Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.
Ok, so there’s pretty much one reason why I decided to pick up this book and I’m sure we can all guess what that reason is: Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’m bound and determined to read all of her books this year and this one is absolutely included. Even though I’m just getting off of Armentrout April, which I had so much fun doing, I managed to finish this book on the very last day of April and got it in (and we’ll just ignore me doing this review on May 4th). While JLA is definitely the reason that I grabbed this book, I also like to have a cute fluffy contemporary hanging around for when I’m done books that are either super serious or fantasy filled so this was good to have on hand. It’s definitely a nice light read but it’s not the best book I’ve ever read. There were some stories that I absolutely loved and others that I either felt borderline indifferent with or just downright hated. I think because this is an anthology rather than a full fledged novel this will feel more like a mini review but we’ll see what happens.
- Honestly, I think the best thing that this book has going for it is the fact that it can open your world to new authors you haven’t read before or had every intention of reading but never got around to. I knew of a few authors that were included here, obviously JLA and Sara Shepard because I’ve read them before, but pretty much all of the other authors were a complete mystery to me. I know that after this book I really want to go out and find other books by some of the authors that I enjoyed, such and Katharine McGee and Dhonielle Clayton because this little sample of writing was so great. And there’s also some authors that I know I don’t want to read ever again because once was enough, which I’ll get into in my bad points. I think that’s what so good about anthologies; it’s that there’s bound to be an author for everybody and while you might come in for one author you can come out wanting to look up another. It can lead you in so many directions and there’s something for everyone.
- The biggest thing about this book to me is how diverse it is and that’s so unbelievably hard to find in YA, even though it has been getting better in the last couple years. But I think what’s so wonderful about this here is that it provided all these adorable meet cute stories for all these diverse groups and gave representation to different races and sexualities and showed them that they can have the typical cute romances and that they deserve them too, and that they deserve to be represented in this way. Even if I didn’t like the story of whoever was being represented I can still appreciate that it’s giving a voice to those people and love what it’s doing overall. I’m glad that this book gave authors an opportunity to create these stories and put the spotlight on those who really need it.
- I want to quickly talk about my favourite stories just for the sake of pointing them out. Obviously I loved JLA’s story because she’s why I read this book but it was the kind of characters and meet cute that I’m drawn to and what I can relate to, I suppose. But it also had the same writing style that I love and adore and it’s a story that I really loved. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed Katharine McGee’s writing because her story was just bursting with chemistry and cuteness. It was also an interesting “futuristic” setting even if it’s only 4 years away, but I liked the slight evolution of technology and how it was used. It also had a tiny adventurous vibe to it which made it more exciting and I loved the twist at the end. Dhonielle Clayton’s story was so beautiful and I loved that it felt like a fantasy world kind of story and the take on the idea of soulmates was so interesting. I think it’s hard to explain the story but when you read it you get its beauty. I keep forgetting to mention Emery Lord’s story, which is weird because I really liked it, but it was so adorable and funny and the chemistry felt so organic. I think if I had to pick my favourites it’d be these four stories and I’d love to find more from these authors.
- There were certain stories in this book that just did not click for me. Two of them felt overly ambitious to me and it seemed like what they were writing for this anthology would’ve been better suited for something like a complete standalone or even their own extended novella. The two that for sure come to mind are Meredith Russo’s and Ibi Zoboi’s stories. I think the authors had amazing intentions with their stories and I applaud them for putting the spotlight on issues like a transgender girl and a black family, but it didn’t suit this particular anthology. Honestly, in my opinion, these authors spent too much time focusing on the issues they were addressing and it took too much away from the meet cute purpose. Like by the end of them, I didn’t understand why it’s included in a book about meet cutes when they played very little roles in them. Their stories felt unfinished to me and out of place with the rest of the stories’ meet cutes.
- The other stories I did not like in this book were because of odd narrative styles. There were three stories, written by Nina LaCour, Katie Cotugno, and Huntley Fitzpatrick, that featured second person narrative and it really irritated me. I don’t like those kind of narratives because it’s forcing you to self insert yourself into the story and then when the author has the opposing character refer to you as the character’s name, you become even more disassociated. I just don’t know why we needed to do this and if I’m being honest, these stories weren’t even that great. LaCour’s was probably the best out of this bunch because the second person narrative was only used in the beginning and end and it wasn’t a bad story, but it lost me a bit because of the style. Fitzpatrick’s and Cotugno’s, on the other hand, were just bad. Neither had any chemistry and didn’t feel like it was a meeting “that was meant to be” like the others. They were really messy stories and I can’t imagine anyone actually liking them. I don’t need to read any more from them, thanks.
- Interestingly enough, even though there was a lot of representation here, there weren’t any relationships featuring two boys. There were at least three stories that focused on two girls, which were absolutely fine, but nothing about two boys and I don’t know, I found that really odd. If we’re getting all this representation and diversity, don’t you think at least one of these stories should’ve focused on a love story between boys? I loved the diversity but it felt incomplete to me.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- The titles of this book says it all: this is one cute book. It has a wide range of stories from so many different authors that there is guaranteed to be at least one story for everyone. Not only that, but it shines a spotlight on people that deserve representation and to see themselves in such adorable love stories. It’s a book that’ll cheer you up if you need it and give you all the warm and fuzzies. And hey, you might get a new favourite author out of this anthology.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined To Meet
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, Jocelyn Davies, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Nina LaCour, Emery Lord, Katharine McGee, Kass Morgan, Meredith Russo, Sara Shepard, Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi, Julie Murphy
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Until next time,
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