Tuesday, July 27, 2021

If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
Release Date - August 3, 2021 
Publisher Website - Disney/Hyperion
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

Julie Murphy writing a fairytale retelling was enough to get me excited but also finding out that it would be her adult novel debut made this book one I was desperate to get my hands on. The fact that it was also kicking off a new series from Disney was only more incentive for me to get my hands on it as soon as I could. This book lived up to my incredibly high expectations and offers a fun, clever, and breezy read that is every bit as magical as you hope it will be.

Our main character, Cindy, is an aspiring shoe designer with a flair for fashion. She is a main character that you cannot help but fall in love with. She is comfortable with who she is and knows her own worth. She may have struggled with the death of both her parents but she is working through it with the amazing support system she has.

The representation for plus sized women is, unsurprisingly, excellent in this. Julie Murphy's books always have fat main characters without the story only being about them being fat. It is just part of who Cindy is and it was refreshing to see her story not revolve around her weight. It is part of her story, an important part at times, but it is not THE story.

There are little fun nods to the classic Cinderella tale sprinkled throughout in clever ways. The pumpkin, the glass slippers, the ball, and more all make unique appearances that blend perfectly with this more modern take on the story. It helps the story feel fresh and current in a way that compliments the general tone of the novel.

Those who are not a fan of the evil stepmother trope will be happy to hear that it is nowhere to be found in this novel. Erica Tremaine is a supportive, loving stepmother. The stepsisters, Drew and Anna, are equally caring which makes for welcome change. For a novel that would seem to have women competing with each other at its core it, surprisingly, is filled with examples of wonderfully supportive connections between women. There is an antagonist but most of the relationships are different compared to what you would expect. They may be complicated at times, but are supportive at their core.

I cannot wait to find out which Disney Princess is the subject of the next Meant To Be novel. I was completely charmed by Julie Murphy's take on Cinderella and I hope the rest of the books are just as delightful.

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