Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
A delicious love story with all the toppings, Lauren Morrill's It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story is a contemporary YA rom-com about love, friendship, and pizza, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han.
After her mother gave birth to her in the bathroom of a local pizzeria, Beck Brix been given the dubious privilege of having minor fame, free pizza for life, and a guaranteed job when she turns sixteen—a job she unfortunately can’t afford to turn down.
Stuck with her geeky co-workers instead of taking Instagram-ready shots with her wealthy, photogenic friends, Beck finally realizes what she’s spent her whole life trying to hide: that Hot ‘n Crusty is a part of her.
Then disaster strikes the beloved pizza parlor that’s become like home, and Beck realizes that it takes losing something to really know what it’s worth.
EXCERPT: IT’S KIND OF A CHEESY LOVE STORY BY LAUREN MORRILL
I was born on the bathroom floor of Hot ’N Crusty Pizza.
My mother, not realizing that those stomach pains she’d been feeling for the last several hours were, you know, labor, decided that she was craving a slice with pineapple and green olives and just had to have it. I wish I could blame that abominable combination on pregnancy hormones, but it’s still her order to this day.
She made it exactly three steps into the restaurant before she gripped my father’s arm like she was on the first hill of a roller coaster and told him that she no longer wanted pizza, she wanted this baby out. When my mother tells this story (and she tells it a lot), she leaves out the string of colorful expletives she let loose. But when Mom’s not there, Dad likes to fill in the gaps.
Anyway, once they realized that their first child was about to come rip roaring into the world in a locally owned pizza parlor, my dad quickly dragged my mother to the bathroom.
“I don’t know, it seemed like the place to go when your wife’s about to give birth” is all he’ll say by way of explanation, even though public restrooms don’t exactly scream sterile.
A pimply-faced employee named Jordan was the first person to spring into action, yanking one of the red-and white-checked tablecloths off a booth and sprinting after my parents, spreading it out on the floor. My mother lay down, and I—along with a metric ton of goo—made my appearance into the world. It all happened very quickly, which is how a teenage pizza cook ended up serving as midwife. The ambulance didn’t even arrive for another fifteen minutes, because no one thought to call 911 until I was already screaming from the floor of the accessible stall.
When I finally arrived at the hospital, seven pounds, six ounces and smelling of garlic, there was already a TV camera waiting for me. Apparently, news of the incident had been picked up on a police scanner, so a plucky blond local reporter by the name of Molly Landau had yanked her cameraman into the news van and raced to Brook Park Memorial Hospital.
My parents used to pull out the DVD of the very first news spot at least once a year, but these days we can just search for it on YouTube. In it you can see me all red and squishy and asleep on my mom’s chest. Mom is wearing a hospital gown, looking pretty good for someone who just gave birth with no medical professionals in attendance. But I’m clad in a brand-new onesie that reads i’m hot ’n crusty. Del DiMarco, the owner of the pizza parlor, apparently had a flash of inspiration and raced down to a local print shop to have the thing made. After its TV debut, he started making all his employees wear T-shirts with the phrase emblazoned across the front.
The short spot features my father, mother, and Jordan the pizza midwife describing the miracle of life while standing an arm’s length away from an automatic flushing toilet. It became quite the sensation. I was mentioned on national morning talk shows. I was the feel-good story on several cable news channels, breaking up the endless discussion of wars and political scandals. I was even featured in People magazine.
Because not only did my story have a happy ending, Del had also generously gifted me with free pizza for life and a guaranteed job upon my sixteenth birthday. What a lucky girl I was!
It was my first taste of fame.
But unfortunately not my last.
ABOUT LAUREN MORRILL
LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and sons.
Lauren is the author of several YA novels, including MEANT TO BE (Random House) and the forthcoming BETTER THAN THE BEST PLAN (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / June 25, 2019).