Cover Image: Meet Cute

Meet Cute

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All your favorite young adult authors in one book. I enjoyed most of the short stories.
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Meet Cute is a short story anthology about cute first encounters that turn into romance. There were many different YA authors that I heard or read from.

I tend to steer away from anthologies, because short stories are hit or miss for me. I was surprised to have really enjoyed this one. There were several stories I gave five stars to!

This is a must read for anyone who enjoys contemporary YA romance.
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This had such high points and low points, which is exactly how I feel after every single anthology I read. I think the concept of this whole collection was nice, but I would have liked a couple more stories from male perspectives - and a m/m story perhaps? Don't get me wrong, I loved how many f/f stories were in this, but I think it could have benefited from some other narrators. But let's get into my specific feelings on all 14 stories.

Breakdown of the stories:
Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno - 2/5
A very odd way to start the collection. I think the second person was a bit strange, but I adjusted. However, there was a very cavalier use of cheating that definitely didn't endear me to the characters.

Print Shop by Nina LaCour - 3.5/5
I will always adore Nina's writing. This had a very cute, romance vibe, which is exactly what I was looking for in this collection. It was nice to see a super rom com set up for two girls falling in love (in this instance, falling for each other over Twitter in the midst of customer service frustrations). The POV shift was a bit strange, but still an overall solid story.

Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi - 3/5
I thought this did a great job of tackling issues like body image, coming from a poor family, and college prep, but I felt like the best friend relationship was very lackluster in how it was dealt with. Also, the meet cute itself left me wanting more.

Click by Katharine McGee - 4/5
Such a cute story. I may have been in a particular mood for reading this, considering I had just barely watched the "Don't Hang the DJ" episode of Black Mirror, but I felt like the dating app aspect worked perfectly. Also, a big fan of the split POV. It definitely helped me to know BOTH of the characters more, and to feel more invested in their meet cute.

The Intern by Sara Shepard - 3/5
This was cute, but overall just rushed. I felt like none of the emotional punches were really earned, because I didn't get enough of a chance to know the characters and be impacted by the things they had gone through. The relationship also felt very rushed. 

Somewhere That's Green by Meredith Russo - 4/5
I loved this story, and I love Meredith Russo. This was f/f, and it was also split POV. One of the POV characters was a trans girl, and the other was a closeted lesbian, and they both wind up being cast in their high school production of Little Shop of Horrors. This tackles some huge stuff, especially transphobia, but I thought it did it all beautifully and also managed to fit in a wonderful meet cute. It's possible I was even more charmed by this considering my sister is currently in her school's production of Little Shop, but it is what it is.

The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton - 4/5
This has a really magical vibe and I enjoyed that aspect. I think there is a huge amount of skill involved in worldbuilding within a short story, which Dhonielle absolutely pulled off. This covers years and years of a relationship, and it doesn't feel rushed or forced in any way, which is so impressive. 

Oomph by Emery Lord - 5/5
CLEARLY my favorite of the entire collection. This was perfect in every way. Give me a full novel about these two amazing girls meeting in an airport and falling for each other, seriously. I have never read anything by Emery Lord before, but I will definitely be checking out more of her books after reading this. 

The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout - 2/5
I think my overall review of this was that I just didn't care? I didn't care about the characters, the story, the stakes, etc. I spent most of the time rolling my eyes. It was a stumbling block in the middle of a really solid run of stories and I just didn't care for it.

The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies - 3.5/5
This was absolutely ridiculous, but I was still super charmed by it. I mean the concept - seeing someone on the subway and falling instantly in love, then using an AP statistics assignment to track them down again - is absurd, but I loved the way it was written. I don't know how this one got me, but it did.

259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan - 2/5
This was the first story to have a solely male POV, and I really wish it had been stronger. I think this tried to tackle way too much in a limited amount of space, and the love interest was laughably one-dimensional. Also, with how this ended, I don't know if I would really consider this a meet cute?

Something Real by Julie Murphy - 3.5/5
I'm giving out huge points to a great concept right here. I mean, it was solid. I thought it tried a little too hard with the emotional stuff near the beginning, but by the end I was grinning ear to ear.

Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick - 2/5
I read this earlier today and I've already forgotten what it was even about... Yikes, let me go look back at it. Ah, yes. Ok, this one tried to tackle like a hundred deep, emotional issues, and I don't think it really managed any of them well. It was a really bizarre concept that I don't really think worked. And, apparently, it's a bit forgettable.

The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon - 3/5
I thought the worldbuilding of this was absolutely incredible. If you want to know what it takes to build a totally new world in the space of a short story, I recommend checking this out. However, I think the relationship itself was a little weak. This is the only other story with a solely male POV, but I just wasn't very invested in him or the new relationship that was happening.

