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. 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.
... 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.
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.