Book Review: If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

If the Shoe Fits

Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Meant to Be, book 1
Publisher: Hyperion Avenue (August 3, 2021)
Paperback, 304 pages
Romance, New Adult Romance, Retelling (Cinderella)
Goodreads

Summary

If the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Cindy loves shoes. A well-placed bow or a chic stacked heel is her form of self-expression. As a fashion-obsessed plus-size woman, she can never find designer clothes that work on her body, but a special pair of shoes always fits just right.

With a shiny new design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating reality show. When a contestant on Before Midnight bows out at the last minute, Cindy is thrust into the spotlight. Showcasing her killer shoe collection on network TV seems like a great way to jump-start her career. And, while she’s at it, why not go on a few lavish dates with an eligible suitor?

But being the first and only fat contestant on Before Midnight turns her into a viral sensation—and a body-positivity icon—overnight. Even harder to believe? She can actually see herself falling for this Prince Charming. To make it to the end, despite the fans, the haters, and a house full of fellow contestants she’s not sure she can trust, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and hope her heels— and her heart—don’t break in the process.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If the Shoe Fits is a fun, contemporary reimagining of Cinderella. This is an adult title, but I feel like it’s plenty accessible to YA readers, and I’d personally call it New Adult seeing. Cindy has just graduated from fashion school and is trying to find her footing in the “real world,” which are very New Adult themes. The romance is closed door, though there is some fade to black sex, so nothing too shocking on the page for younger readers, haha.

I really, REALLY love the relationship between Cindy, our Cinderella-esque heroine, and her step-mom and step-sisters. They’re gorgeous and trendy, and Cindy doesn’t always fit in with their high profile lifestyles or quite feel like she fits in with her step-family after her father passes, but they all clearly love each other very much. I also really adore the little nods to Disney’s Cinderella, like two of her triplet half-siblings names being Jack and Gus (adorable).

As for the romance plot… Man, for someone who’s never watched The Bachelor, I sure do love these competition style dating reality TV series premises in romance novels, haha! I really liked the chemistry between Cindy and her Prince Charming, though compared to some of the friendships she builds and her relationship with her step-sisters, Cindy’s connection with Prince Charming fell just a little flat for me. Still, they had some very special moments (especially at the end!) that made the romance very worthwhile.

This is the first book in the Meant to Be series, and can be read as a stand alone. I assume the other books will be based on other Disney princesses, which is really exciting! It’s not clear yet if that will be the case, or if Julie Murphy will be writing all the books or if it will be a collection by various authors. Exciting times ahead! I can’t wait to read more. 🙂

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