|Illustration: Jeff Ostberg|
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (April 30)
To Purchase From Your Indie Bookstore*
Overview: Elouise has her summer before senior year (because the summer before senior year is far superior to the summer after), but then everything starts falling apart. Nick, the guy she likes, is still dating princess Jessa. She's the dancing hot dog for the second year in a row at the Magic Castle, the small town amusement park where she works. And then the park announces that it's closing, and Elouise is at a loss. With scheme after scheme, she attempts to save this summer and the ones to come. Overall: 4
Characters: 5 I like Elouise. She's happy and upbeat, but also a little scattered and unsure. She just kind of traipses from one idea to the next and it all kinda works out with enough finagling. I immediately identified with her because I too have "caramel" hair that won't hold dye, and I burn horribly too. While she's a bit flighty, she's definitely lovable.
Seely's hair does well dyed, and she uses her hair color to reflect her mood. She's outgoing, artistic, and centered which makes her Elouise's perfect counterpart. She's been there for Elouise even after her mom left. They stand by each other, and it's great to watch how honest their friendship is.
Nick is hot. And adorable, and he's now on my list of book boyfriends. It's no wonder that he's the object of Elouise's fascination and near stalker level attention. Nick has his own admirable points and his flaws, but he's definitely a genuinely good person, and it's nice to see that. He reminds me of Bo from Dumplin'
Also, I want to give a quick high five to Elouise's dad. He's a single parent, and it's clear that Elouise means the world to him. I love seeing sweet, YA parents.
Plot: 4 I'm not a huge fan of the I'm obsessed with this dude turn friends to lovers trope, which swayed my opinion a bit. It just feels a little futile to pine after someone for over a hundred pages to finally get them and drop them like a hot cake, but there are plenty of people who it and will eat this book up. If you love fake dating, sweet endings, and plenty of romantic shuffling, this is your book. All things considered, I still think it's super cute!
Writing: 4 Dugan is in touch with her character. Elouise has consistent quirks and speech patterns. if you pull away the obvious and look at the details, Dugan is deeply connected to her character. I really appreciate that. She keeps it cute, fun, and uplifting which is awesome to see with LGBTQ characters as there aren't enough of those pure summer fun stories with those characters.
Side Note: If anyone wants my opinion, I think Hot Dog Girl would make an awesome YA summer movie. It's so much like all of the movie I talk about in my YA movie post (here)
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To All The Boys I've Loved Before: Review Here
Dumplin': Review Here