By: Emma Lord
Publication: January 21st 2020 by Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.
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.
Because the cover is the first thing any of us see when trying to determine which books we're interested in reading, I've got to say that I hate this illustrated cover-trend that we're seeing. I don't even fully know how to describe it. But I hate it! Cover creators...please hear me. I hate this trend. I guess I'm one of the only ones who feel this way, but as it's my first impression of a book, I ALMOST didn't even look at the description of Tweet Cute because of the cover.
However, I am so glad that I did go ahead and read the description because Tweet Cute will probably end up being a favorite of 2019 for me (even though it doesn't publish until 2020). Once I got past the cover, I still wondered if I would like the Twitter war aspect because I really don't do Twitter. I mean I have my blog rigged to tweet automatically, but I'm not active on that social media platform. Yet I'm familiar with accounts like Wendy's which I find hilarious when I come across some of their tweets. I am so glad that I ended up choosing to read Tweet Cute despite all of my initial worries. This book was just about everything I'm looking for.
I feel like there's a theme here, but I also wondered if I would struggle with connecting to Pepper. In some ways, I'm a perfectionist also. But I don't always enjoy reading about perfectionists. And while Pepper is struggling to stay ahead in a very competitive private school environment, much of what she feels and how she's currently behaving is not exactly her natural inclination. Pepper basically feels a lot of pressure on all sides. She is in a relatively new (to her) school with classmates she doesn't really know. Her mother and sister have had a falling out as her sister seems to blame her mother for their parents' divorce. So Pepper feels a lot of pressure to keep the peace between both her sister and her mother so that she doesn't end up estranged from either of them. And then there's trying to compete to get into an ivy league school.
Jack was so easy to connect with. He's the less popular twin. Everyone always seems to mistake him for his brother or at the very least be disappointed when they realize he's not his brother. He feels stuck like his parents just expect him to stick around home and work at the family deli. His loyalty to his family was heartwarming even if he feels a bit overlooked and unappreciated.
Another misconception I had was that the description seems to indicate that Jack and Pepper also don't know the other is behind the twitter profiles they're at war with. Pepper never wanted to be behind the Big League Burger twitter account. Her mom just pushed her into it because she's too snarky. Jack volunteered even though his dad told him not to because he felt a sense of duty since Grandma Belly's grilled cheese sandwich recipe had obviously been stolen. But the truth of the matter is that it doesn't take long for these two to find out the other is behind the rival accounts pretty quickly. They decide in person to go head to head on Twitter. And so I appreciated this because it wasn't what I was expecting and they are still anonymous in the chat app that Jack created for the school's student body's use.
Knowing that they're tweeting sassy, smart, sarcastic memes and such to each other puts Jack and Pepper in a lot of flirty situations in real life. And while the description is yet again misleading, Jack and Pepper do connect the most in real life than they do over Twitter or the chat app. Again, this is something that I appreciated.
Tweet Cute hit so many of my Top Ten Favorite Book Tropes that it isn't even funny. However, that does make for one of my favorite books that I've read so far in this entire year. I feel like this review hasn't done this book justice. Look past the cover (if that bothers you as it does me). Look past the perfectionist heroine. Look past any other hang-ups you might have with the description, and pick up this adorable, cute, feel-good book. You won't regret it. This is truly one of only a handful of books I've read this year that I can picture myself actually re-reading. Tweet Cute gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Tweet Cute? What did you think? Let me know!
Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.
"Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” - Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters
"Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist." - Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight
“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” - Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest
Social Links: @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)
“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”
Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”
“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”
Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”
“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”
“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”
The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.
The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.
“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.
“So . . .”
Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.
“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”
“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”
“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”
“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”
“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”
“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”
Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.
I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.
“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”
“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”
Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.
“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”
Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.
Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.
“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.
I raise my eyebrows at her.
“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”
“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”
Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.
“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”
Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—
“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.
I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.
“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”
She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.
I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”