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.
Tweet Cute is a one of those books that you read and go ‘That was cute’. I didn’t really have anything to say about it except that I like it. But that’s not how reviews work, do they? So, here goes nothing.
This is a very cute and modern take on “You’ve got mail” (a movie I love) where the main characters Jack and Pepper exchange texts in an anonymous messaging app for their school. They also feud on twitter through their family business accounts. Both Pepper and Jack’s families own food joints. Except, Pepper’s mother has turned it into a corporate franchise while Jack’s family has still kept the foodplace his grandparents started a small family affair. Ring a bell? There is a lot of cuteness, with misunderstandings, angst and family drama.
There were many layers to the story. Both Pepper and Jack have their own demons to fight. At a young age, Pepper has not only had to deal with her parent’s divorce but also uprooting her life when her mother decided to move from Nashville with her to New York to expand the family business. As a result, Pepper is somewhat serious and upright. She has no friends to speak for. Jack, on the other hand, appears cheerful and cocksure. But even he has issues of his own, with a twin brother Ethan who’s much more popular and ambitious than he. They both have low opinions of each other.
Almost every character had some part to play. Pepper and Jack are likeable characters. Their problems are relatable. Pepper is non-confrontational. She is a worrier and the peace-keeper in the family, especially since her college-going elder sister is not on good terms with their mother. So Pepper takes everything upon herself and wants to keep her mother proud and happy. Even if her mother’s decisions go against her judgements.
Jack on the other hand, is overshadowed by his brother at everything. While he has great app developing skills – having himself created the app where he anonymously exchanges texts with Pepper – he keeps it hidden. His parents expect him to stay back and continue the family legacy while Ethan can go do whatever he wants. So he keeps his dreams on the down-low.
I really liked the realistic portrayal of both sets of parents. While we don’t see much of Pepper’s father but the mother plays a huge role. She’s sort of the unintended villain for much of the book, with her over-the-top competitiveness – the reason for which is later explained. Neither she nor Jack’s parents are perfect parents. And that makes them more believable.
I also loved the sibling equations in the book. Particularly he competitiveness and insecurities between Ethan and Jack appealed to me a lot. It was very realistic and sort of hilarious in hindsight.
Emma Lord has done an exemplary job on her debut. The writing is engaging and effortless. It’s really difficult to keep a conflict interesting while keeping characters realistic in fiction. I think what she did well was not make any of the characters stereotypical, and yet kept them believable. I felt like these were real people. The plot is also tight. Every little action is given a reason. There are no loopholes.
The only complaint I have with the writing is that I was not very invested on the romance. I liked the characters individually and together as friends. But the romance part of it felt slightly lackluster. I would have liked a little more time spent on introspection from the characters after they find the other’s identity. And this is the only reason I am subtracting one star.
Altogether, a strong debut from the author. We need more YAs like this. And when you are invested so much on the characters’ personal growth, a less than satisfactory romance doesn’t really leave that big of a hole in your overall satisfaction with the book.