And that's it, those are my thoughts on Meet Cute. If you like anthologies, I think this is a pretty solid, standard YA anthology, but expect the highs with the lows. My favorite aspect of this book was the diversity, and the sheer number of f/f stories. It was really appreciated, especially in an anthology like this where it was just cute and romantic and simple. Ladies falling in love don't usually get that sort of story in mainstream YA, and I loved how many got the chance to in this collection.
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I picked this up for a few specific names, but I stayed for most of the others. There are so many short, sweet stories packed within this fairly short collection that I was surprised.
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This is a short story collection featuring many very popular YA authors and obviously there were some stories I didn't really like (the first one and the ones by Jennifer L Armentrout, Huntley Fitzpatrick and Katie Cotugno to be exact) and my favourites were the one by Julie Murphy (I love this woman now) and Nicola Yoon (who I am excited to read more from) as well as a super unexpected favourite: Jocelyn Davie!
I would definitely recommend this if you are into cute stories
3.75/5 stars
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3.5 actually!

Very cute. My favorites were the first one (Siege Etiquette by Katie Cougno) and the Jennifer L Armentrout one (The dictionary of you and me).

I should have researched the meaning of "meet cute" before reading this book because some of the stories were so interesting and had so much potential that I just needed more! Specially the first one, it was very short but I can see it made into a book. I would like to see character development in those characters. 

All the stories were very original and different from each other so it wasn't repetitive at all, some of them are even sci fi I wasn't not expecting and I liked it! However I still felt like some of them were a little too cheesy for my taste, so that's why I give this book a solid 3.5.
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It took me a bit to get into the stories, there were a few at the beginning that didn't really hit the "cute" part of the phrase "meet cute" in my opinion.  But as I got going, so many of the later stories won me over.  A few of the stories were done in second person, which isn't always a favorite of mine.  Like the Imagines book, I couldn't get that far in.  But then others in here that tried that point of view, did work.  I got to read something by Dhonielle Clayton, getting me ready to read her book The Belles soon.  I have to admit though, the first book that left me grinning like an idiot was Armentrout's story.  Of course it had to do with a library, so it was totally the nerdy girl type of story I love.  That was totally what I consider a "meet cute".  Then I also loved the story that took place on a subway, seeing the perfect guy on the subway train that was crossing the opposite way, and then having the girl use it as a project for her statistics class, it was just so cute! 


The book had a variety of stories, not all were necessarily just contemporary romance, there were several LGBTQ stories as well.  And I will say, that even though a few of the stories were  not my cup of tea, all of them were very well written.  I will be purchasing this one for my school library for sure.
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What a lot of fun it was to see the beginnings! I thoroughly enjoyed this title! Some of my favorite authors writing lovely, sad, serious, and even silly stories and I got my fill of fresh romance. I dug it. Great concept for a book well-realized.
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It's hard to rate anthologies because there are so many stories, but this book was not good. The only authors saving it from 1-star are Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon. The rest of the stories weren't very good. Especially the first which was in second person and reminded me of a bad wattpad fanfiction.
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I enjoyed this anthology of meet cute YA stories! I love meet-cute romance, it's one of my favorite romance subgenres, and it was really nice to spend time reading teen meet-cutes (most of whom were romances). There are some really lovely stories here, a few that didn't work for me, and one that I was troubled by. All in all, that's pretty good for an anthology.

I loved three of the f/f romance stories. "Print Shop", by Nina LaCour was gorgeous and held my heart. I especially loved all the details about the print shop and first jobs and falling for someone's online presence. (This was my first read of anything by this author and it made me want to read her other work!) "Somewhere That's Green" by Meredith Russo (which has a trans girl MC) made me cry. It's beautiful and heartwrenching and so so timely. "Oomph" by Emery Lord was a lovely meet cute f/f romance. Fluffy and adorable.

I also really enjoyed several of the geekier m/f meet-cutes. "Click", by Katharine McGee was sad and sweet and geeky in the best way. "The Unlikely Likelihood Of Falling In Love" by Jocelyn Davies was a lovely fluffy m/f romance, and a love letter to NYC. I really liked the secondary characters, and the heroine's voice was so strong. It was such a great take on the theme, too. I enjoyed "259 Miles" by Kass Morgan, a m/f meet cute where two teens who want to go to Mars are put into isolation together as a final test. Its got some angst & some light moments too, and felt balanced in them. 

The worldbuilding in "The Way We Love Here" by Dhonielle Clayton has wonderful detail, but I wanted a longer story to hold it! I struggle with the fated mates idea as a central concept; I liked that it doesn't just accept it, that challenge is built in. 

A few of the m/f romance stories felt more thinly drawn as far as characterization goes, but delivered a really strong meet cute, plotwise. "The Dictionary of You and Me" by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a cute and fluffy m/f romance where characters meet through a library book, and "The Department of Dead Love" by Nicola Yoon where characters meet through unpacking a break up were two good examples of this. 

