All, Tree

BOOK REVIEW: If the Shoe Fits

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021

TW: parental death (prior to novel; discussed), grief

Since I love reality tv romance and have reviewed both One to Watch (review here) and The Charm Offensive (review here) on this blog I decided that I should also review If the Shoe Fits because I had a lot of thoughts.

Plot: Cindy Woods is a recent design school graduate with a lack of job prospects, so she moves back home to live with her Stepmom, Stepsisters, and half siblings. Her Stepmom produces a popular dating show and when her Stepsisters decide to go on the show and it suggested that Cindy shouldn’t since she is fat, Cindy decides to just go for it.


  • Julie Murphy always has fat rep in her books and the idea of a modern Cinderella retelling with a fat Cinderella is what drew me to this book.
  • I appreciated the conversations about fashion and how fat people are impacted by various aspected of the fashion industry.
  • I’m a sucker for a retelling and this is a pretty loose one, but I still enjoyed the Cinderella vibes.
  • There were quite a few quotes/moments of emotional growth that I really liked and thought were impactful.
  • I LOVED the idea of having the evil stepmom not being a terrible person to Cindy, but instead being a reality TV person who have to be sort of shady to do their job well.
    • TBH I would have liked her to be more evil/impact Cindy more while she was on the show (but this is a pretty light and fluffy book so that did not happen)


  • The romance. I would not call this a romance novel as Cindy and Henry are barely on page together and since we don’t get Henry’s POV I was just like ???? towards him and his emotions the whole book.
  • I had a hard time tracking all the side characters.
  • A lot of the plot lines just felt week and underdeveloped
    • Like Cindy’s sisters have always wanted to go on this show and let they don’t seem to care at all once they are there
    • Since I prefer character driven books I prefer stories that that have fewer plot lines and instead focus on character moments, etc. This is pretty plot heavy and as a result some fall to the wayside.
  • The timing of the show and as a result the book felt way off to me. The Bachelor has a traditional weekly format (that is often messed with) but you know what is happening. Here I had no idea how long it was between balls and girls going home and the dates. 
    • I had no idea how long they were filming for or literally anything related to the show which since this is the WHOLE SETTING I needed to follow the story better. 
    • There also just seemed to be like five episodes?
    • If I’m honest this all could have been mentioned, but IT WAS NOT CLEAR.
  • The whole show didn’t feel like The Bachelor and I know I shouldn’t compare it, but it just did not feel like reality TV even a bit.  
    • Cindy is able to get away with a lot despite the fact she was on a reality TV show that supposedly controlled their environment. On her date with Henry the producers literally said “oh we are just getting B roll and won’t record your convo” LIKE THE BACHELOR WOULD NEVER??? (But, they would say that only to manipulate the audio later
    • Not that I want them to be manipulated etc. but like…reality tv isn’t reality.
    • Cindy also only got interviewed once?

Overall, I would not recommend this one unless you don’t know anything about reality dating shows and want a super fluffy book with some Cinderella vibes and a fat main character. It does seem that I am in the minority as this book is highly rated on Goodreads.

But, if you want a dating show romance that looks at how manipulated reality TV is and is a way better romance, read The Charm Offensive.

xoxo, Tree

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