Publication Date: 2 January 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Short Story
Meet Cute is a young adult short story collection by fourteen authors. Each story follows the ‘meet cute’ trope. I have reviewed each story individually below.
Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno – 3/5 stars
Siege Etiquette is about a popular girl at a party who gets stuck in a bathroom with Wolf, a country boy. The police have showed up at her best friend’s house and she instructs the party-goers to hide. I liked how easy this book was to read, and I did find it to be cute at one point. I guess it was a little bit stereotypical; the main character actually referred to herself as ‘queen bee’. I also am not a fan of second person and in this case it did not seem to be justified.
Print Shop by Nina LaCour – 4/5 stars
The main character in Print Shop, Evie, is starting her new job at a print shop. Although she got the job purely because she thought she wouldn’t be working with computers, she sets her annoyance aside and quickly gets to work. I thought this story was enjoyable because the meet cute was original and really kept me interested. I liked reading about someone starting a new professional job because that is very rare and strange for YA. It would have been great to see the love interests interact more but overall it was great.
Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi – 3.5/5
Hourglass follows Cherish, a senior in High School who is disgruntled by the fact she is unable to find a sexy prom dress in her size. She is a curvy and tall black girl with a best friend who can look good in anything. This short story was great to read and I loved that it included a main character who is curvy and tall, which is something many teens will relate to. As the book is about meet cutes, I did expect there to be a bit more romance.
Click by Katherine McGee – 5/5
Click is set in New York in 2020 where a dating app called Click matches compatible couples together. Alexa is paired with Raden, and although she finds them to be incompatible, she is overwhelmed when she realises that she has lost her phone. I loved this story because the concept was unique and the alternate reality seemed really cool. I love New York, so having the two of them run around the city made for a great atmosphere. It was also the kind of meet cute that I have been after this whole. Sidenote: it reminded me of the episode of Black Mirror called “Hang the DJ.”
The Intern by Sara Shepard – 3/5
The Intern is about a girl named Clara working as an intern for a record label company. She is asked to show music star Phineas to a psychic and she is quick to say yes due to her boredom at her summer job. This story was not so bad overall but I found the plot to be a bit contrived. There was the typical cute musician and a girl who gets a great internship just because her father owns the company. I wasn’t very invested in the story.
Somewhere That’s Green by Meredith Russo – 3/5
This short story is about Nia, a trans girl, and Lexie, a religious girl conflicted by other people’s views about Nia. I thought the story had a good premise but it was just written in a strange way. I also thought the romance was unbelievable due to the ignorance by one of the characters.
The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton – 3.5/5
The Way We Love Here is about a girl living on an island where the gods are able to tell each person who they should be with. I really enjoyed the way this story was written and I appreciated the magical realist elements to it. It was a bit confusing for me at times, which could be due to how short it was and there was little room for world-building.
Oomph by Emery Lord – 5/5
Oomph follows Cassidy, a senior visiting her college friend in New York. She makes friends with another girl at the airport and the two keep each other company as their flight gets delayed. This was my favourite story in the collection! I really loved it. The banter between the two girls was funny and it read like a proper meet cute situation. This story could definitely work as a full-length book.
The Dictionary Of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 4/5
In The Dictionary of You and Me, Moss works nights at a library. She is frustrated that someone has not returned an overdue dictionary and calls them weekly to remind them it needs to be returned. This short story was great and again I enjoyed the banter between the two love interests. I thought that the setting of a library was also sweet and the story in general was quite creative.
The Unlikely Likelihood Of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies – 4/5
This story is about a math student who comes up with an experiment involving the cute boy she saw one day on the train. Each morning she goes through different scenarios in determining whether fate exists. I liked that this story was quirky and written in a way that made you not question the realistic nature of the events. The main character was really interesting and I thought it was great that she was so interested in math.
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan – 4/5
In 259 Million Miles, two teens are in the final interview round of moving to Mars. This one had a unique concept and a futuristic setting that I could easily visualise. I thought that the story had intrigue and captured my attention once I understood what was happening.
Something Real by Julie Murphy – 4/5
This story is about a girl named June who is obsessed with a famous popstar, Dylan. She is invited to participate in a reality show to get a date with him. In the beginning, I made a pretend prediction about what I thought might happen, and it actually did! So I was pleasantly surprised by that. This was a really fun story and even though it was a little predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick – 2/5
Say Everything is about a girl who meets a guy while working as a waitress. I disliked this story because it followed the romance formula of a guy forcing himself into helping the girl. I couldn’t relate to the characters and I didn’t really understand her background.
The Department Of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon – 2.5/5
This story is set sometime in the future where a service exists that helps those brokenhearted over past relationships. Enter the main character, Thomas, who is saddened over his breakup. This story had an interesting premise, but ultimately I was bored over the futuristic setting.
Before reading this, I had read books from Jennifer L. Armentrout, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Sara Shepard and Nina LaCour. Now I definitely want to check out full-length works from a few of these authors. This short story collection was really fun to read and I liked that there was so much variety in all of the stories. Some were more heavy on the romance and some put more focus into the overall plot. Many of the settings were in New York and it is my favourite city, so it made it extra fun for me to read. I was also so surprised that there were four LGBTQ+ short stories, which was great.
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