A delicious love story with all the toppings, Lauren Morrill's It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story is a contemporary YA rom-com about love, friendship, and pizza, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han.
After her mother gave birth to her in the bathroom of a local pizzeria, Beck Brix been given the dubious privilege of having minor fame, free pizza for life, and a guaranteed job when she turns sixteen—a job she unfortunately can’t afford to turn down.
Stuck with her geeky co-workers instead of taking Instagram-ready shots with her wealthy, photogenic friends, Beck finally realizes what she’s spent her whole life trying to hide: that Hot ‘n Crusty is a part of her.
Then disaster strikes the beloved pizza parlor that’s become like home, and Beck realizes that it takes losing something to really know what it’s worth.
LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and sons.
Lauren is the author of several YA novels, including MEANT TO BE (Random House) and the forthcoming BETTER THAN THE BEST PLAN (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / June 25, 2019).
Thanks to Fierce reads for an advanced Ebook in exchange of an honest opinion
I flew through this fun, quirky book so fast, I read it in two sittings, its quite easy and fluffy read. Beck the MC of the book enters the world quite dramatically- she is born in a bathroom stall of a local Pizza place making her an instant local celebrity, however she can't wait to get rid of her "pizza princess" tag. Beck is like every teenager trying to figure out things, when she is offered a part-job at the pizza place she is reluctant to take it because all she wanted is to run away from this spotlight, however she is forced to take up the offer because of the situations. What she doesn't see coming is Hot n Crusty pizza becoming more than a family in no time
I loved how the book showed the relationship dynamics- Beck with her parents, Beck with her rich friends and Beck with her middle class friends, the way Beck adapts to each of these contrasting dynamics struggling to maintain a separate persona for each of those is quite realistic, the romance between Tristin and Beck is so adorable and its nice to see how Tristin brings the best out of her. How Beck owns her life forms the crux of the story. Overall it is an adorable YA contemporary to pick up as a rainy day read
This book was definitely cheesy, but I like cheesy. It has a broody love interest, a nerdy group of friends, and an ever-evolving main character.
Perhaps my favorite part of this book was the character development. There were many things to love (as I'll discuss later), but the change we see in the main character is probably my favorite part. Beck is so unsatisfied with her life at the beginning of the book and we get to watch her change and grow as she learns more about herself and what's important to her. I loved being able to witness this shift in her.
I also liked the relationship changes we see with her two groups of friends. At first, I was already writing off her first group of friends because they were popular and rich, but the author really surprised me. Both groups of Beck's friends had value and things to add to Beck's life and I'm so glad Morrill showed me that. Not all popular and rich characters in books have to be snobby and mean and judgemental and I'm glad that was shown to me here.
Beck's other group of friends are also super great and we see the author break another YA friend group stereotype with them. Not all kids who work part-time jobs and sit alone at lunch are losers. Beck's group of friends who worked with her at the pizza shop were nerdy and quirky and a perfect addition to her life. They were exactly what she needed to show herself that it was okay to be herself. And that who she was was good enough. I loved that.
Now, one thing that made me dock major points on this book was the plot. I love romance. Love, love it, but I like it more when the main character is doing something more than trying to win over their love interest. The main character didn't have some kind of end goal to be reached by the end of the book. She just was living and falling in love and changing. I had hoped for more sustenance.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book for those who are looking for a chill and easy romance to read.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was such a cute contemporary YA novel. It's a coming of age story with one of the most interesting set-ups ever. Baby born in a pizzeria bathroom - sold! I thought the author did a fantastic job balancing the humor and relatable teenage fears and insecurities with the more serious message of being true to yourself. I normally enjoy a heavy dose of romance in my books, but I don't think I would have minded if that part had been left out. I understand the purpose Tristan played in driving the story forward, but I thought the clashing of Beck's "two worlds" should have been the main focus.
The typical teenage angst and drama does pop up, but I appreciated Beck's character arc and how she really came into her own. I think everyone has struggled at one point in their lives to find their place and to feel comfortable in their own skin. In many ways, it's a lifelong effort. I liked how the author addressed this issue in subtle and also more obvious ways. The ending brought everything full circle and was satisfying, but I did feel that the romantic aspect of it wrapped up very quickly. I would have loved to get an epilogue a little further down the road. Overall, this was a fun and enjoyable read!