I was all on board for "The Intern" by Sara Shepard, a grief centered rock star story til it turned into cultural appropriation. It's not okay to have a romantic gesture based on telling a white character that she's a Hawaiian goddess.

"Something Real" by Julie Murphy has a great premise, and quietly builds to it, and I liked the fat rep, but I was on tenterhooks about whether I was going to be queerbaited the whole time. I think it needed a few more cues to queer readers as to who the love interest was going to be.

A few stories just didn't work for me. "Say Everything"  by Huntley Fitzpatrick because of the pacing and arc, and the way the conflict just faded away for no reason. "Hourglass" by Ibi Zoboi because I was so angry with her friend being so awful that I just couldn't get excited about the meet cute. "Siege Etiquette" by Katie Cotugno mostly because I wanted it to be a romance with a happy ending and it just wasn't. 

Content Warnings listed by story

Siege Etiquette: References to alcohol use child physical abuse, parental death and a drunk driving car accident. Descriptions of bullying.
Hourglass: Fat hating racist bullying. Internalized fat antagonism.
Click: death of family member, grief arc.
The Intern: parental death, grief arc, cultural appropriation.
Somewhere That's Green: transmisogyny, trans oppression, misgendering.
The Way We Love Here: suicidality, terminal illness.
Oomph: parent with anxiety.
The Dictionary of You & Me: Reference to physical violence on a date, I read it as a coded reference to sexual assault.
The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love: casual ableist slur.
259 Million Miles: cyberbullying, parental death.
Something Real: description of car accident where MC's sibling died, vomiting.
Say Everything: financial ruin, jokes about violence.
The Department of Dead Love: references to partner death.
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I had a really hard time getting into this anthology. The first story in particular with the second person writing was jarring to read. It also wasn't my idea of "cute" and I struggled with it quite a bit, so this is a DNF for me for now. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read this anthology early.
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*Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and all of the wonderful authors who contributed to this anthology for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

This was such a unexpectedly wonderful read that left me feeling happy inside & in love with Romance haha! I’m going to need to watch Serendipity, You’ve Got Mail, Brown Sugar, Sleepless in Seattle, Love and Basketball, and last but not least Love Actually during this upcoming holiday weekend. Get it all out of my system LOL! but I digress..

Some of the diversity/own voices stories included in Meet Cute had POC, LGBTQIA+, and plus sized rep. Some of the relevant topics discussed were the misogynistic behavior in the entertainment industry, fashion & how it mostly caters to a specific body type, and struggling libraries with no real funding. I fell in love with so many of the stories & will treasure this collection for years to come. If you’ve been looking for an anthology but have been a bit weary due to some less than great ones (no shade)…look no further! I’ve found a few new to me authors I can’t wait to read more from & got reacquainted with some 2017 debut authors I need more from like yesterday (*whispers* Ibi Zoboi I’m pleading to you).

Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Opening scene is a house party that the police have come to shut down. Hailey is the MC & The story is told in third person POV? Since this isn’t the first time the police have coming knocking, Haileys best friend is adamant on not opening the door. Instead everyone hides and Hailey ends up in the bathroom with Wolf, a classmate who she’s known since she was a little girl. Wolf receives partial homeschooling in order to allow him to help his family on their farm. To Hailey, Wolf is a fresh clean slate…someone who doesn’t know about the tragedy that marked her past. I gave this one 2.5 stars because of the writing style/POV, it just wasn’t my cup of tea tbh. I was however very interested in Wolf as a character & would love to find him in a future full length book

Print Shop by Nina LaCour ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oh goodness! I should’ve known I would LOVE this to pieces! Any time I pick up anything by Nina LaCour I end up falling in love with the writing & characters. We meet Evie who interviews to work at a old fashioned print shop as a way to step back from technology & modern day everything. When she gets the job, she realizes the shop actually needs help stepping into the 21st century. Although it isn’t what she signed up for, helping this shop is something she really wants to do.
In doing so, she also wasn’t expecting to meet a girl after her own heart. This was such a cute queer story but I’m going to need more of the characters who work at the print shop! We have the Gay artist/owner of the shop with a quick cameo of his husband, his pregnant assistant and the baby’s father all giving life to this old school shop & gahhhh! Nina!!! Can 2018 be the year we get more Nina LaCour please & thank you?!?!

Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Introduces Cherish as she is dress shopping with her best friend for prom. Cherish is debating whether she’s going to attend since finding a dress for her body type isn’t as easy as it is for her best friend Stacy. Cherish is tall, curvy, and dark skinned living in a town made up of primarily white people. When she stumbles across a flyer for Mamadou’s African Tailoring: One Size Don’t Fit All, she decides to make a visit. This story embraces the beauty in different body shapes & sizes and in turn highlights the need for more black owned businesses. Loved how this Meet Cute carried some important messages along the way. I did however wish we’d been given a tad bit more of the Meet Cute itself.

