Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’ll admit, after seeing subpar reviews of this anthology from reviewers I trust, I was quite hesitant when I cracked open this book. However, overall, I ended up enjoying these short stories much more than expected! I’ve been pretty disappointed by YA anthologies recently, but Meet Cute definitely surprised me in a good way. My average rating for the stories was 3.5, so I’ve rated the overall anthology 3.5 stars to reflect that (although I rounded up to a 4 stars on Goodreads, because I really did love the stories I enjoyed from this collection).
I appreciated that quite a few stories in this collection featured LGBTQIAP+ rep (although I do reeeeeaaalllly wish there had been some ace rep, considering the premise of the collection), and I also really liked the mix of genres! I was expecting purely contemporary cuteness, but there were quite a few sci-fi/futuristic stories, as well as a bit of fabulism in Dhonielle Clayton’s story. I will say, like all short story collections, this one has its duds… but it also has some definite gems. Many of these, I wouldn’t personally classify as “meet cutes,” and those stories were the ones I tended to like the least. I would have read full-length novels of a couple of these, though! Since it’s hard to talk generally about a short story anthology, let’s get into my thoughts and ratings of the individual stories.
Siege Ettiquette by Katie Cotugno: 1☆ // This collection did not start off on a good note for me. I knew going in that I’m not a fan of Katie Cotugno’s writing, so I didn’t expect to love her story or anything, but seriously? It was kind of a pile of hot garbage. It could not be described as “cute,” or really even as a “meeting,” much less a “meet cute.” The characters had about as much chemistry as two pieces of cardboard, and the second person POV was a weird choice. Ugh. This was by far my least favorite story.
Print Shop by Nina Lacour: 5☆ // In true Nina Lacour fashion, this story turned my quickly-souring feelings on this anthology around. It was an adorable f/f romance aided by social media. The print shop setting was so unique and fun! Love love love.
Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi: 2☆ // This story didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the commentary on race, and the black and fat representation was much-needed, but what even was that “romance”? The “meet cute” was super anticlimactic and, once again, no chemistry.
Click by Katharine McGee: 4☆ // I really enjoyed this one! It’s total romance trope-y goodness, and it’s set in a near future where an app called Click matches people up with the people most compatible for them (kinda like Tinder of the future). It also made me think, which I didn’t expect!
The Intern by Sara Shepard: 2.5☆ // I didn’t have any issues with this story, but I also can hardly remember anything about it, so take from that what you will. I’ve definitely read/watched stories that use this same premise that are executed better.
Somewhere That’s Green by Meredith Russo: 4☆ // Yaaaaay for trans and lesbian rep! I liked the school musical element to this one, and there were some great discussions on things like anti-trans bathroom legislation. Super cute f/f romance.
The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton: 3☆ // I think the premise of this story is much better suited to a full-length novel. I love Dhonielle Clayton’s writing, and the fabulist elements were incorporated in an interesting way, but I wanted more. I didn’t get enough closure from just a short story.
Oomph by Emery Lord: 5☆ // MY FAVORITE STORY. But, like, who’s surprised? Emery Lord is my queen. This is the cutest f/f meet cute that takes place in an airport. Plus, it ends with an Avett Brothers reference. GOODBYE WORLD THIS WAS SO GOOD. *cries because I wanna have a meet cute with a cute girl in an airport*
The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout: 4.5☆ // This story was total wish fulfillment for all the bookworms who will pick up this anthology, and I don’t even care. It was cheesy and formulaic as hell, but I ate it up and would read a hundred more stories with this premise.
The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies: 5☆ // An NYC subway romance! With a girl mathematician as the protagonist! It was adorable and I loved it!
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan: 4☆ // I reeaaaalllly liked this one. Again, I would love a full-length book based on this story. We got some much-needed representation of a guy protagonist who has social anxiety, and this romance felt totally believable to me. Also, this was definitely the most bittersweet story in the anthology, which I am always a sucker for.
Something Real by Julie Murphy: 4☆ // So cute!! An f/f romance where two girls compete on a reality show to win a date with a famous guy singer, but end up falling for each other instead? Yes, please. More queer stories like this.
Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick: 2☆ // This story was just okay. Again, the second person POV felt like a strange, unnecessary choice, and the premise was waaaaaay too melodramatic for my taste.
The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon: 3☆ // A solid story, but my least favorite of the three futuristic stories in this anthology. Again, this would work better as a full-length book, maybe. The world building was great; I just didn’t feel a ton of chemistry between the main characters.
Have you read Meet Cute? If so, which story was your favorite? If not, do you plan to read it?