Murphy, Julie. If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be). Disney-Hyperion, 2021. 304 pp. ISBN 9781368050388 $26.99
Recent fashion school grad and shoe designer Cindy is feeling aimless and creatively blocked. Giving up on her dreams of designing shoes and eventually her own fashion line in NYC, she returns to the west coast home she shares with her (nice) stepmother and (nice) stepsisters. Her stepmother Erica is the brains behind Before Midnight, a bachelor-style reality television series. When two contestants are out of the running before filming begins, Erica decides all three of her girls should join the show and compete for the gentleman in question–who turns out to be the seatmate that Cindy had a moment with on the plane trip home. Cindy and Henry agree to pretend not to know one another, and even though they have a tiny history and major chemistry, she has to watch him woo a plethora of other women.
The other contestants, family and crew allow Cindy to develop supportive and adversarial relationships with other women, and create drama. In a twist, her stepsisters are generous and supportive even as they are vying for the suitor. Cindy is plus-sized and comfortable in her own skin, and a wonderful fat heroine. Most pleasing of all is that queer and trans characters are 100% accepted, and the main character follows her own dreams. The fashion details are fun and there is also a lot of behind the scenes about the fakeness of reality television and the influence of producers on the desired outcome. Readers who love all the gory intimate details may be disappointed. That said, this is a little superficial, shallow, sanitized and Disney-fied. Still, if the shoe fits is a sweet story and a strong start to the princess-themed series.
I received a free advance reader’s copy of#MeanttoBeIftheShoeFits from #NetGalley.