Author: Emma Lord
Rating: 4 stars
Dates read: 09 Jan 20 – 13 Jan 20
Publication date: 21 Jan 20
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Romance
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.
*I received a copy of this book courtesy of St Martin’s Press as part of their Tweet Cute Blog Tour*
Where to begin with this scrumptiously adorable little read? Emma Lord has definitely smashed it out of the park with her debut novel, full of fun, and sass, and genuine relationships, and beyond cruel descriptions of the most hunger inducing and mouth watering desserts (seriously, the book should come with a warning and free cake!). The novel lives up to it’s sweet moniker and was delightful, fast-paced, and a pleasant break from an unpleasant world.
Set in fast-paced New York, Pepper and Jack are acquaintances from a fancy up-scale Public School who work, swim, and dive hard in the day, and produce all the sass and delicious baked goods for their respective family eateries by night. Pepper is the daughter of Big League Burger’s founders, and is relied upon for the corporate twitter ‘burns’ that get the fourth biggest burger joint nationally it’s name. Jack is the grandson of Grandma Belly, the inventor of the world’s greatest grilled cheese (*arguably) and found of Girl Cheesing, a small family run Upper-East Side sandwich shop. The two companies, and so the two teens, become embroiled in a bitter twitter feud about he authenticity of grilled cheese recipes, that spills over into real-life for everyone involved.
It is clear from the outset that Pepper and Jack will move from acquaintances to friends, and most likely into a romantic relationship. I think it was a smart move on Lord’s part to embrace this rather than shy away from it, as the resulting relationship that blooms between them and between side characters as a result feels both genuine and warming as a result. Pepper is fiercely driven, and while she is good at the twitter burns her move expects her to deliver and is a wickedly good swimmer and baker, she is funny, charming, intelligent, and enjoys spending time with people who share similar vibes and passions. Enter Jack, who loves computer programming and helping in the family business but wants to prioritise the first while being shoe-horned into the second. A talented member of the dive squad, inventor of the school’s mysterious social media platform Weazel, and identical twin, he embraces Pepper’s talents and intelligence and enjoys being recognised for himself and his thoughts by someone he really likes.
The book itself is told in a normal linear narrative that tracks the relationship from the two characters, from their different points of view as they interact with each other and their significant others throughout the story, however, underpinning this is the reliance the book has on food and social media. Whether twitter, or mentions of Tumblr, online webzines or tailor made secretive apps that allow school kids to talk anonymously until it randomly reveals their identities, it is clear that the author both has a great grasp of and enjoys using and interacting on social media. Both food and social media are seamlessly woven into the narrative to create an extra layer that is often missing in other stories, and it both relies on and needs the interactions that take place as a result of them. The social media personalities are different sides of the characters, and instead of creating new personas and being completely different people, you can see and feel the character voices in what they post, and see how it forms a more rounded view of one another as a result. Food is used similarly to cross divides and as an extension of self expression for both the protagonists and their families and it is a great and uniquely finished concept within the YA contemporary books I have read.
The book itself was a treat. It was sugary and cutesy and of a gossip girl meets Great British Bake Off mould that will appeal to younger audiences for sure, and old audiences looking to read something light and fluffy. The book never pretends to be something that it is not, and Emma Lord has delivered an enjoyable read, that while not twisty, turny, or unexpected in anyway, felt like a lovely slice of calm and humour. I’d whole-heartedly recommend the book, and found it has left me with an urge to bake and swim again, a pleasant side effect when finishing any book I’d say!
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.