This is the first time I ever had someone from a publishing house get in touch with me about reviewing a book that I had actually already heard about and was excited to read. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. From the synopsis to the beautiful cover for Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (which hits stores tomorrow, January 21!), I was truly hoping I had the next hugely popular standalone YA novel in my hands…
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming—mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese—that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life—on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate—people on the internet are shipping them?—their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Right off the bat this book reminder me of one of my favourite movies, You’ve Got Mail. You can even tell from the synopsis, so I’m not giving much away in saying that, but I was expecting the plot to trek along a lot like the movie. And it did for a while…but then Lord took it in a completely different direction—and it was definitely for the better!
Pepper and Jack are really the highlight of this book for me. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve read a YA novel where I don’t find at least one of the teenagers insufferable. Like any good enemies-to-friends story (my fave!) the two main characters seem like they live very different lives, but it turns out they have more in common than you can tell from the beginning. What makes this story even deeper is that you see multiple levels of their relationship: the in-person schoolmates, the social-media managers for their parents’ companies, as well as the anonymous relationship on an online platform. It really demonstrates how young people these days have to put different hats on depending on what platform they’re using. Their relationship is a slow-burn, and you can see why they grow in affection for each other, despite a few things trying to pull them apart. It was, dare I say, realistic!
I also enjoy the fact that these teens had (relatively) good relationships with their parents. They have their struggles, like any regular family, but there is no my-mom-is-my-absolute-best-friend-that-I-tell-way-too-much-to or the absentee father who is merely referenced. These families were relatable, even near the end when a twist is revealed.
The food! There are so many recipes that are discussed in this story that I really wish there were some recipe cards at the back of the book. Between some of the delicious sandwiches and all the baked goods, that would probably be one of my biggest criticisms… you can’t just tease us like that!
There are so many other redeeming qualities of this book, but I want you to read the book so you can discover them for yourself. If this is Lord’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what she’s going to bring us in the future. #PepperJack4Eva
“Somehow, over the course of one weekend, I’ve been rejected both by the anonymous friend I’ve been pouring my heart out to for months, and the very real friend I accidentally spilled it out to faster than I ever thought possible.” —Emma Lord, Tweet Cute
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the advanced copy, and to Asnim Asnim on Unsplash for the featured photo of the grilled cheese.