ARC Review: Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Title: Hot Dog Girl
Author: Jennifer Dugan
Publisher: Putnam
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019

Summary: Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She's landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou's never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who's always been up for anything, suddenly isn't when it comes to Lou's quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou's scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland--ever--unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

This review was originally written for

When I first heard the whispering about this book on Twitter, I was immediately drawn into the idea of a story. A girl that has to spend her summer at an amusement park, dressed up like a hot dog, all while trying to find love? Count me in! Once the cover was revealed and the hype for the book grew even more, I knew that this was a story I really needed to read. So, needless to say, once TeenReads assigned me this book to review for the month of April, I was all in! 

As the summary explains, Lou Parker was expecting to have the summer of a lifetime, but it looks like plans just aren't working out that way. For starters, she got stuck in the hot dog suit again at her amusement park job. Which leads to the second problem -- Mr. P has just announced that this will be Magic Castle Playland's final summer -- and that's something she definitely wants. On top of that, Lou is trying to enlist her best friend, Seely, to help her secure the hot diving pirate, Nick. There are a few problems with that, though -- one, Seely is absolutely not on board with Lou's plan. Two, Nick is already taken by the literal park princess, Jessa. So Lou is in for a rough summer, unless she can find a way to turn it into something worth salvaging. That is, as salvaged as it can be while she still has to wear a hot dog suit.

There were so many things that I really loved about this book! It was such a feel-good, funny novel that I found myself tearing through since it's only a little over 300 pages long. There were so many moments that made me laugh, gasp, cry, and even cringe, because Lou is so hilariously awkward and it was clear how much she loved the park and wanted to save it. I'm a total sucker for stories with summer-job settings, and this amusement park just reminded me so much of the one from my own home that I just felt really nostalgic and invested the entire time. Seriously, you guys, this book is so funny -- not to mention the fact that the cover itself is also super adorable and I love it! There also seemed to be a lot of LGBTQIAP+ representation in the novel, which is not something I can analyze or comment on directly as someone who is not LGBTQIAP+, but I'd still like to point out the fact that it's there in this story.

There wasn't much I disliked about the book -- the only thing I can think of is that there were a few instances (particularly toward the beginning and the middle of the novel, less so at the end) where I found Lou to be kind of whiny and selfish. Seely definitely points it out a few times, when Lou seems to be thinking of nobody except herself, repercussions and casualties be damned. I know that was part of her character, but it was a bit frustrating to see during some parts where Lou seemed to shrug it off and just be like "oh well, there's nothing I can do to fix this now, I may as well just continue to be selfish". I know it served the purpose of demonstrating character development later on, but it was really frustrating to get through in the beginning. However, that's all I really have to say for what I didn't like about the book, since the rest of it was so delightful!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Hot Dog Girl. If you're looking for a quick, feel-good read that will make you laugh, cry, swoon, and it's something you can breeze through pretty quickly, then I'd definitely recommend picking this one up. It was definitely worth all of the hype that I've seen around, and I'm absolutely looking forward to reading more of Jennifer Dugan's work in the future! :-)


  1. This does sound like a good read. Nice review.

  2. This one sounds so awesome! Definitely adding it to my TBR.
    Krystianna @ Wanderlust Adventurist and Downright Dystopian

  3. Great review! I have this on my tbr because the premise sounds amazing and the cover is the best


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