Click by Katherine McGee⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Takes place in 2020 NYC & is told in alternating POV’s between Alexa and Raden who’ve both signed up to a dating service app. Grieving & trying to get back in the day in scene, Alexa is giving Click a chance since she believes in the power of data. A computer engineer herself, she figured Click reliable enough to find her a compatible match. Raden is a photography student who is trying to get over his ex. Their meet up is sort of ruined when Alexa realizes she’s left her phone behind in the cab she took to get to her date. A unlikely adventure begins & I just died thinking what if someone would do this for me?!? the last line was sort of cheesy but otherwise I can see this one play out on the screen as a rom-com 
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Many of the stories themselves were cute, and many of the couples within the stories were super cute. I loved the diversity of stories and characters. But I didn’t think that all of the stories in this collection qualified as meet cutes.

The blurb says these are stories about “how they first met.” Ummmmm… that’s NOT necessarily meet cute. Stories about characters who already knew each other and then got to know each other better aren’t really meet cute stories. I don’t think that depressing stories qualify either, no matter how cute the meet.


Print Shop by Nina LaCour

This was a tightly written, cohesive story with themes I appreciated and a meet cute that I give high points for creativity. When Evie agrees to help a small print shop in her neighborhood with their social media, she gets tangled up in a Twitter war with a very unsatisfied customer. I loved that this was a virtual meet cute that transitioned to a real meeting. This meet cute fit with the story’s themes of Luddite old fashionedness vs. newfangled online life and this super-cute couple put a smile on my face!

OOMPH by Emery Lord

This story takes place in an airport, which is such a great place for a chance encounter meet cute! Cass is at in the security line at JFK when she’s given a mysterious flyer by a TSA agent. This leads to a lot of witty banter with the passenger ahead of her in line. They’re on different flights, but at adjacent gates, and Cass saves her mysterious new friend from one of those overly chatty fellow travelers. OOMPH was a cute and flirty story that won my heart.

Something Real by Julie Murphy 

June is the president of the Official Dylan Fan Club International, which has won her the chance to compete on A Date Come True, a show where ordinary people try to win a date with a celeb. June is vying for a date with … you guessed it: Dylan, a singer who was plucked out of YouTube obscurity by a record label. I don’t want to say too much more about this story except that it was full of surprises! Meet cute with a twist.
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Meet Cute is fabulous! There are some absolutely adorable stories in this collection, but it isn't fluff. Some of the stories are actually quite serious, and take on subjects like death, and being transgender. I love that they take on some challenging subjects in a way that is as accessible as it is enjoyable. All of the couples make your heart melt just a little, but none more so for me than Jocelyn Davies's
story about two people who meet on passing subways, or Jennifer Armentrout's story about love found from a missing library book. 

Meet Cute is perfect for when you just want a story that will make you feel good in the end, especially when you might not have the time for a novel. In less time than it takes to watch a Hallmark movie, you can read a much better story here. 

{Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of Meet Cute from NetGalley}
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Overall, this was a lovely fun read of mainly contemporary stories. I would love some of these as full-length novels!
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Oy. Everyone likes a good "meet cute," but it's hard to like when followed up with mediocre writing. 

I was excited to get check this out via NetGalley, but it became such a chore to get through some of these stories. I mean, I literally would flip my e-pages ahead to see how much longer I have to go to get to the end -- and often it would appear to be too many pages before I can change channels to what I hope is a better story, which it often wasn't. 

Best of the bunch was Click by Katharine McGee. Hard to pick what was the blah-est, but the 1st story and Something Real stuck in my head as the most infuriating to get through. The 1st story, Siege Etiquette, because I remember thinking "This is what they want to lead with?!" and Something Real because it did not feel real at all. With the exception of Click (and there were a few that were ok -- The Dictionary of You and Me and The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love; Print Shop was very lyrical, but I was meh on the story), I suspect this was not any writer's best effort.

Can't recommend purchasing this collection, which is 1.5/2 stars at the most.
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Short story collections can be hit or miss. This one is mostly a hit, with a few that are less interesting. The only downside is wanting to read more and it's just a short story!
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This was a nice collection of short stories.  There were some REALLY great entries, but the ones that fell flat brought down the collection.
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3.5 stars This was my first anthology and my first YA contemporary in a while. I enjoyed most of these stories and I'm really keen to dive back into romance after being in a weird funk of not really knowing what to read. I do think I would have prefered reading this in physical format simply so I could easily pick and choose which story to read (and see which are longest etc) but that is just a minor detail and hasn't influenced my rating. 

Review on coming tomorrow!
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