Tweet Cute by Emma Lord delights in the experience of being seen, and of finding your soulmate in the most unlikely of Twitter accounts.
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.
Tweet Cute is a book that took me by surprise. It starts out, as many YA romances do, with the heroine having a cheeky chat with her sister and complaining about her mom during the most stressful time of her life: senior year.
However, Pepper quickly reveals herself as a fully-formed character with dreams, ambitions and flaws. Despite her outlandish life (living in New York City, running the Twitter account of Big League Burger, captain of the swim team, etc.), she feels familiar. She might be you, or she might be me.
Jack, who has always been in Pepper’s peripheral vision, lives above his family-owned deli in the East Village. He’s nice. Genuinely nice, for a teenager. That is, until he gets on Twitter and finds out a certain fast food chain has copied one of the sandwiches at his family’s deli.
As readers can imagine, hijinks ensue.
Pepper and Jack fall in love as three different people. While they unknowingly battle one another on Twitter through their respective business accounts, they also have to work together as captains of the swim and dive teams. And as they grow closer in person, they’re simultaneously falling in love on Weazel, an app where people can chat with their classmates anonymously.
It sounds like a lot. It’s not.
The way the characters talk to one another, both in person and over text, is done so well. It brings them to life. They feel like people who stick together after the last page ends, which is a rare thing in any teen book.
Part of Tweet Cute’s magic is its setting. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from romantic comedies, it’s that the best ones are set in Manhattan. Ask Nora Ephron! There’s something enchanting about finding love in a city of 8.6 million people. The author lives in New York City, and you can tell. Tweet Cute is as much a story about Pepper and Jack as it is about growing up in the city that never sleeps.
The first half of the book has parts that feel more telling than showing, which is the main critique. This is Lord’s first novel, and much like high school, there are some growing pains. However, as the chapters go by, the writing style hits a great rhythm that compliments both the characters and the story as a whole.
By the end of the book, you’ll be grinning like a lovesick dope.