Tweet Cute is a young adult, contemporary novel from Emma Lord. It focuses on two teenagers who “meet” through a couple of different online platforms, bond over a viral Twitter feud about grilled cheese, and start a budding relationship.
If all of that sounds incredibly cheesy and a little bit silly, you’d be right. But does that mean the book isn’t good? Far from it. If you read my Mid-Year Book Tag, you might already know that I really loved this book. It is a witty, fun, rom com that is, honestly, perfect for a beach read.
In typical romcom fashion, Tweet Cute focuses on the budding relationship of two teenagers. You have Pepper who is somewhat new to New York City after growing up in Nashville. Her mother, a fast food chain founder, relies on Pepper’s sarcasm and internet savvy to create tweets for their corporate fast food account. An errant tweet accidentally starts a Twitter war with a local NYC deli, whose Twitter account is run by Jack, one of Pepper’s classmates. As the Twitter feud deepens, so does Pepper and Jack’s relationship.
The plot isn’t anything shocking. It doesn’t subvert any romcom stereotypes, it doesn’t break any molds, it doesn’t offer anything new and exciting to the genre. But I don’t think it needs too. Tweet Cute takes the established romcom tropes and brings such a refreshing, fun story to them that it didn’t lack from being trope-y.
The added internet elements of this story brought a fresh addition to the romcom format. And it didn’t felt forced, which was the biggest surprise. I thought this might read like an adult trying to be a teenager who understands the internet world, but it didn’t seem like that at all. While the focus was always the relationship, the added background of the Twitter feud and the app development aspects really gave this story a depth and kept me engaged.
But no one really reads a romcom for the plot, do they?
We read romcoms for the characters and Tweet Cute did not disappoint.
Let’s start with the backing characters. Pepper and Jack’s parents were deep, motivated, and, although at times incredibly frustrating, felt real. They added enough without distracting from the characters we really cared about. The same can be said for the siblings and the best friends. Although they almost all fit exactly into the romcom tropes I’d expect, at times they broke through that. Jack’s relationship with his twin brother was not at all what I’d expect a romcom twin relationship to be. There was tension, there was competition, there was bitterness between them and that felt so real. I loved it.
I also loved Jack. For a teenager, he had so much on him. Between his family’s historic and failing deli to his tension with his brother and his anxiety over his own future, Jack struggled through a lot in this book. Emma Lord wrote his struggle so well. Jack felt like someone I might actually meet in real life.
Pepper would be only real criticism about this book and it would feel somewhat nit-picky. Pepper was a good character and watching her self-discovery unfold was great. However, most of the time, she felt too perfect. And her only real flaw was that she was too perfect and didn’t know how to handle that. Not only was she top of the class at a prestigious school, but she was the captain of the swim team, a world-class baker with a food blog, and witty enough to start a viral Twitter war. Despite all of that, Emma Lord found a way to make her struggle with her own identity, in the way all teenagers do, but it would have helped me more if there was some flaw she had to work through. I didn’t really see that.
I’m so excited to read more of Emma Lord’s writing. Recently, I’ve read a decent amount of contemporary YA, because that is what I’m writing right now. A lot of YA can feel forced. It can feel like adults trying to pretend they know what it feels like and sounds like to be a modern teenager and it doesn’t work. Granted, I’m an adult. So I don’t even know what it looks/feels/sounds like to be a teenager right now, but even I roll my eyes at some of the books I’ve read.
I never did that with Tweet Cute. Granted, it was cheesy and silly, but it never felt forced. It never felt like Emma Lord was trying to compensate for her lack of social media/internet culture knowledge. She leaned into the culture when she was comfortable and stepped back when she wasn’t. The perfect mix, honestly.
Beyond that, her dialogue, her inner monologues, all of it was perfectly done.
I can’t wait to see what else Emma Lord is going to write.
Listen, Tweet Cute isn’t going to win any Pulitzer Prize’s. No one is going to study it in their college literature class. It isn’t going to change anyone’s opinions on political theory. It isn’t a world-changing, genre-defining, generational novel. It just isn’t. But it doesn’t need to be.
However, it is a really fun, charming, witty, and refreshing read. Tweet Cute is a romcom through and through, but it is a great one. There is so much in this book to keep you engaged and happy. Is it cheesy? Yes. It’s also whimsical and childish and fun. This book is a perfect beach read and I highly recommend it for your summer reading list.
I easily give Tweet Cute a 4 out of 5.