TWEET CUTE - by Emma Lord

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Published: January 2020 - Wednesday Books.
Genre: Young adult / romance / contemporary.
Pages: 336.
Triggers/Content Advisory: N.A.
Format: eARC.
Source: Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts are my own. 

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.

YA contemporaries aren't usually my thing, but my friend Ruby told me about this book and encouraged me to read it. I'm happy I did.

The best thing about this book is the writing. It is so witty, so smart, and the dry humour is woven seamlessly into the narrative. For example, there's this line spoken by a twin: "There's nothing quite as awkward as living in a shadow that is quite literally the same shape as yours." There are so many throwaway lines like that one; specific, clever, and effortlessly funny.

Another great thing is the dialogue. The banter between the characters is organic and realistic, and nothing - absolutely nothing - about this prose feels contrived or stilted. The characters speak like real people and it's still entertaining.

I've read many YA contemporaries where pop culture references are thrown in unnecessarily or come across irritating and unnatural. You get so many YA novels where the authors try too hard to sound like teenagers or portray what they believe is a teenage life or perspective. But in this book, the author shows how to do it right. While a huge of the plot is obviously the Twitter battle between Pepper and Jack, nothing about this (or any other pop culture, social media aspect of the story) is forced or cheesy. It isn't overdramatised. It exists, and that's it. It's a part of the characters' lives, and the author doesn't remind us of it every sentence. Nor does she zero in on "teenage drama" for the sake of drama; these teens' lives are seamlessly, realistically, woven into the plot. This feels like real life - like these are real people - and the characters don't mention popular music or celebrities every few sentences. The author isn't trying to prove they're teenagers, nor is she misinterpreting that stage in our lives. She's just telling their stories, which happen to occasionally - and inevitably - mention pop culture or some "contemporary" topic.

It's refreshing to read a YA contemporary that's not only more complicated, layered, and unique than others of the genre, but is also exceptionally well written and realistic.

  It's weird, how you have no idea how far you've come until suddenly you can't find the way back.   

The plot is incredibly layered, which I loved but didn't expect from a rom com. After just a few pages, you get the complexity and intricacies of these characters and their stories as subplots abound, complications ensue, real life unfolds in relatable and nuanced directions, and there aren't clear-cut, predictable quick fixes to anything. It's smart. It's unique.

I also love the social media aspect that's the main plot of the book. As someone who wants to go into social media management and copyrighting, I found this aspect of the novel fascinating and exciting.

The characters are beautifully written. I easily fell in love with Jack and Pepper. Their relationship grows so naturally and gently, their interactions go from adorable to swoony to heartbreaking, and I loved watching them navigate their own individual journeys whilst falling in love with each other. They act like real teenagers and they're intensely relatable, too. 

Family and friendship are also a special part of this book. Jack and Pepper are both dealing with pressure from their parents, estranged relationships, and sibling conflict, and these subplots play a big role in the novel overall. We see their families learn and talk and start to heal. We see friendships build and siblings come together. This book isn't solely a romance - it's a novel that deals with love and relationships in all their different forms. I enjoyed that. 

Smart, original, and utterly romantic, Tweet Cute is everything it sounds and more. 
This rom-com is pure goodness right to the core. 

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