ARC Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 21st 2020
**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not influence my review**

      “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.”

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Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute is just as delightful as its title implies. Pepper Evans is drowning under the weight of school work, her swim captain responsibilities, and pressure from her mother to help with Big League Burger’s Twitter account, their once-small family business. Pepper’s only solace has been her correspondence with “Wolf” a classmate she’s been messaging on an anonymous app for students at her prep school. Unbeknownst to anyone, Jack is the creator of said app and is Pepper’s mysterious penpal, a fact that he himself doesn’t even know. When Big League Burger tweets about a new sandwich that’s way too similar to one that’s been on Jack’s family’s deli menu for years, a Twitter war starts between the two company accounts. When Pepper and Jack end up striking up an unlikely friendship in real life, it’s only a matter of time before truth about their online personas comes out.

Pepper is the very definition of an overachiever. She’s spent the last few years of her life trying to fit into this new world her mother brought her to after the company’s franchise expansion. Her father is still back in Nashville, running the first Big League Burger. Her home life hasn’t been the best; though her parents had an amicable divorce, her older sister, who is off at college, has a rocky relationship with their mom. Pepper has always played peacemaker between the two and as a result hasn’t been able to stand up to her mother herself because she is afraid of ruining their relationship. She’s never developed any lasting relationships in this new place because she’s always felt out of place and fitting in in a superficial kind of way felt easier than finding out where she actually belonged.

Jack has always been the guy who goofs around too much, the guy who doesn’t have a lot of ambition. The truth is he’s been living in his twin’s shadow for so long, it’s always seemed easier to embrace the narrative than counteract it. Even his parents seem to believe that Ethan is meant for bigger and better things. On the other hand, Jack is already stuck behind the family’s deli counter, making him the perfect person to stay behind and take over when the time comes. Jack’s been keeping his passion for app development a secret because why reveal this side of himself when everyone has already made up their minds about who he is? One of the bright spots in his life is his relationship with his grandma, who started Girl Cheesing. She is one of the only people he can really open up to and one that sees him for who he is and not just a less impressive version of his twin.

I love how organic Jack and Pepper’s friendship developed in this one. They are very different people and at first glance, you can’t see how the two would work but they do. Jack breaks through that very small bubble Pepper has made for herself and Pepper is one of the few people that not only sees Jack for who he is, but sees through all the things he’s pretending to be. The storyline, while familiar, never felt like it was too predictable. I expected to get to know both characters more through their online interactions, but was happy to see that the novel focused more on how their relationship developed in real life. I love when contemporaries give us multiple POVs and even more when it’s well done. Tweet Cute‘s dual POV is well-done. The author does a wonderful job of dividing chapters and giving both characters their own worlds and hang ups that it didn’t feel like it was more Pepper or Jack’s story. They each had their own journeys that just happened to converge. Both perspectives and characters were equally engaging and I loved that both had their own lessons to learn apart from each other.

Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute is an adorable, sweet, satisfying contemporary with characters with undeniable likeability and chemistry.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)

Snapshot Review: Analee in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Title: Analee in Real Life
Author: Janelle Milanes
Series: N/A
Pages: 416
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 18th 2018

TW: scene of sexual assault (forced/unwanted kissing)

      “Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.
      Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.
      So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.
      But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?”

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      “Slowly, unexpectedly, Seb links his hand with mine.
      There’s no turning back now. I don’t have to look at anyone to realize the enormity of Seb’s move. There are literally gasps that echo through the hall. I hear his name repeated in whispers, so frequently that they blend together into one long hiss.”

  • Analee – There was so much about Analee that I found relatable. She’s an introvert who finds it easier to share her feelings in a journal than out loud. She’s still dealing with the loss of her mother and how that loss reshaped so many of her other relationships. She has social anxiety and is not comfortable being the center of attention. Analee never refers to herself as fat (which might leave something to be desired when it comes to fat rep), but she calls herself chubby and has self-esteem issues, but I loved her entire journey throughout the novel which focuses on self-love.
  • Analee and Seb – These two are very different from one another, but I loved their dynamic all throughout the novel. I loved that Milanes shows them becoming friends first before exploring anything romantic between the two.
  • Familial relationships – I always love when contemporaries have such a family-focused story and Analee in Real Life is so good at navigating the MC’s relationship with her father, his fiancée, and her soon-to-be stepsister Avery. I loved that none of these relationships remain stagnant, but grow as a result of the MC’s growth.
  • Positive stepmother-stepdaughter relationship – Analee’s evolving relationship with her soon-to-be stepmother, Harlow, was my favorite to read about. Harlow is the complete opposite of Analee’s mother and has changed her dad as a result. And Analee can’t help but resent her for it. For example, Analee can’t help compare Harlow’s vegan meals to her mother’s Cuban cuisines. In the end, the two come to understand each other more.
  • Realistic romantic arcs – The fake dating trope is one of my favorites and although it can be predictable, I just love the tension that seems to underscore these relationships. I don’t want to give too much away, but I love that Milanes writes both Analee and Seb in such a way that they feel flawed and real. They make mistakes and hold themselves back. The ending of the novel felt truly empowering from Analee’s POV because it prioritized where she was in her journey and not necessarily where they were in their relationship.

