Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. **This review is spoiler-free.**
Summary: Pepper, a high-achieving senior, is the princess of the Big League Burger franchise. Her parents the owners are rolling out a new grilled cheese sandwich and tap Pepper to help with their Twitter presence.
Her classmate and nemesis Jack comes from a small family deli in Brooklyn. He helps with the family business, too — including their social media. When Big League Burger’s new grilled cheese recipe seems to have been stolen from Jack’s family’s deli, he fires the first shot across Twitter. A tweet war begins.
As the two duke it out publicly on Twitter, they are also unknowingly chatting with each other — and falling for each other — on an anonymous app that Jack built. Will they figure out that their spicy memes are the witty repartees of two people flirting?
Okay, this was really cute. A bit cheesy, but cute. Take You’ve Got Mail but make the bookstores into sandwich shops and add teenaged drama, and you’ve got Tweet Cute. I always love this trope of public enemies / private lovers, and this book didn’t disappoint in that regard.
Much like the Grandma’s Special sandwich, this has a lot of layers. Pepper is dealing with her parents’ divorce and her sister’s absence after she’s gone off to college. She’s also stressed with college applications, homework, and balancing the corporate-owned Twitter account (because the person Pepper’s parents have hired has no idea how to do her job). On top of all of that, she’s chatting with an anonymous student that goes by the moniker Wolf, with whom she’s catching feelings.
Jack has his own issues: feeling like the “stupid twin” in the shadow of his golden-brother Ethan, he feels like he’s destined to inherit his parents’ deli because that’s all he’s good for. He created this app for students to chat anonymously among each other, and is sort of feeling things for someone named Bluebird, but he’s also kinda attracted to the snarky, scholastic swimmer Pepper that he likes to torment so much. And he’s pissed that this Big League Burger seems to have bitten his family’s sandwich recipe!
But also! This story has a lot to do with social media, its presence in our everyday lives, and how it affects youths of today. The tweet war leads to other hits that highlight Pepper and Jack, like Youtubers condensing what’s going on with #CheeseGate, a foodie website moderating a tweet contest, and photos of the main characters going viral. It made me really glad I didn’t go to high school when social media was a thing.
It’s a touch long. The drama drags out. Will they or won’t they? Obstacle after obstacle are hurled at our heros. A few side plots were sewn up a little quickly. It’s not a story that takes itself too seriously, and it does very little with diversity (I think one friend, Pooja, is a person of color, and Jack’s twin Ethan is gay, but the rest of the cast is straight and white). But ultimately, this was a cute romcom that I think people will hunger for. Four stars.