Summary (from the publisher): 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.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Fairytale & princess retellings are always being done in the contemporary book world, so I admit that I’ve become somewhat wary of them… but one fairytale retelling that’s totally stolen by heart? Julie Murphy’s If the Shoe Fits! If the Shoe Fits is the first book in a fairytale retelling series, Meant to Be. I’ve loved Julie Murphy’s YA books, Dumplin’ and Puddin’ , so I’m really excited to have her first book in the adult contemporary world as a new favorite.
If The Shoe Fits is a Cinderella modern day retelling, following recent fashion school grad Cindy who agrees to be on her step-mother’s reality dating show & stars as the show’s first plus size contestant. Cindy has to hide the fact that her step-mom, Erica, is Before Midnight’s show runner and that her two step-sisters are also contestants on the show…. not to mention the fact that she had a total meet-cute with the male lead on her flight from NYC to LA just days ago.
In my opinion, the book reads more as a Bachelor retelling/inspired read over a Cinderella retelling. There are slight nods to Cinderella, mostly through character names and Cindy’s love for shoes- but I was definitely more interested in the Bachelor-ness of the story. The show is a fairytale version of Bachelor (for example, instead of receiving roses, the contestants receive scrolls and attend balls). I could also see If The Shoe Fits being compared to Kate Stayman-London’s One to Watch since both protagonists are plus size, but If The Shoe Fits takes a lighter approach in the sense it doesn’t deep dive into Cindy being the show’s first plus-size contestant. I think this slightly may have had to do with the fact that Cindy doesn’t have access to her phone and social media, but her producers hint that people on social media love her personality and the representation. There are some rude remarks made by some of the contestants on the show and Cindy has conversations with the show’s styling team about how there aren’t too many clothing options for her, but the book overall was quite body positive.
Since the school year started, I haven’t really prioritized reading during the week, but If The Shoe Fits totally turned that around & I traded watching TV to unwind for this book for two nights. This book was the light & fluffy read I definitely need and has made me want to read more contemporary & contemporary romance ASAP (not-so patiently waiting for a few new releases to come in from my library & Barnes & Noble). If The Shoe Fits is definitely on the contemporary side way more than contemporary romance – there are a few kissing scenes but that’s about it when it comes to steam level. I just really loved immersing myself in the reality TV world, and Cindy & Henry’s romance was just so adorable. I also loved Cindy’s relationships with her step-family and when she talked about her relationships with her parents before they both passed away.
Overall, If The Shoe Fits is the perfect read if you are craving a fun & light contemporary with some reality TV influence. I am so looking forward to Meant to Be Book #2 next year, which will be written by Jasmine Guillory & will be a Beauty & the Beast retelling.
Have you read If the Shoe Fits? Have you read any books by Julie Murphy? Favorite fairytale/princess retelling? Share in the comments!