“What is important is not what you hear said, it’s what you observe.” — Michael Connelly

Trying to understand ourselves and work through what we want isn’t exactly easy, especially for those who feel adrift and are unsure of what they want out of life. Our latest read takes us to suburban Los Angeles as a young woman tries to figure out how she intends to live her life.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

In Jean Kyoung Frazier’s debut novel, she takes readers through the suburban streets of Los Angeles as a young pizza delivery girl tries to grapple with everything going on in her life. When she met Billy at a grief support group in high school, they fell in love, but the pizza girl never quite dealt with the loss of her father. Now she’s beginning to feel trapped within her life, unsure of what she wants to do with her future and she feels smothered by her mother and boyfriend’s well meant efforts to support her through her pregnancy.

At 18, the pizza girl feels trapped and untethered all at the same time until she gets a call requesting a pickle and pepperoni pizza. When making that delivery, the pizza girl forms an intimate connection with the caller, Jenny, who begins to occupy the protagonist’s thoughts.

As “Pizza Girl” unfolds, readers fall into the intriguing musings of a pizza delivery girl trying to figure out her life as she repeats some of her father’s mistakes. Frazier captures so many aching emotions as she tells the tale of a lonely teenager who finds herself on the cusp of motherhood without a plan while she tries to explore her identity and her feelings. Frazier’s propulsive narrative springs forward with the protagonist’s quirky observations and distinct voice in her distinctly original novel.

From the book jacket…

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father (whom she has more in common with than she’d like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.

If you enjoy…

Readers who find themselves captivated by Frazier’s prose and wry observations might also enjoy reading Ali Wong’s hilarious and moving memoir “Dear Girls.”