If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be, Book 1) by Julie Murphy. Hyperion, 2021. 9781368050388
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Cindy has graduated from Parsons School of Design and is unclear about her next step. She is still grieving her dad’s death and misses her step-family, so decides to go to LA to visit them. On the plane she meets a handsome guy whom she dubs “Prince Charming.” They click – Cindy is pleased to meet someone whose sense of humor aligns with hers. But, of course, they’ll never see each other again, right? Well, her TV producer step-mom convinces her to join try outs for a reality TV program called “Before Midnight,” which is a hugely popular dating show, with 24 women vying for 1 eligible bachelor. She gets a spot and the bachelor turns out to be none other than “Prince Charming” himself, Henry Mackenzie. Cindy becomes a sensation on the show, her plus size figure resonating with fans who never felt represented on reality TV. As women get eliminated over the days of the show, Cindy thinks she has a chance to win Henry’s heart
This is an entertaining, funny Cinderella romance, with some important differences. Cindy is a hoot, and it’s easy to like and root for her. And she has skills as a shoe designer, so she’s not just a pretty face. Her self acceptance is really refreshing to see. Her step-sisters, skinny Instagram influencers, love her and she gets support from her step-Mom. And, yay!, a romance with a plus-size character! I enjoyed the foray into reality TV and the world of high fashion design. The romance, from meet-cute to affection, seems meant to be, but the ending has a surprise.
I also love that Cindy makes friends with most of the other women she’s competing against. There’s a cool librarian co-contestant, and I laughed out loud as she proclaimed her love for “sexy, sexy information!”.
Anything you didn’t like about it? There was a typo on the first page (breaks vs brakes). Yikes. And, the romance really does feel a bit forced time-wise.
To whom would you recommend this book? For romance fans, especially those who crave body-positive representation and/or fairy tale reboots. For older teens and adults.
Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Adult fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 13, 2021