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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 unexp…

Hot Dog Girl

by Jennifer Dugan

Overall Book Review:

Hot Dog Girl is a novel for the masses.  It’s got a dash of humor, a smattering of romance, a little bit of scheming, and a whole lot of heart.

The plot line of this debut novel is straight-forward.  Elouise’s world is crashing down around her.  Her job at an amusement park is on its last hurrah as the park is closing.  She thinks she is in love with Nick, but he already has a girlfriend.  Seeley, her best friend, certainly needs her help setting up a date with a co-worker.  And to top it all off, she feels it is her duty to save the amusement park for the good of the entire community.

Throughout the novel we are introduced to the Magic Castle amusement park.  With enough detail that you can envision an aging park trying to squeak out its existence.  We are introduced to a cast of characters…who literally are a cast:  princes, princesses, carousel operators, diving pirates–the works of the park.  It’s all so incredibly relatable and small town-esque that you feel like you are right in the middle of the action watching it all occur.

I really fell in love with the ending of this book.  I won’t give away the spoilers, but I loved that the author showed how sometimes what we need the most is right in front of our faces and we don’t even realize it.  I also loved the showcasing that not everything or everyone is always what they seem to be on the surface and that we all have hidden hurts, wants and desires that aren’t on display.

This is a great spring read for the young adult audience and one I think girls and boys alike will enjoy.  I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from this debut author.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Putnam

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  51 religious exclamations, 19 mild obscenities, 45 scatological words, 19 anatomical terms, and 9 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Bites hand being held over mouth; pulled into pool; minor cuts, scrapes and bruises; girls push and shove each other; boy ends up with black eye.

Sex/Nudity:  Squeeze to shoulder; 15 kisses between both same and opposite gender couples; two short discussions of sexuality with minimal detail; reference to effect of cold on breasts; reference to sex without detail; four instances of hand holding; numerous flirty behavior moments (subtle bumps, brushing against, flirty comments); arm around shoulder; 3 instances of same sex couple cuddling.

Mature Subject Matter:

Abandonment, death of family member, terminal illness, infidelity, homosexuality.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Teens drink alcohol; reference to use of marijuana.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.