I’m not kidding when I say the second Tweet Cute hit Netgalley that it shot to the top of my Most Anticipated Reads of 2020 List. The premise of this book was just too good not to work, and that all-the-feels claim? Yes, please. This was just too good to pass up!
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: January 21st, 2020
ARC from Netgalley
| Book Review |
Tweet Cute is a Contemporary Young Adult novel by debut author Emma Lord, and my goodness (spoiler alert) did I love it! I read this book almost all in one sitting. Pepper and Jack just stole my heart, and for every second I spent with them, I wanted another. Pepper and her mother and sister moved to New York to grow the family business, and all was going well until a little mom and pop shop accused them of stealing their grilled cheese recipe. But the icing on the cake – the ‘other side’ isn’t just a faceless little hole in the wall place; the business belongs to one of Pepper’s classmates. One she’s just started getting to know. Jack has a knack for getting under Pepper’s skin; it seems from the moment she appeared at their prestigious prep school he starts needling her, and they’ve had a bit of an ‘acquaintance’ rival as a result. But when they’re thrown together because Jack’s picking up the slack for his brother yet again, he can’t help but start to like her.
I loved everything about this story – Pepper and Jack’s rival felt so organic and fun, Pepper’s very first run-in with Pooja and the resulting fallout, their working things out, and especially the families in this book. They were so present, but not obnoxiously so like in some YAs where they’re doling out punishment for silly things or without listening to anything the kids had to say. These parents wanted to know what was going on and wanted the best for their kids. And I enjoyed that so much. Even Pepper’s mother, who, out of all of them, could have listened more, loved her daughters. I do wish she had been more aware of her single-mindedness and what it was doing to her relationships with them, but I understood her motivation and can see how she’d get so wrapped up in in. Pepper and Jack had so much going on in their lives aside from each other. They had so many interests, and I like that even with the obvious right in front of them, they were still struggling about their futures and what to do. There was one scene I especially liked when Pepper called Jack out about hiding, and how even him being loud and drawing attention to himself was a way of hiding. I also liked Pepper’s relationship with her sister; the way she was stuck in the middle between her mother and her sister was an interesting element to the story, and I liked the way it unfolded as the story went on.
Both characters had a lot of growth in this book; Pepper becoming more aware of the fact that things that were happening weren’t just happening to her. Her (sometimes way off base) perception shaped a lot of relationships when what she was seeing was a narrow view, and Jack learning that even with as popular as his identical twin was, Ethan had his own insecurities about being the ‘other’ twin and never measuring up. But while this dealt with some serious issues, there was a light-heartedness to it that I adored.
There was just so much to love about Tweet Cute that I really could go on and on, but I’ll just wrap it up by saying that all of the relationship dynamics in this book were genius and this plot was phenomenal. This is one hell of a debut, and it has me so excited to see what’s next from this author!
| Rating |
| Buy Tweet Cute |
| Excerpt |
“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”
Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”
“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”
Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”
“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”
“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”
The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.
The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.
“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.
“So . . .”
Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.
“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”
“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”
“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”
“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”
“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”
“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”
Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.
I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.
“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”
“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”
Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.
“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”
Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.
Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.
“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.
I raise my eyebrows at her.
“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”
“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”
Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.
“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”
Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—
“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.
I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.
“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”
She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.
I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”
| about the author |
Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.
| early praise for Tweet Cute |
“Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters
“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight
“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest