With Or Without You by Eric Smith
Published: January 4th 2024 by Inkyard Press
Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)
Genres: Young Adult // Contemporary, Romance
Quick Thoughts: Wholesome, cute and heaven-made for food lovers, With or Without You is a YA read full of fun and love and all the in between.
I was gifted this book via the Publisher. There was no obligation to post/give this book a certain rating. I remain entirely impartial.
About This Book:
New from Eric Smith comes a delightful YA rom-com about two teens caught in the middle of their families’ orchestrated rivalry between their Philly cheesesteak food trucks.
All’s fair in love and (food truck) war.
Everyone knows Jordan Plazas and Cindy Ortiz hate each other.
According to many viral videos of their public shouting matches, the Plazas and Ortiz families have a well-known food truck rivalry. Jordan and Cindy have spent all of high school making cheesesteaks and slinging insults at each other across their shared Philadelphia street.
But the truth? They’re in love, and it’s all just an act for the tourists.
When the fake feud lands them a reality tv show pilot, Jordan and Cindy find themselves having to lie on a much bigger scale. Trapped between pursuing their dreams or their love, can they find a way to have their cheesesteak and eat it too?
Being my first official (sort of?) read of the year, I had high hopes for this book. Although I started it in 2023 and finished it in 2024, I would still count it as the staple first read of the year that sets the tone, so I knew a lot of expectations weighed on what I thought of Eric’s book, which is my first I’ve read by him!
Everyone in town knows that Jordan Plazas and Cindy Ortiz hate each other, a rivalry that spans from their families’ competing (and delicious) food trucks in Philadelphia. Only, that’s not really true. Well, the rivalry is, but not the hatred between Jordan and Cindy—in fact, they’re in love. They do a good job of convincing their customers that they truly loathe one another through posted videos online and spats on the street they work on, a tactic that seems to get attention and people flowing to their trucks all day.
But when their famously fake feud gets them a reality TV show opportunity and more attention than they ever could have dreamed up, it’s suddenly much harder to lie on such a bigger platform. Cindy and Jordan find themselves in a tangled web of lies that threatens their relationship and reputations, especially their families, leaving them to wonder what they actually want. Reality TV fan Cindy thought she knew what she was expecting when the offer came along, but seeing the hardships and darker side of it leaves a bitter taste in her mouth, and the stress eats at Jordan through the divide the show carves out between the Plazas and Ortiz that he and Cindy had fused together with their relationship, leaving them wondering how far they will go along with the TV shows narratives.
Overall, With or Without You was wholesome, cute and heaven-made for food lovers. Told in alternating POVs let me get to know Jordan and Cindy as individuals and get to know their hearts, and I definitely felt more of a connection with Jordan. I didn’t really get along with Cindy’s POV very much and had some trouble understanding some of her actions. Despite that, I loved the setting, and Eric’s writing leaves you wanting to read more and more. I can see myself picking up another book by him very soon. Book lovers, With or Without You is a YA read full of fun and love and all the in between that you will adore!
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