CW: cancer, death of parent, fire destruction
*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*
**I received an e-ARC of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I went into this already a fan of Lauren's but was still surprised by how much I enjoyed IT'S KIND OF A CHEESY LOVE STORY. This book is warm and real and funny and just an all around fantastic contemporary YA. Having worked in restaurants all through high school and college, and specifically in a pizza restaurant for 3 of those years, this book really nails that restaurant coworker camaraderie and what it's like to be bonded together by the shared experience of rolling silverware, prepping the tables for opening the next day, and of course, the aroma of pizza that would linger on your clothes long after you left the restaurant. This book also nailed that complicated feeling where those bonds exist so strongly within the confines of the restaurant but can be difficult to navigate outside in the real world and with your non restaurant friends, especially if said friends don't have to work part time jobs. Throughout the book, Beck was a really relatable protagonist and I especially related to the feeling that she needed to hide parts of herself (specifically her nerdy fandom interests) away from some of her friends. Overall, I just immensely enjoyed this book, from the characters, to the setting of Hot N' Crusty (great name!), to the identity struggles and not knowing what to do when you have 2 competing friend groups.
Beck couldn't wait to escape her town and leave her "legacy" behind. Born sixteen years ago on the floor of a pizza parlor bathroom, she was forever known as the "bathroom baby" and the "pizza princess". She spent a lot of energy trying to play down her Hot 'n Crusty side, but after accepting the long promised job at the HnC, she started to see the pizza place in a different light.
When I saw "love story" in the title, I was expecting a boy-meets-girl sort of thing. There was some of that, but for me, this was about Beck figuring out who she was, who she wanted to be, and loving herself. She desperately desired to be someone else. She spent time with people she considered friend-adjacent and hid parts of herself in order to fit in better with them. She tried, but never really felt like a full member of the group. When she started working at the Hot 'n Crusty, she easily bonded with her co-workers. She found she could set her inner geek free with them and be her true self.
Morrill did a great job exploring the friendship dynamics in both Beck's groups. It seemed like a lesson in contrasts, but there was more to that story. I actually loved where she went with it. These friendships really challenged Beck at times. She was forced to see her role in the relationships, and it was wonderful to see her grow as a result of these challenges.
Nights at work were some of my favorites! The vibe at the pizza place was fun. Beck had a boss, who I kept seeing as Eugene Levy, and a bunch of quirky co-workers, who I enjoyed getting to know. It really took me back to my food service days. Getting through tough shifts would be impossible without the friendship and support of the rest of the staff. But it wasn't all work, there was fun, games, hijinks, and pizza too.
Let's hit the highlights! ✅ Fantastic friendships ✅ Adorable romance(s) ✅ Fun hijinks ✅ Present parents ✅ Personal growth ✅ The "table game" ✅ Alternate post high school plans ✅ Baked goods ✅ Community ✅ Embracing your true self ✅ Pizza
This was a really sweet story about friendship and being your most authentic self. It was a bumpy journey for Beck, but she definitely was the winner at the end of it all.
I really enjoyed this story where the MC has lived with the label of being a local baby born in a locally owned pizzeria. The owner got some temporary fame as a result and capitalized on it by giving her free pizza for life and the "opportunity" to work there once she turns 16. She has always felt isolated by her notority and now as she begins her first job, she works with others that are misfits in one way or another as well. None are particularly welcoming and as she tries to settle in she begins to question how much more isolated her co-workers are than she. She also becomes very enamored with one more mature and aloof co-worker.
I really like the premise. I like the MC as well, however, I found myself distracted from the story and feel that it is a bit slow. I think this is more a matter of timing for me due to my personal life and I plan to return, thus no rating as it wouldn't be fair to this amusing coming of age tale.
This book has definite pacing issues. A little too much time is spent on minute details at the beginning and therefore a lot is packed into the last 1/3 of the book. However, it's getting four stars because I love Beck's character arc. I also adored the relationship between all the girls. As a high school teacher, one thing I think Morrill nailed with this book is how HARD friendship is at this age, and it isn't because all girls are mean and catty. If you talk to individual teenagers, every single one of them is struggling with the same feelings of being left out, not having "true" friends, and being lonely. Every. Single. One. (In my experience with those I work with.) I love how this book has them all on a journey to realize they maybe need to BE the friend they want to have the friends they want. I also love how involved Beck's parents are. It's a great story about community and family. The romance is cute too.
This was cute, light, and fun, while also delving into class -- some teens need to work in order to help out their families vs working because it's good experience --, being yourself, and what happens when you hit bumps in the road with long-time friends. The romance is sweet and the love interest pushes Beck to be true to herself, rather than play the role she thinks people want her to play.
The pizza place setting and framing is clever and fresh.
