Author Jean Kyoung Frazier Recommends Books and Bites

Guest Article by: 
Jean Kyoung Frazier

Author Jean Kyoung Frazier offers book and bites recommendations to celebrate the debut novel, PIZZA GIRL, available now!

If you’re anything like me, you like eating and you like reading. If you’re a lot like me, they may be your two favorite things to do, especially at the same time.

Below, check out some books I’ve read and loved recently, some snacks that will only make them better.

HOMIE by Danez Smith / Salt and Vinegar chips

Like with potato chips, you can digest Smith’s poems slowly, one here and there, or you can shove them down your throat by the handful--let Smith’s provocative, propulsive language and exploration of Blackness, queerness, friendship, and more, dominate your taste buds and leave you full, a little achey.


Trail mix is made up of a ton of goodies--granola, dried fruits, nuts, and if you’re lucky, chocolate. Like trail mix, Zhang’s debut refuses to be one thing. An intimate family drama and a heart-racing epic. An American Western, but following two Chinese immigrant siblings, filled with cultural folklore and myth. Lyrical all the way through.  

WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry / Smucker’s Uncrustables

The pre-made peanut butter and jelly delight of the Uncrustable matches the zany delight of Barry’s newest novel, which follows an 80s high school girl’s field hockey team makes a pact with the devil to win state. You’ll root for this eclectic group of girls and reminisce about your own teenage experience as you unstick PB&J from the roof of your mouth.

GODSHOT by Chelsea Bieker / Slim Jim and ice cold soda of your choosing

I’m a Mountain Dew gal, but any soda will work as long as it’s pulled from the back of the fridge. You’ll want that frosty coldness for the blistering heat that Bieker brings in her debut. Gold glitter, religious cults, set against the backdrop of a Central California desert town suffering from drought. While you don’t want to know what’s in a Slim Jim, Lacey May is a compelling narrator who will pull you in from page one.

WOW, NO THANK YOU by Samantha Irby / Hostess Donettes

Irby’s voice is bright and conversational, free of any bullshit, the kind of voice you wish you could hear in person. Settle for indulging in something sweet as you read and laugh at Irby’s thoughts on everything from middle age, the Midwest, depression, queerness, capitalism, and more in this charming essay collection.

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio / Lunchables

This snack recommendation makes literally no sense for this book. But I love Lunchables and I think this is one of the more powerful, vital books that’s come out not just this year, but in recent memory. Villavicencio unveils the experiences of undocumented Americans across the country throughout moments of crisis from 9/11 to Flint, Michigan while also weaving in her own deeply moving personal story. “I am not a journalist. Journalists are not allowed to get involved the way I have gotten involved.” Whether you eat some Lunchables or not, you should absolutely read this book. 

I could go on--there are endless snack and book pairings--but the clock in my apartment just struck snack o’clock (this happens every thirty minutes or so.)

If you have any interest in my debut novel, PIZZA GIRL, perhaps it’s a bit on the nose, but I can’t not recommend Totino’s pepperoni Pizza Rolls. I not only ate them often while writing my novel, but they’re bite-size, flavorful, a god damn delight--hopefully, how you’ll describe my novel too.

Eat well and read deeply,


Pizza Girl: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385545723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - June 9th, 2020

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