Hello friends! Second review of the day–woohoo! This one is for what may be my favorite book of the summer, “If The Shoe Fits” by Julie Murphy, out today (Aug. 3rd)!. Can’t wait to get my hands on a final copy of this.
An eARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out my review, and learn more about the book and author.
After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.
Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.
Okay, we’re just going to jump right into this. “If The Shoe Fits” spoke to my soul. It is truly the adult contemporary rom-com of my dreams.
I went into this book familiar with Julie Murphy as an author, and was aware that her stories have plus-sized girls and women at the center of them. However, the only one of her works that I’d previously read was “Dumplin'” (which I adored so much), whose main character is a plus-sized teen. All of Julie’s previous books have been YA titles, so while I of course could see myself in the pages of “Dumplin’,” “If The Shoe Fits” just hit different because I saw present-me fully showcased on these pages.
Cindy was a wonderful main character and I so appreciated the nuanced ways she talked about and approached situations having to deal with the way people see/treat/talk about her body. From little things like offhandedly wondering if she’d have to get a seat belt extender on her flight this time around, to the silent bruises on hips and thighs that form from seats with armrests, to being vocal and standing up for herself when a stylist was unprepared with clothing that would fit her. I greatly appreciated the way Julie interwove the issues fat people face on a daily basis, that straight-sized people simply do not have to think about.
I also loved the team Cindy had around herself. Her best friend, her family, members of the Before Midnight crew, the other contestants she befriended, and of course, Henry. But perhaps my favorite character, aside from Cindy (And, okay, yes, Henry too. What a dreamboat.), was Jay. They didn’t have much page time, but the time and moments that they did have? Completely stole the show. All of these characters were a breath of fresh air, but any time Jay popped up, the air was crisp, my skin was clear, my crops were thriving, my bank account was cute. I. Love. Jay.
One of the other things I adored about “If The Shoe Fits” was Cindy’s love for shoes. This book is a Cinderella retelling. Knowing that, and based off of the title, I went into this story with somewhat connected dots and knew there were certain tropes and references we would probably see play out. I also knew Cindy would probably be a shoe girl, and I was right, but there was a moment where she explained why she loves shoes so much that really hit home.
She said she loves them because, as a teen, she would spend hours shopping with friends, but would always end up browsing the accessories and shoes because none of the stores her friends shopped at carried her clothing size. But shoes? She could work with that. She could bond over shoes with just about anyone, regardless of size.
When I read that, I was shocked. And I just have to say, I am fully convinced Julie Murphy somehow read my mind, took detailed notes of my own experiences and embarrassing obsession with shoes, and wrote it into this book.
“If The Shoe Fits” was an absolute joy to read. It was fun escaping into this sweet and honest rom-com, and I really can’t wait to see what else Julie Murphy has in store for us as far as adult romances go. This was her first, and it certainly shouldn’t be her last, because she knocked this one out of the park.
★★★★★ = Masterful.
About The Author
Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.
When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure.
She is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels Dumplin’ (now a film on Netflix), Puddin’, Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary. Dear Sweet Pea is her debut middle grade novel.