Review: Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Title: Hot Dog Girl
Author: Jennifer Dugan
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 309

Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.

* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.

* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.

* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love–and themselves–in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository | Indiebound

I’m writing this review while listening to You Need To Calm Down, the new single Taylor Swift released like five minutes ago, and OH MY GOD.

Seriously….I’m having the hardest time focusing and I really need to calm down but the vibes from this song are what Hot Dog Girl deserves.

Thanks for sticking with me, I swear the rest of these words will actually tell y’all how I feel about the book.

The first few chapters of Hot Dog Girl had me falling in love with Jennifer Dugan’s writing style. I absolutely adored her sense of humor and all of the personality packed into the story. As things progressed, though, I found myself getting uncomfortable. I didn’t know a ton about this book before going into it other than it was queer, funny, and I loved the title and cover. This both helped and hurt things.

The world needs good hot dogs…

hot dog girl by jennifer dugan

The fact that Lou was trying to cause two people in a relationship to break up so she could start dating one of them got a huge thumbs down from me. This is something that really bothers me and causes me to completely check out. It never caused me to want to DNF the book, because I loved the writing style, but it did make me start seriously considering writing a rant review after I had finished it.

Something else that really got to me was how constantly Lou and Seeley argued. After the first few chapters it felt like it’s all they did. And they were together a lot. I just wanted to tell them, “You need to calm down. You’re being too loud.” Really though, this is something that probably won’t bother a lot of people. I’m just one of those that is incredibly sensitive to confrontation and arguments of any sort cause me to become incredibly stressed out.

Y’all ready for the but? Because here it is… But, by the end of the book, I realized I was being ridiculous. This book is about TEENS and they are acting like TEENS. A lot of us, or maybe it’s just me, have gotten used to so many flowery contemporary writers whose characters act like they’re in a movie and the only resemblance to actual young adults is their age. Dugan’s characters and the way they reacted to everything was so realistic and I ended up loving them for the very reasons I initially hated them.

Lou is such a wonderful, amazing, fantastic, messy, chaotic, bisexual icon. Throughout the book, she’s still trying to figure out who she is, and though she didn’t always make the best choices, I was so proud of her. I honestly wish this book had been available to me in high school because I honestly think it would have helped me figure my sexuality out. We are truly living in 20biteen this year and the bisexual rep in this was so so good.

‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.

you need to calm down by taylor swift

Hot Dog Girl has so much to offer. There were a few messy things that often comes along with being a debut author, such as there were times when I felt things were a little repetitive or maybe needed more ironing out, but this truly is a can’t miss novel. This is one I am going to love seeing on my shelf and it will have a home there for a long time to come. I’m also already really looking forward to what Jennifer Dugan is writing next.

TL;DR: Lou is a messy bisexual icon and her coming-of-age story is one that can’t be missed.

11 thoughts on “Review: Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan”

  1. This has been ~casually~ on my TBR all year, but because you’ve pretty much declared You Need To Calm Down its anthem, HOT DOG GIRL is definitely now a priority! 😂


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