... quirky and emotionally resonant ... With the loving, fully dimensional characters Frazier props up around her, Pizza Girl is bottled up and confused, her erratic behavior becoming cruel and worse. With readers, though, she’s her full-hearted, idiosyncratic self. She fears she’s too much like her late, alcoholic dad and wonders if her mom felt a similar ambivalence surrounding her own birth. Fans of Miranda July, Patty Yumi Cottrell, and Jen Beagin will find a kindred heroine in Frazier’s Pizza Girl.
By turns witty and moving, it is a sharp shock of a novel that gets us remarkably close to the experiences of its protagonist ... Frazier is a stylish writer who wears her skills lightly. She is particularly good at time, shifting into the past, the recent past and occasionally giving glimpses of the future as she relates the character’s present experiences ... these kind of details that make the book sing ... Frazier gives the reader just the right details, including nuggets from her Korean heritage that add further layers to the text ... Frazier makes excellent use of side characters ... There is no doubting that Pizza Girl holds its own in an increasingly crowded field. Frazier is a name we will hear from again. Her debut is a blistering base with all the toppings.
Unfortunately, Pizza Girl lacks a sense of meaningful self-awareness, and the narrator is more unlikeable for it ... precious little evidence for the reader about why Jane is so obsessed with this woman. This, paired with Jenny’s many quirks reads a bit like a cliché from a YA novel ... If we had the chance to move from Jane’s eyes, maybe we could get a better sense of how her boyfriend, who is grieving the loss of both of his parents, is feeling. We could see how her mom, an immigrant from Korea, dealt with her abusive, dangerous husband...We’re stuck with Jane, though, and she’s stuck on Jenny, and neither of them are very likeable. A protagonist can make mistakes, can be reckless and cruel–up to a certain point. Kyoung Fraizer’s portrayal of addiction is raw and candid, but it doesn’t sit right with an audience correctly predispositioned to be wary of people who drink while they’re pregnant ... Jane’s priorities haven’t shifted by the end of the book, and it’s really too bad ... a sad ending for everyone, not least for the story itself, which had the potential to be an honest, wry look at addiction and abuse and ended up more like a silly love story that doesn’t make sense.
Jean Kyoung Frazier captures that sense of apathy and emotional drift in her debut novel ... Even the loving characters are realistically imperfect, and that imperfection makes them compelling ... The book is more witty than funny, and dark without being oppressive. Frazier’s tone is earnest and sincere, and Jane has a charming innocence ... Provocative and fraught, often bitter and sometimes sweet, Pizza Girl gives readers some tough crust to chew on and heralds a strong new voice in fiction.
Frazier’s storytelling prowess only grows more deft. Much of the short, firecracker Pizza Girl is the protagonist’s interiority, which is as complex as it is engrossing ... Pizza Girl is unsettling at times, like the floating lights of a smoggy city at night. This unease comes from a place of deep honesty and spot-on late-adolescent voice ... The delicacy with which Frazier constructs a character defined by both apathy and emotional depth is part of what makes this novel so readable ... Like pickle pizza, Pizza Girl’s blend of tang and cheese is one of the most satisfying novels you’ll read this year.
... playful and unflinching ... Frazier’s characters are raw and her dialogue startlingly observant ... This infectious evocation of a young woman’s slackerdom will appeal to fans of Halle Butler and Ottessa Moshfegh, and will make it difficult not to root for the troubled and spirited pizza girl.