Pizza Girl

Doubleday. Jun. 2020. 208p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9780385545723.
Gr 9 Up–Eighteen and pregnant, Jane struggles under the realizations that she’s too much like her recently deceased alcoholic father, her former classmates refuse to recognize her, her boyfriend has thrown away his future for the sake of the baby, and she is largely ambivalent about the upcoming child. She looks at the lives of the customers she delivers pizza to, imaging what the rest of their days are like. She thinks she finds a kindred spirit in frazzled mother Jenny, who quickly realizes Jane is not excited about the baby. Finally seen, Jane becomes obsessed with Jenny and projects too much of herself onto her, leading to a series of very bad decisions. Jane’s first-person narration immediately draws readers in, connecting with her disconnectedness, even as they wish she would pull herself together. Her lack of preciousness and wry sense of humor keep Jane’s loneliness and resulting actions from veering into maudlin tragedy. Instead, the end reveals that people’s lives are rarely as Jane imagines, whether they be one of her favorite pizza customers or her Korean immigrant mother.
VERDICT Jane’s strong voice and lack of post–high school direction will resonate with teens. A strong choice for browsing collections.

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