This is the second review in my ‘Buzzfeed Recommends Series’ where I read and review all the books Buzzfeed recommended in their article: ’15 Brand-New Young Adult Novels That Are Just So, So, Good’. You can read the summary for that here.
‘Tweet Cute’ by Emma Lord focuses on two teenagers engaging in a viral twitter war each representing their parent’s business, as they become friends and get closer in real life. I believe this is Emma Lord’s debut novel and currently has an average rating of 4.08 on Goodreads.
“It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find the way back.”
This book was unfortunately a disappointment for me. Out of all the romances mentioned in the Buzzfeed article this was the one I was most looking forward to, and it just wasn’t as cute and sweet as I thought it would be. I think the premise is a great idea and the idea of two twitter rivals falling in love is the kind of trashy trope I’m all for – but this just felt a little lacklustre for me. I found the characters to be forgettable and the big reveal as to why Pepper’s mum pushed her to risk not only her reputation but also the company’s online just didn’t make sense to me.
Pepper is a high school student whose sacrificed her social life to be the best at school, and she’s created this pressure for herself by competing in private school with other’s and also from her family’s strained relationship. I really enjoyed that aspect to her character, as it’s something a lot of young people or teenagers could relate to. However, I think my problem with Pepper was that she was so dull. For someone who is able to create baking creations that are meant to be wacky and brilliant, she’s so basic. I just can’t see how someone who is that creative isn’t creative in other areas of their lives, she’s really bland in other aspects of her life and it’s strange, it just doesn’t seem to work as a character concept.
Jack is also struggling with family pressure but from a different perspective, he feels the weight of being destined to take on a family-owned business, whilst also feeling like his family doesn’t see him. I thought Jack was a far more interesting character than Pepper and so I enjoyed the chapters from his perspective more. The issue with Jack however, is most of his problems were caused by a lack of communication with other people, and I understand because teenagers aren’t always good at communicating with people, but he’s bad at communicating with everyone all the time and it drove me a little mad. Miscommunication was just used as a plot device with Jack too often.
The romance between the two of them was nice, but that’s all it was. For a book that centres on romance I personally think you need more than ‘nice’ to really propel the story forwards. However, it’s definitely not the worst romantic relationship I’ve ever read and was one of the better parts of the book and was sweet at times – I just don’t know if I’ll remember it.
The plot was kinda boring for this, I find myself loosing interest in what was going on. It all centred around a twitter war that was going strong for a few chapters and then disappeared and then came back again. I’m not even sure I can point out any major plot points in this book for you other than what started the twitter war and the big ‘reveal’ at the end – that’s not great. It would have been fine if the characters had been stronger and were able to drive the story forwards on their own, but they weren’t strong enough for that.
The other problem with this was the big ‘reveal’ at the end of the novel. It was meant to expose Pepper’s mother’s motivations in pushing her daughter into a toxic twitter war online, but it made little sense to me. It was revealed that Jack’s dad and Pepper’s mum dated at one point and broke up when Jack’s dad cheated on her, and then he kept some of the recipes she created in his shop until Jack’s grandmother forced him to remove them. This is a nice bit of backstory and does explain the animosity between the two families, but it doesn’t explain why Pepper’s mum, a CEO of a corporate food chain, would risk her company’s or daughter’s reputation to get revenge, or why anyone in her company would let her. Perhaps I’m being a little picky, but I was expecting something bigger than that, it felt too petty to be a true motivator.
One of the good aspects of this novel was the exploration of family pressure on teenager’s lives through Pepper and Jack. In Pepper this created an almost anxiety and desperation to please and seem perfect with good grades, plenty of extra-curricular activities and applications to good colleges. With Jack this manifested as him hiding what he enjoyed and was good at from his family, and caused mounting tension and confusion in him and his twin’s brother relationship. It was well explored and both Pepper and Jack confronted their families over the issues, and it was expressed well. Lord did a good job in this aspect.
Overall, I think my biggest problem with this is a I find it to be boring at times. I wasn’t always entertained by the characters or the plot and some parts really dragged. I’m afraid the humour also wasn’t for me and there were too many pop culture references for me to feel comfortable. It’s disappointing because I’d love to rate this higher, but it’s just not for me.
I would recommend this is you’re strongly into YA romance books, but if you’re not or if you’re only mildly interested in YA romances this may not be the romance for you.
‘Buzzfeed Recommends’ so far has only given me an one and a two star read, so I’m not feeling too hopeful about the rest of the series currently.