start to connect with baby and family again. Frazier's humor is dark and bitter but so relatable. It encapsulate those feelings of despair and darkness when you are a teenager and just NOTHING will make you happy - not even your loving and supportive mother and boyfriend - and can barely see a few seconds into your future. It is also impressive that Frazier is able to bring all of her characters to full color in a mere 200 pages. Overall, I was impressed and riveted and recommend to those who want whip smart, darkly truthful, and humorous writing.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The entire time I was reading this book, I kept asking myself, “Why am I reading this book?” It reminded me of the way I felt when I read Rabbit, Run. 

The narrator is highly unreliable and incredibly broken, but I think a lot of readers while find it easy to relate to her. When life seems out of control, we tend to hyper focus on one thing we think is in our control - even when it’s not. 

I could easily see this book becoming a modern classic that is studied in literature classes over the next few years. The main character is definitely one who could be analyzed for weeks.
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Jane is eighteen, pregnant, unsure of what she wants in life, and vaguely unhappy in her pizza delivery job. But then, she gets a frenzied call from a woman whose son refuses to eat unless it's a pepperoni and pickle pizza. What follows is an effort to help that turns into a dark, messy, dangerous obsession.

I was absolutely enthralled by this book from the first chapter. It has such a strong narrative voice, and a protagonist who makes all the wrong decisions. Jane is very unlikable, and it's often hard to watch her refuse help from people who love her. This will probably turn off some readers. But somehow, for me at least, it worked. It's bizarre and dark and wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
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Pizza girl is 18 years old, pregnant, just lost her alcoholic father, and probably the most dysfunctional person you could ever meet. When she gets a call at the pizzeria with a weird request, she makes it happen and it introduces her to Jenny. Jenny, who seems incredibly unhappy with her life, and who pizza girl soon becomes weirdly obsessed with. With hormones and weird feelings raging through her, Pizza Girl tries to find where she belongs in this world.

This is one of those books that I finished and asked, “what did I just read?” But like, not in a bad way, if that makes sense? Pizza girl is one messed up young lady if you ask me. Drinking while pregnant, stalking some lady she barely knows, pushing away her mom and boyfriend while they try to be there for her through her pregnancy, and of course grieving the loss of the father she kind of felt she would be better off without anyway. This was definitely the weirdest coming of age story I have ever read, but I kind of really enjoyed it. While odd at times, this was a truly heartbreaking read. I’m very interested to see where Jean takes her next novel!
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Oh my gosh you guys, I devoured this delicious debut novel in a day. Actually, I made the mistake of starting it at midnight and staying up until 3:00 AM for the first sitting. Woke up the next morning and finished the rest.

Pizza Girl is quirky, humorous, and a perfectly flawed coming-of-age novel and I cannot wait to read more books by this debut author.

The narrator, who is referred to as simply “pizza girl” throughout the book, reminds me of a modern day Holden Caulfield. Her inner monologues and descriptions of those around her whom she observes had me literally laughing out loud at times. At other times, though, I was very concerned for pizza girl due to some extremely poor choices made by her while pregnant. She also seemed absolutely unhinged. Pizza girl is truly struggling with handling her grief over her alcoholic father’s recent death and becoming a teen mother. She feels unhappy in her life and smothered by her boyfriend and mother and that leads her to stay far away from home — and leaves her time to become completely obsessed with a woman, Jenny, who ordered weekly pizzas from our narrator’s place of employment.

I’ve got to be honest — this book is definitely a little weird. But it’s such a heartfelt and tender read with a great message. Pizza Girl was unexpectedly exactly what I needed. Beautifully written, darkly funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting, I would recommend this book a million times over.

I would like to thank Doubleday and NetGalley for gifting me an advanced electronic copy of Pizza Girl to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This book was incredibly unique. I think the blurb’s mention of CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN is an accurate one because I’m not sure I’ve read a book that gave as similar a feeling as that one. This book follows an 18 year old pregnant pizza delivery girl who becomes infatuated with a mom she makes a peculiar pizza for. That’s the pitch of the book and that’s what happens, but there are so many more layers and feelings happening.

I’d classify it as literary fiction - it definitely gave me flashbacks to my college American Lit classes.
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I really liked a comp title for this, Convenience Store Woman, and was hoping to like this book too. Unfortunately I didn't find it as humorous or as intriguing as the comp title. The emotional and mental issues this girl has isn't mentioned at all and it's clear is is a huge problem in her life. It just made me sad to see her spiraling down so low. I'd have enjoyed this more if this ending was a little happier.
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