I’ve been waiting for Hot Dog Girl for SO LONG. So much so, it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019.
Good job that publication week also falls on a bank holiday in the UK because you bet I just sat and read it pretty much in one day… Except for the 70ish pages I read during my lunch breaks because I couldn’t wait.
Was my excitement rightly placed? Keep reading to find out…
A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn a commission. This is at no extra charge to you.
Also, minor spoilers ahead.
Title: Hot Dog Girl
Author: Jennifer Dugan
Page count: 309
There are worse things in the world than being a hot dog, probably.
Elouise (Lou) Parker has set out to make summer the best one yet. She’s just landed a job at Magic Castle Playland (as a dancing hot dog). Dreamy diving pirate, Nick, is dating the literal Princess of Magic Castle Playland, but Lou has never liked anyone this much before so she’s determined to get her happily ever after.
Add in to the mix Lou’s best friend Seeley who is blowing hot and cold on being set up by Lou and also helping Lou get with Nick. Aaaand Mr P., the owner of Magic Castle Playland, has announced that the park will be shutting it’s gates for good at the end of the summer. Life is certainly out to make summer as difficult as possible for Lou!
The cutest book of the year.
Can we just take a sec to talk about that cover? The colour scheme, the costumes, the park in the background. It’s perfection personified. Plus, are we supposed to think that the colours of the bisexual pride flag are used in the majority of the colours? More. Of. This. Please.
Relatable content, even for adults.
If I were a 15/16 year old reading this, the positions Elouise gets herself in to would be so relatable I honestly don’t even know how I’d handle it. The awkwardness. The over-analysis of every movement she makes. The wanting to keep everything the same (and to keep the safety blanket). I went through all those things as a teenager (who doesn’t?!) but to be able to see that it happens to everyone and, generally, isn’t a massive deal, that’s something special.
Reading as an adult, I sat at the end of the book and wished my friendship groups had been as accepting about messing up. I also totally related to Nick. I moved around a bit as a kid and was used to being the new kid. I remember feeling like I had to be someone I wasn’t each time to fit in.
The book even touches on relationships. Nick & Jessa are Not Okay™ and it’s so well explained. The way Dugan slyly slips in that it’s not an equal partnership – such as Nick eating popcorn even though he’s just admitted he doesn’t like it – let you realise that this isn’t what it’s supposed to be like. With my adult hat on, it also helped me to predict what was coming next.
And let’s just talk about representation. From how Lou’s dad reacts to her coming out, to the way Lou works out her feelings – it’s perfect. As someone who has no idea how they identify (and that’s okay), I could recognise a bit of my own sexuality in there. I wish I’d had something like this book in my teen years.
I’d rather be a hot dog girl than a princess tbh.
Let me know if you’ve read Hot Dog Girl in the comments – I’d love to know which bit is your favourite!