IT'S KIND OF A CHEESY LOVE STORY is exactly what it's named after: a cheesy love story. A young adult contemporary combined with multiple tropes and stereotypes that readers love in a contemporary novel. There's a play on the title because the story follows a teen named Beck, that is known as the Pizza baby or Pizza Princess. She was born in the bathroom of a pizza restaurant and has celebrated her birthday there ever since. The owner has offered her a job anytime she's interested, can get free pizza for life, a news reporter is always updated the town about her life since her birth, and people are constantly reminding her of where of the pizza restaurant. The thing is, Beck doesn't want anything to do with it. She's tired of being associated with it and wants to live her life without being the Pizza Princess. However, that changes once she's turned 16 and decides to take the job at the restaurant. At first it was something temporary but, it slowly becomes something more. She has started making friends, likes working there, and might have developed a crush on a coworker... but the more time she spends there, the less time she's spending with her friends from school. The two worlds collide as Beck navigates navigates where she wants to go in life, what this pizza restaurant, and everyone employed there means to her.
I think I'm leaning towards a 3.5 star rating because this was an above average and enjoyable contemporary. I loved the premise and different aspects that went into the story. One of my favorite things was seeing the discussion/argument about college. College is often talked about as necessary and expected out of everyone. However, it is not the best or only path for everyone. It is something that should be talked about more and I appreciate Lauren Morrill for including that. It definitely highlighted the different view points and ambitions each of the characters throughout the book. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and trying to guess what they would be up to next. Since the book does follow Beck's life, we didn't see a lot of what the other characters were doing however, the glimpses and mentions of what they were up to were intriguing. It reminded me of now, where a few years out of high school many people are in different paths of their life and up to different things. It had me itching to see what my friends and old classmates were up to.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a stand out book for me. It's not something I will be seeking out to reread or recommend to everyone. It's perfect for the summer or whenever someone is interested in a quick contemporary book. It's cheesy, full of that wild range of emotions of being a teenager, and pizza of course. The characters at times were predictable or a little annoying but hey, they're going through a crazy time of their lives transitioning from high school to college and potentially losing a big part of their lives.
The ending, or resolution to the "disaster that strikes the beloved pizza parlor that’s become like home causing Beck to realize that it takes losing something to really know what it’s worth" felt too easy. Yes, that is very possible but, it did feel a little easy especially since the disaster itself only lasted a few pages. Beck went from one thing to the complete opposite in a matter of days just because of the disaster. Even though she did have her "ah ha" moment about where she was going wrong with the people around her, I still felt like her character growth was too quick. She jumped right into it like she wasn't fighting it for the past few months-years.
Overall, it was a cute story but wasn't the best it could've been. I'm excited to see more reviews because I think this is a great lesson from people in high school or younger that could be struggling with the same thing Beck is. Sometimes battling different friend groups is hard but it doesn't always have to be.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I brake for books like It’s Kind Of A Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill. It is everything I wanted in a book and more. There is pizza and wonderfully written parents and class and obviously romance. This was the perfect book to pick up for a pick me up. Honestly, I was just so happy by the end of this book and thrilled with the outcome and developments within. Read my full review here Link goes live 3/10/20201
It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story is such a cute and fun coming-of-age novel. The writing of witty and entertaining, and I loved the main character and BOTH of her friend groups. The exploration of discovering and embracing your true self was so relatable and well-executed. I totally want to go hang at Hot ‘N Crusty with the crew. Such an enjoyable read!
This was your normal coming of age story. I through the romance was cute and I loved the work place setting but I just couldn’t stand the main character. She was so annoying and never took any responsibility for her actions, until the very end at least.
I immediately deflate. Of course he's not actually looking at me. His eyes are on the extra large pepperoni pizza in front of me. Because pizza is irresistible. Whereas I'm just...me. Being overshadowed by pizza is basically the story of my life.
With a title like that, you kind of know what you're getting, don't you? It's a cute story about a local pizza shop and Beck, the baby born in that pizza shop's bathroom 16 years ago, who is trying desperately to not be the Hot N Crusty baby as she finds her way in the world.
This was a cute us vs them story about a girl who just needs to get by. I liked the dynamics of the characters but felt that the entire rich vs. poor theme wasn't done very well. Beck seemed like the kind of person who could be friends with anyone and she wouldn't change who she is on the inside because of it. Which made her a very likable character. I think that this one would be best suited to those who are moving into young adult books from higher middle grade. As this is an easy. clean, story with all the pizza feels!
I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of this book by participating in the Xpresso Tours Tour of this book. And this is my 4th book by the author ("Being Sloane Jacobs", "My Unscripted Life", and "Better Than The Best Plan" being the other 3) that I've read.
This story's main character is Beck Brix. She has minor fame after her mother gave birth to her at a local pizzeria called "Hot 'N Crusty"; free pizza for life, and a job she can't turn down when she turns 16. For years, Beck has tried to keep her Hot 'N Crusty life separate from her real life. But when she gets a job there, how much longer can she separate herself from the pizzeria?
Before I even knew the title of this book, I put it on my To-Be-Read list back in September of 2019. I am a fan of the author's book, and this one is no exception.
