I don’t read a lot of romance novels. It’s not that I’m opposed to love, only that the tropes of it annoy me for how unrealistic it’s portrayed. But I still read this anthology that was centered on romance, first love, and the whole “meet cute” trope. I knew what I was going into with this book and I didn’t have my hope up too high, which was good because this anthology was very meh. There are some real stinkers in here, a lot of forgettable ones, and a few that actually are wonderful. Mostly though the stories are simple and predictable, which is what I expect from most romance books.
One of my biggest pet peeves about this book was the use of second person narration. It’s a difficult style to use and when done correctly can make for a great story which the three stories that used this narration style didn’t achieve.
What I did enjoy about this anthology was the diversity of it. In terms of race and sexual orientation Meet Cute does a wonderful job of showing the different couples and I feel like the romance genre isn’t as diverse as it should be, so if you’re looking for more diverse romance you’ll enjoy this anthology just for that.
Overall this book wasn’t for me but if you like romance and “meet cutes” you’ll probably like this. Below you’ll find a mini-review of each of the stories in this anthology, so take what you will from that. Also note that my ratings for the stories may have changed from when I first rated them on Goodreads:Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno – 1 star
A girl (or you, since this story is in second person) hides in a bathroom with the weird semi-homeschooled kid at a party while the cops wait outside for the teens to open up. This was one of the weakest stories in the anthology and seriously made me want to give up right away on the whole thing. There’s a weird twist near the end that is shocking but doesn’t really give the impact it wants. The “romance” of this story is also centered around cheating, so not a fan for many reasons.
Print Shop by Nina LaCour – 2 stars
I was most looking forward to this story because I love Nina LaCour but this story was just boring. A girl tells her girlfriend (or you because it’s bookended in second person) how their relationship began. I loved the aesthetic of the print shop but I just didn’t see how this was romantic between the two girls, but maybe I just don’t get romance.
Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi – 5 stars
I loved this story! It made me feel lots of things (mostly anger and hate towards Stacey, which was much deserved) and I loved the protagonist Cherish. This story is more about self-love and body image than romance and dating and I wished more of the stories in this anthology had fun with the idea of love like Zoboi did.
Click by Katharine McGee – 5 stars
This story was written in 2018 and takes place in 2020 where dating apps have been perfected and there is no pandemic, what a world to live in huh? A girl meets up with a guy she matched with on Click, a dating app that uses your digital footprint to find who you’re most compatible with, and realizes she left a very important computer chip in her Uber so now she and the guy must go looking for the car in New York City. This was one of my favourites, a very cute romance that I could easily see as a rom com that I would actually like (and that’s saying something).
The Intern by Sara Shepard – 1 star
Not badly written, just not a good story. An intern at a music label is tasked to bring an up and coming musician to a psychic. From spirituality to grief to wandering around Central Park and pop-up concerts there was just too much going on in this story for it to have any real impact on me.
Somewhere That’s Green by Meredith Russo – 5 stars
Musical theatre, queer love, what’s not to love? A trans girl is fighting for her right to use the girl’s bathroom and her secretly closeted classmate is fighting against her, what will happen when they’re both cast in Little Shop of Horrors and have to interact at a pre-cast party? Russo did an amazing job with the characters of this story and it flowed so smoothly, I wish this were it’s own novel!
The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton – 2 stars
In this world people have bands on their pinky finger and when the bands go away you meet your soul mate, only our protagonist is afraid of love. One day when a boy washes up on the shore they decide to let their bands touch and end up getting a vision of their futures. Not a bad story but it was confusing and it felt like it was trying to do too much in too short a time.
Oomph by Emery Lord – 5 stars
“Natasha Romanoff” and “Peggy Carter” are both waiting for separate flights and end up bonding while doing so. This was another one of my favourites, I adored the characters and really felt their connection and the beginnings of their romance. It was sweet and cute and so enjoying to read.
The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 2 stars
I gave this story brownie points before because 1) it’s set in a library 2) half of it takes place on my birthday and 3) I liked the banter between the two characters. A girl who works at a library has made it her mission to get a patron to return a dictionary after two months as she makes her weekly calls to remind him. It was cute but painfully predictable which is why I can’t rate it higher.
The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies – 2 stars
A girl believes she has fallen in love at first sight after she and a guy lock eyes while their subway cars pass. I think this would make a cute rom com but it was weird to have a character that was so logical put so much blind faith into love at first sight. Easy and fun to read though.
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan – 4 stars
This is the first story with a male protagonist which is kind of weird, right? Also all the male romances in this book were straight but I digress, this story is still up there for favourites. After an embarrassing incident a guy applies to be sent to Mars and is doing a joint interview test with a girl to see how compatible they’d be on the mission. I loved the connection with the two characters and how real this story felt with the main guy’s anxiety.
Something Real by Julie Murphy – 2 stars
A girl who is a huge fan for singer named Dylan is a contestant on a reality show to win a date with him, competing against another girl named Martha. The concept was interesting and it was cute but the couple didn’t have any sparks between them, they really seemed more like gal pals and I really hate using that term unironically.If it was expanded I think it could be a better story.
Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick – 0 stars
I hated this story so much because 1) it was in second person and 2) it was just dumb. I can’t even give a summary because the premise was so weird so I’ll just say this: HOW DO YOU LOSE A CONTACT LENS WHILE KISSING????????????????????
The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon – 2 stars
Interesting world which I think could make for an interesting book but not a great short story. A guy goes to the Department of Dead Love because he knows he and his ex-girlfriend should be together and one of the workers there is looking at his case. I feel like this story was meant to fill readers with hope of love and how it’s worth the risk but the stakes and emotions just weren’t there for me to care about any of it.
Publication: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 314 pages
Source: Gift (Thanks Andrea!)
Genre: Fiction, YA, Romance, LGTBQ+
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤
“Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real. ”