Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill!
A delicious love story with all the toppings, Lauren Morrill’s It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story is a contemporary YA rom-com about love, friendship, and pizza, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han.
After her mother gave birth to her in the bathroom of a local pizzeria, Beck has been given the dubious privilege of having minor fame, free pizza for life, and a guaranteed job when she turns sixteen—a job she unfortunately can’t afford to turn down.
Now she’s stuck with her geeky co-workers instead of taking Instagram-ready shots with her best friends (and her epic crush).
But maybe the pizza people aren’t all bad. Maybe that pizza delivery guy is kind of cute. And maybe there’s a way to make this Bathroom Baby thing work for her. Because when disaster strikes the beloved pizza place that’s started to feel like home, she’s going to need a miracle—one that might even mean bringing her two worlds together.
LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and sons.
Although this novel is titled, It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story, and there is a romance story within the pages, it is more a novel centered on a character in her teens who is coming to terms with who she is. It is an excellent coming of age story where a teenager starts to figure out more pieces of herself and realize that there is still time for growth even if you are sure of who you are. It reminded me of when I was her age and I thought I had more figured out and how opening your mind can create endless possibilities. This light-hearted novel is classified as a young adult novel, but is perfect for any age. The novel was very captivating and I finished it before I even knew I was near the end as it kept my interest from start to finish and I enjoyed my time reading it.
The prologue opens with Rebecca (“Beck”) Brix’s birth in the bathroom of a Hot ‘N Crusty pizza place and how she became semi-famous as the Bathroom Baby. Immediately, her association with the pizzeria is cemented as she is given free pizza for life and is given a guaranteed job when she turns 16-years-old. The actual story opens when Beck turns 16 and is having yet another birthday party with a pizza topped with birthday candles as she celebrates once again at Hot ‘N Crusty. She is determined to reject the job at the pizza place, as she wants to distance herself from this “legacy” and create her own path where this story cannot follow. Unfortunately, the options for other positions never come to fruition and she must take the job. Now, she has to try to balance her time with her friends, how to not get to see her crush (a member of the friend group), and how to fit in with the staff at the pizza place.
When she starts working at Hot ‘N Crusty, she realizes that maybe this new group of people is not as bad as she thought. Aside from a few employees, the rest are all students at her school and she starts living a double life as her life at the pizza place and her life at school do not seem to cross. The only problem is that she cannot make time for both all the time. There are times that she has to choose one or the other, especially on Friday nights when her friend group wants her to hang out with them still like their tradition before Beck started working, and her new coworkers invite her to hang out with them. In addition to splitting her time between the two groups, Beck seems to show different sides of her personality with each as she is more her geeky self with the pizza group, but she hides this part when she hangs out with her other more rich group. Beck struggles as she does not feel as close to her friend group and fears they are drifting apart while also trying to find her place with the pizza group. It is a very relatable struggle as you can be in your own “bubble” where you think you have it all figured out and the friends you have are it, but then a new experience/event can open your eyes and the world may not appear as you thought. It does not mean that the original group and life in the bubble is bad, but it shows that maybe there is way to have it all while being your true self.
I related to this story of Beck balancing between different friend groups as I did that all the time when I was her age. I would consider myself a friend group “floater” as I would hang out with multiple groups, but the groups would not always interact with each other. The only part I did not relate to was hiding parts of who you are because you think that one of the groups might not accept your true self. For me, I am always myself and if one group/person did not like it, then I would just move on to find new people or groups that would accept me. Granted, this is not the case for every teenager and I can see how Beck only wanted acceptance so she did not always want to rock the boat and lose her friends, either her newer group or her more established group.
Beck was an excellent lead as she was confident in who she was on the inside, but she was insecure about how much to reveal on the outside. She is not perfect by any means and never claims to be and she works on herself to overcome each new obstacle. Her original friend group has members that were very judgmental and hung out a lot without her. Even though she did not feel like she still belonged after starting her working life at the pizza place, she still stuck around and acted as if everything was okay, even though she internally felt like the group’s outcast. She develops a new crush on one of the pizza place workers, Tristan, and I love the two of them together because he makes her see life in a new light while still respecting who she is and did not try to change her.
The pizza place crew were super enjoyable, as I loved reading about their working life together. It was further proof that a great group of co-workers can get you through even the toughest shift. They were all supportive of each other and they were just an excellent group of people that I would have loved to be with when I got my first job. I loved every single pizza place staff and they all fit perfect into the story. Beck becomes closer to some of them, but is still friendly with all of them and it becomes its own work-place family. I love the description of Hot ‘N Crusty as it reminded me of old-school Pizza Huts where there are stained glass hanging lamps and the overall environment is homey, but also semi-like a cave as the interior is darker. I loved how the pizza place was an integrated part of the town and was where Beck’s life began. It fit well how Beck’s birth to our story was seamlessly put together and it was a natural progression to her getting her job just because it was the only one available to being one that she would actually want to have. If there was a place like this when I was 16, sign me up to work there ASAP!
Overall, this novel was extremely enjoyable. There are parts that ran a little too smoothly to be realistic, as it seemed that some issues worked themselves out with a lot of compromise or effort put into it. I can understand some of the obstacles being wrapped up in a bow for the sake of a happy ending, but my preferences are that maybe it would be more enjoyable to have x, y, or z not work out perfectly in the end and introduce that not everything is perfect all the time. It is not a criticism of the book in any way and instead is just how I would approach writing this novel compared to what was presented. I am not positive exactly which state this was set in, but I believe it was Michigan. No matter where it was set, I absolutely wished I lived there when I got my driver’s license. You did not have to make an appointment months in advance and you walked away with an actual license in your hands compared to the temporary paper one that I received. This story was very well written and easily a very entertaining young adult novel that I would re-read without hesitation!
**I give a special thank you to Giselle with Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to participate via Netgalley with this excellent novel from the publisher, Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR). he opinions expressed are completely my own.**
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