  • Seb in the beginning – While I ended up really enjoying Seb as a character, the beginning made me pause. I was immediately put off by his dynamic with his ex-girlfriend where he didn’t seem to get the message that she wanted space.
  • Analee and Lily – One of the reasons Analee agrees to fake date Seb is her desire to win back her ex-best friend, Lily. I was disappointed that there were not more scenes between the two of them.


Janelle Milanes’s Analee in Real Life will delight fans of the fake dating trope, but shines brightest with the MC’s personal arc that’s rooted in self-love, bravery, and personal growth.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)

Snapshot Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: With the Fire High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Pages: 392
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 7th 2019

      “From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.
      Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
      Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.”

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“And something special does happen when I’m cooking. It’s like I can imagine a dish in my head and I just know that if I tweak this or mess with that, if I give it my own special brand of sazón, I’ll have made a dish that never existed before.”

  • The writing – It’s no secret that I loved The Poet X. It reintroduced me to poetry and created a thirst for more. Acevedo’s sophomore novel is told in prose and it’s no surprise that her writing is just as poetic. There were times while reading where I had to pause just to appreciate her imagery.
  • Emoni – I really enjoyed Emoni as a character. She has so much love for her daughter and her grandmother. All throughout the story, you can feel her hesitation when it comes to pursuing her dreams. She has responsibilities that have kept her from doing so, but learns that it is herself that has been holding her back for so long. I loved reading about her passion for cooking. It’s an outlet for her emotions and her creativity. Something she is a natural at, but a skill where she still has a lot to learn.
  • Afro-Latinidad – The exploration of what it means to be Afro-Latinx is at the center of who Emoni is. I loved that the MC was so adamant about her identity. Being black and Latinx aren’t mutually exclusive; being black does not subtract from her Latinidad and being Latinx does not subtract from her being black.
  • Teen parenthood – Most books I see about teens with children have to do with teen pregnancy, so it was refreshing to read a book about a teen mother with a toddler.
  • Emphasis on family and friends – Emoni might not have much, but she has an incredible support system, from her best friend Angelica to her abuela. As strong as these relationships are, Emoni doesn’t have the best relationship with her father and feels distant from her mother’s side of the family, but I loved that these relationships end of shifting for the better.
  • Magical realism – Although this one might strictly be called contemporary, Acevedo weaves in elements of magical realism. Emoni’s cooking is said to elicit emotional responses from those who taste it. It’s presented very subtly, but I think that’s one of the reasons I loved it so much.

  • Nothing comes to mind!

  • Elizabeth Acevedo creates another wonderful and very relatable MC in With the Fire on High. Emoni is a character who is both vulnerable and strong and whose successes at the end of the novel feel like your own.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

Snapshot Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Series: N/A
Pages: 296
Publisher: Crown BFYR
Release Date: May 15th 2018

      “Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.
      Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.”

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“As much as I love Bollywood damsels in distress, I don’t need saving. I’m my own hero.”

  • Winnie – It was hard not to admire Winnie’s passion for film and in particular her love for Bollywood films. She’s ambitious and driven. I love reading about characters who know who they are, even when their interests aren’t always mainstream.
  • Bollywood – I’m not all that familiar with Bollywood films, but this book has spark my curiosity. Sharma infuses just enough drama into this novel to make this one fun and I loved that she wasn’t afraid to make Winnie a bit of a drama queen. Also appreciated the pithy Bollywood reviews before each chapter from Winnie’s film blog.
  • Dev – Winnie’s love interest is passionate about film making. Though he isn’t into Bollywood films like Winnie, he sees the importance of them to her. He and Winnie have enough in common that their interactions feel so natural, but are different enough to make things interesting. I loved that Dev was willing to go outside his comfort zone in order to make Winnie smile.
  • Family – I always appreciate contemporaries that keep family involved in the protagonist’s life. Winnie’s family was always there for her and although she often wished they didn’t take such a keen interest in her love life, I found it incredibly sweet and moving.

  • No big complaints for me.

  • If you’re looking for a fun and diverse contemporary, look no further than Nisha Sharma’s My So-Called Bollywood Life which charms with just the right degree of teenage drama.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)