Even though I enjoyed this book, I didn't really understand Beck's reason for wanting to keep her two lives separate. But I did enjoy seeing her warm and open up to accepting the other coworkers at Hot 'N Crusty. And I loved it when her two worlds came together, even if she didn't enjoy it at the time. And I enjoyed reading the scenes that took place at the pizzeria. I don't think the story would have worked well at a burger joint, taco restaurant, or any other setting but a pizzeria.
For fans of Lauren Morrill, or cheesy romances (pun intended), this is one you cannot miss. Another good one for Lauren Morrill.
Lemme tell you, I picked this book up twice and only got as far as ordering pizza both times. 😅 🍕 But, on my third try (and the 100 page mark) I started to get into it.
Okay, so going in all I had to really go by was my Aunt clutching this book saying “yes”. I did not realize it was a YA book initially (I was thinking juvenile. I think it was the cover 🤷🏻♀️). Because it was YA over Juvenile it didn’t have the same light and easiness to it that I was actually looking for. But, I can’t really fault a book for my own mistake.
The reviews/blurbs on the back of the book are ridiculously cheesy. Which, I suppose was the theme. But while everyone else is gushing over the cheesiness of it all I’m the person who ended the book, took one final look at the cover and rolled my eyes. Because the title is just so freaking fitting.
And yet, I was just never really connected to any of the characters. There are some funny lines here and there but it kinda all just felt like ’why?’ to me. There was something that just wasn’t clicking for me. I don’t know if it was the drawn out friendship vs friendship or that the romance wasn’t deliciously- savory? (Unless we’re thinking dessert pizza in which case yes, deliciously sweet).
I feel like there were a lot of elements here that were playing with a really good YA book but it just didn’t clear the bar for me. 🤷🏻♀️
I Received a free copy of this book from Xpersso Book Tours in conjunction with this book tour in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Why 5 Stars you say?
It is exactly what it promises to be – adorably cheesy. I haven’t read a YA in such a long time that I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. With the cheese comes the very fluffy and sweet. It was a very fun, quick read that was adorable. I enjoyed it immensely. Beck is a very sweet character. I really love the growth she had – something you really only find in YA & NA books – so I guess I will have to go on a bit of a binge. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters at the pizza place. The characters were easy to fall in love with and grow attached too and the antics during dinner shifts were fun. The relationship dynamics are very well written. Lauren Morrill very expertly wrote Beck’s interaction with her different social groups. A really fun, sweet book – I really enjoyed it.
as i read the synopsis, i thought the main part of the plot would be saving the pizza place. well, i was sorely mistaken.
most of the book is Beck getting a job, making new friends, feeling conflicted about the old friends and liking a boy. that’s it. and then in the last 30 pages, everything else happens: “disaster” strikes, she FINALLY sits down and talks to her friends (which she should’ve done the second the started having a second friend group), disaster is “solved”, boy troubles are made better. All in a flash. I kept waiting for the trouble to come, and all it happened was “maybe i like this boy” and “i’m ignoring my friends calls”.
the good parts: 1) beck’s parents. they are just the coolest and cutest and i adore them intensely. 2) julienne. and julienne and frank. and the whole homecoming dress-up situation. ADORABLE.
The truth is, I don't get me. I don't exactly know who I am, not even a little bit.
Beck Brix, aka the Hot n' Crusty Bathroom Baby, gained a measure of local fame when she was unceremoniously born in the bathroom stall of a pizza joint. Now sixteen, Beck wants to get away from her alias as the Bathroom Baby. Free pizza for life and the promise of a job at the restaurant where her story began is not as thrilling as you would think. But Beck can't afford to turn down the job, and soon she's stuck with the geeky outcasts that work at Hot n' Crusty, instead of spending time with her friends and hoping her crush finally notices her. Before long, though, she finds a sense of comfort with the Hot n' Crusty crew... especially the quiet, mysterious delivery driver.
This is a cheesy (as expected) and adorable YA romance. Told with humor and heart, It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story really hit the spot in between heavier reads. 5 stars.
Honestly I would say the strongest part of this novel is the natural humor. It doesn't feel like it's trying too hard, it doesn't feel awkward and inorganic. Unsure of who she really is, Beck finds herself torn between her popular friends and her geeky friends. A cute, fluffy coming-of-age story is just what I needed!
Perfection. I’ve only read one other Lauren Morrill book and now I regret that a ton. I loved the pizza place setting, needless to say, and everything else was so cute. Romance, navigating friendships (new and old), finding yourself, etc. All the good stuff I want from a YA contemporary.
This book was absolutely adorable. Such a great YA novel. For sure, it's exactly as the title states: cheesy. I couldn't stop reading this late into the evening, and waking up early to finish. The story was just so cute. I wish there had been a little more focus on the relationship aspect and maybe a little less on her life and school/work/friends, but all in all, I really enjoyed it.