Hello and happy Wednesday. I can tell someone out there is taking me more seriously as a book reviewer because I actually got asked to review today’s book. Not just that, but it’s part of a blog tour or something like that. As always, I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for this opportunity. By the way, if you’re a regular here, this book does not fit the theme of titles I’m reading for January; I simply decided the post the review today because the book was released yesterday.
I read Tweet Cute by Emma Lord between November 11th and November 17th, 2019 and gave it three stars. Let me tell you, I was honestly kind of scared to read this because it was so hyped I really wanted to genuinely like it. Based on my rating alone you can draw your own conclusions, but I’d like you to keep reading so that I can explain where the rating came from.
Most of the young adult books I currently read are backlisted titles, so when I read them I consider the fact that they were published years ago. Tweet Cute, though, is a 2020 release, so it is a current take into young adult romance. My expectations, of course, were high, since I think readers have become more critical throughout the years and expect their books to portray healthy romances, realistic characters, and to subvert tropes that are straight-up wrong. What I found, however, was a cookie-cutter story, at least at the beginning.
I’m going to say this now so that it doesn’t lead to confusion or eye rolls on your part: I know this is a re-telling of You’ve Got Mail, but I haven’t watched the movie (gasp) and I believe that, as an original piece of literature, it should stand on its own, so the comparison to the movie is unnecessary to me. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll proceed to explain why I thought it was cookie-cutter.
You know a story is going to be predictable when the love interest is introduced in the first few pages of the story. In the case of this novel, our quirky main character with a silly nickname mentions her nemesis on page two, which led me to believe that this would be an enemies-to-lovers kind of story. Now, I must be fair to the novel and say it sort of was but it sort of wasn’t. Yes, there was rivalry, but the characters weren’t really enemies, more like the guy used to tease the girl and she got annoyed, but then they become friends.
This review is probably all over the place but so was the novel, so I feel like I must go back and forth when sharing my thoughts. The story is told from the perspective of Pepper, the female main character, and Jack, the male main character. Like I said, Jack sort of teases Pepper at school and she can’t stand him, but that’s at the very beginning of the book. On top of that, both Jack and Pepper’s families have food businesses: Jack’s family owns a deli that’s pretty much a staple in their neighborhood, and Pepper’s family owns a fast-food chain. Pepper is often in charge of the restaurant’s Twitter account, and she’s also into blogging. Judging by this information, and the title alone, we know that there’s going to be an online romance.
Although in theory, I like elements that are present in this novel, like the dual perspectives or the potential online romance, I felt that the chapters were too long, the perspectives weren’t really alternated in a way that made sense, and the romance was just one more plot device from a list of random events and situations presented by the author. It was just too much for a book that was supposed to be cute and lighthearted.
There was also a potential love triangle, which again, was introduced very early on. In a way, I feel like the author just handed the reader a bunch of drama that was going to be developed and resolved throughout the story, instead of introducing it as the plot progressed. We got all these things: Pepper’s grades, a Twitter feud between Pepper and Jack’s families, something about the swim team, Pepper and Jack’s online relationship and the fact that they didn’t know they were corresponding with each other…it wasn’t overwhelming but it was all over the place.
One thing that I noticed and despised was the fact that whenever a same-sex couple was mentioned, the only thing they were doing was making out. Even the people talking about them said that the only thing they did was making out. Ethan, Jack’s brother, had a boyfriend, and all the conversations regarding Ethan went like this: “Where’s Ethan?” “I don’t know, probably sucking face with his boyfriend.” It was okay the first time, but I noticed a pattern and I think it completely defeated the purpose of making this a diverse book.
I liked Jack way more than I liked Pepper, and I’ll acknowledge that as a me-problem. However, I think both characters were unrealistically portrayed when it came to their pop culture references. I found it odd, for example, that Jack talked about High School Musical, not because he’s a guy, but because that’s a movie that was relevant to people from my generation, people who are at least eight years older than Jack and Pepper.
When you get past all the initial drama that is thrown at you, the story actually becomes enjoyable. I totally rooted for both characters and I think their relationship involved from kind of enemies to friends to a couple. I must say, though, that it takes so long for them to be “something else” that at times I thought I would’ve been just as happy if they ended up as friends or maybe the story ended with the possibility of more.
Overall, I’d make this story 100 pages shorter. I think there was too much drama added towards the end when everything seems to be resolved. This story made the same mistake as Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, in which the characters are completely unaware that they are talking to each other online. I found this even harder to believe in Tweet Cute since they’re actually getting closer in real life. I feel like that’s an indication that they don’t really know each other if they can’t even deduce from the texts they’ve been exchanging that they are talking to the other person. I don’t know. I just feel that I’d know who my man is even if he had a lame username.
The whole miscommunication drama towards the end was absolutely unnecessary. I was finally enjoying my reading experience and all the conflicts were being resolved nicely, and then that happened. I could’ve totally done without it.
Do you have any cute online romance recommendations for me? Tell me about them in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila