ARC April has given me some great romance reads, perfect for Spring. Why am I so into F/F contemporary romances right now? IDK but I love it and Hot Dog Girl is a cute take on the friends-to-lovers trope as well as set against a fun but potentially under-developed backdrop of a small town amusement park.
Elouise Parker is the Hot Dog Girl…again. For the second summer in a row, her second working at the local amusement park, Elouise (aka Lou or Elle, depending on who you ask), dresses up as a Hot Dog and does what hot dogs do–dance and make jokes about relish. But her “perfect” summer before her senior year gets ruined when the guy she’s got a crush on–Nick–is back with his perfect Princess-costume girlfriend–Jessa. But Elouise has a plan. She convinces her best friend, Seeley, to fake date her so she can get close to Nick without him realizing it. But things get complicated fast. Seeley’s grandmother is sick, Elouise is still dealing with major abandonment issues from her mom leaving the family, and Nick and Jessa’s relationship is way more complicated than anyone on the outside realizes. Also…the park is closing. Mr. P announces that this is the last summer of the park, and that is just NOT okay with Elouise, who decides to launch a plan to save the park no matter what.
This book is kind of a hot summer popsicle–it’s slowly melting and you know it’s going to give you what you want, but you love the ride. Okay, worst metaphor ever, ignore me, but still. I liked this book. I liked Elouise and Seeley’s friendship and I liked the feeling the tensions underneath it. I thought Nick was a great guy-crush that didn’t end up being the absolute worst, even though I fully hated Jessa the entire time. Whoops. No apologies. I’ve also been noticing a lot more single dads in YA contemporaries and really enjoying the different ways they manifest. Elouise’s dad is awesome in a lot of ways and I really loved his character. I also loved the way the Park Closing arc of the story closed.
Overall, this book has a lot of great stuff going for it! Her “Hot Dog Girl” ness does feel as relevant as I thought it would be, and I wish we saw more day-to-day park stuff and human interaction,but overall I was pleased with the book.
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan is on sale April 30, 2019.