Review by Veronica

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Series Name: Meant to Be, #1

As I stand, I take a deep breath and a quick moment to smooth out my dress, and for just a millisecond. I think, What if… What if this random guy really is the love of my life? What if fate is actually real and the two of us are meant for this moment? 

I look up and am briefly shocked by all the lights and cameras and crew quietly stepping around us.
My vision focuses and my gasp cuts through the humid night air.
Talk, dark hair, impeccable suit.
Prince Charming himself. 

Cindy has just graduated from school with a degree in shoe design; her final year did not go as smoothly as she had hoped. With no job prospects on the horizon, she decides to go home to work for her stepmother, who is the executive producer of America’s favourite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot opens up on the show, Cindy decides to volunteer to fill it, hoping that the exposure will help her jump-start her fashion career.

Cindy quickly becomes a fan favourite of the show. People love that she is plus size and find that they can relate to her. Cindy soon finds herself becoming a body positivity icon for women everywhere. But being on reality TV is not all glitz and glamour, and it is hard to keep track of what is real, who is your friend, and who you can trust your heart with. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time for her to design her own. 

Oh, my goodness, this book is just so much fun to read!

If The Shoe Fits is a modern rom-com retelling of Cinderella and Julie Murphy did a fabulous job at taking this classic fairy tale and making it her own. There is just so much to love with this book: the characters, the story, the settings, and the shoes!

I LOVE the Bachelor reality show aspect of this book, which is strange because I am not a huge fan of the show in real life. But I found myself understanding how people can become obsessed with the show because that is what happened to me with this book. It hooked me in, and I found myself picking out my favourites that I hoped would make it to the next round and pushing my bedtime back just to see who would be staying and who would be going. It was also a lot of fun seeing what happens behind the scenes of a reality TV show; it reminded me of the movie Miss. Congeniality. 

 Cindy is a fabulous main character and role model. For me, it was wonderful reading a romance novel where the character didn’t have the perfect body. I found myself relating to Cindy’s struggles when it came to finding clothes that fit someone who isn’t a size four. I often dread going into high-end stores because I know I will either find nothing that will fit me; or I will have to buy it in a size that is 2-3 times larger than I usually buy (super depressing). What made Cindy stand out and shine for me was the fact that she was comfortable in her own skin; she knew she was beautiful and knew that her size didn’t matter when it came to finding love on the show. I was also relieved that Julie didn’t try to change her, with some sort of TV show make-over or dieting to change her weight. Which I find happens a lot in both books, tv shows, and movies. 

The relationship between Cindy and Henry was charming. The reality TV show aspect really made the romance different from other rom-coms and the classic fairy-tale. Cindy has a hard time figuring out what was real and fake with their relationship, which is the reason why I really struggle with the whole Bachelor show. How can someone truly fall in love with a person when he is dating all these other women? I loved all the secret meet-ups and cute moments that happened between Cindy and Henry. As a reader, you could see the chemistry that existed between these two.  

I really want to thank Julie for not following the traditional negative stereotypes that often exist for stepmoms or step siblings. I think readers are getting pretty tired of reading books or watching shows that follow the typical evil stepmom mould. Cindy’s stepmom was not an evil or cruel woman. She was a successful businesswoman and a mom who loves all her kids. She really cared for Cindy and tried her best to help her out and keep her safe. I also adored her stepsisters; they are a lot of fun and have larger-than-life personalities. The family dynamic was fun and different and shows that families come in all shapes and sizes.  

If you are looking for a fun romantic fairy tale read, with a diverse cast of characters, some reality tv drama, and heroine that will capture your heart, then you need to read If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy.

Thanks to Disney Publishing Worldwide, for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.