“Some people are destined to meet.”
Waffles, cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookies.
All three of those combined would not taste as sweet as this book.
This is probably my favourite anthology. Actually, it’s the first one I’ve ever read (I … think?) but I’m pretty sure it’d still be my favourite.
Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet is a collection of short stories written by multiple authors, each with their on take on how people meet and fall in love – all couples have to start somewhere, after all. Readers will experience every author’s take on a meet cute, and perhaps fall in love themselves, too.
Now, I was unfamiliar with the writing style of all of those authors. Sure, I’d heard of a lot of them – but I’d never actually read any of their books, although I have some on my TBR. After seeing this book around a lot, and it being one of the January picks for The Book Bound Society, I knew I simply had to pick this up!
I had that nagging voice at the back of my head that wondered if things would be too cheesy or cringey to read, but oh boy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Although I didn’t love every story, there were certainly a lot more stunning ones than average ones; as a result, I think it’s more appropriate to review every story separately!
- Seige Etiqette, Katie Cotugno
“The truth is that your favourite thing about being popular is being able to control when and how people look at you and what they see when they do, like you’re the curator of a fancy museum and your only exhibit is yourself. The problem is that lately you haven’t been able to do it.”
I don’t think this was the best story to start this book off with; it made me hesitate about whether the rest of this book was really worth it.
I know, I know – it was only the first story. But hey, first impressions count!
I just felt like Hailey and Wolf fell in love too quickly? Especially considering that they both seemed to really dislike certain qualities about the other? I think it would have been more realistic to end the story on the note that they both start to feel some butterflies, but either deny it or not care much for it, only for their feelings to develop further later on.
Also, am I wrong, or did this story somehow glorify cheating? Nah, that’s just not acceptable. This story was certainly not for me.
- Print Shop, Nina LaCour
“It’s early, I know. We’ve only just met. But this might be a love story, so I want to tell it right away.”
Thank God this was the next story, because it filled me with hope for this book! This is the first writing of LaCour’s that I’ve read, and I was in awe of her style and descriptions. The flow of events was pleasantly soothing, and the entire “vintage” vibe had a calming effect on me.
‘I should start with Print Shop. The romance of it: the dark wood and the ink smell, the papers everywhere, sheets of it cascading off every surface. The old lights on the desks and the framed monotypes and screen prints.’
-the moment in which every bibliophile & antiquarian fell in love with this story
LaCour’s depiction of Evelyn’s feelings and thoughts towards the “disgruntled customer”- a.k.a Lauren – is like a cute little candy you pop into your mouth because it’s so sweet. You cannot not cheer for Evie, she’s a memorable persona that I definitely want to see more of!
- Hourglass, Ibi Zoboi
“No matter how long we’ve been living in this town, we never fit in. I never fit in.”
Bust out your party hats ’cause we got a big girl here! Cherish is such a sweetheart and her boldness is a quality to admire. I mean, anybody who glares at those perfectly-manufactured mannequins and smacks it upside the head, declaring, “You are not all that,” earns my respect.
Her meeting with Mamadou had that fluffy stuff filling up my brain and stomach, because damn is he a gentleman. And he makes dresses! Honestly, his caring nature left me screaming on the inside – I need more of this story, dammit!
- Click, Katharine McGee
“People were so complicated – sensitive and unpredictable and erratic – but code made sense. Code could be analyzed, and fixed.”
This story has occupied a special place in my heart.
No, seriously you guys. I think this might be my favourite story – one of its best elements is Alexa’s analytic thought process, and Raden’s emotional and abstract outlook on life. A computer programmer and a photographer; they Click perfectly, and no, they don’t need an app for that.
They’re the kind of couple that’s like: “Are you sad? I’m sorry, here, let me cheer you up,” but at the same time, they’re like, “We know that running between cars in frantic search of a phone will potentially get us killed, but we’re gonna do it anyway.”
I’ve said this multiple times already, BUT I NEED MORE OF THIS!
‘He couldn’t take a decent picture of something without falling in love with it, at least a little.’
-I love my baby Raden
- The Intern, Sara Shepard
“At least if I was alone, I could be myself. I could make my own choices. I could grieve. With people, I was always in this smiling in-between, wanting to cry but feeling I had to put up a front that I was healing.”
This story had potential, and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t score a lot of points in my book. In fact, even as I’m writing this, I’m realising that the story is pretty forgettable. Clara and Phineas definitely have that chemistry going on, but I felt that there was some “insta-love” here. The beginning is a little dull, then we’ve got some adorable scenes later, but the ending makes me feel as if the author wanted them to just fall in love already.
It’s definitely not a horrible story, but it doesn’t cross three stars for me, either.
But I shall forever appreciate this reference: ‘His expression – an appealing mix of awkwardness, cleverness, and kindness – reminded me of L, the detective from Death Note … ‘
- Somewhere That’s Green, Meredith Russo
“I was wrong. I repeated things I’d been told to think because it was easier than speaking up.”
A story featuring a badass trans girl and a brave gay character – Nia and Lexie captured my heart from the start.
Well, maybe it took a little longer for Lexie, but hey, that’s what a great character arc is about. You’d think twenty-five pages would be short for a character to grow and learn, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Lexie’s character development is such a joy to read, and the sparks flying between her and Nia make you scream, “ADMIT YOUR LOVE ALREADY”!
I just can’t conjure up the words to describe it in a way that would do it justice. The writing has an addicting flow to it, so much so that you have to finish it. 👏👏👏
- The Way We Love Here, Dhonielle Clayton
“Momma said people are like streams, and when you meet your beloved, you become a single river flowing in one direction; currents, waves, ripples, indistinguishable from one another.”
Someone get me more Dhonielle Clayton books because I am hooked.
A far-off island filled with beautiful scenery and magic? Smart and loveable heroine? Witty and hilarious love interest? Can we get more of this? (I cannot confirm when exactly I will stop saying this … )
Viola and Sebastian are PowerCoupleTM, and their romance is not only realistic, but also allows the reader to imagine their own ending – and I think this is what really drew me in. You’re shown a number of possibilities of where their romance could whisk them off to, and it’s really up to you, depending on whether you think they click or not, to decide if you want them together.
Not to mention, make sure you hold on to your breaths because this book will definitely take them away with its lovely descriptions:
‘I know the leeward side of the island by scent and sound: the pollen of the larkspur flowers, the chittering pink birds that cluster in the horsetail trees, the hum of crickets and cicadas, the scent of fried sweetbread.’
-I want to live here
And, of course, this relatable exchange:
‘”You okay?” I ask him.
“I think. Am I still handsome?”‘
-Getting some Peter Kavinsky vibes here
- Oomph, Emery Lord
“I grip it, this feeling – so tightly that my fingers ache. It’s like trying to hold smoke.”
The quirky take-off for this romance had me hooked. Seriously, if you love Marvel, you’ll love this story – and that’s only a part of it.
Johanna and Cassidy are the type of couple that you ship from the very beginning and start drawing fan art of after the story ends. They seem to understand exactly what the other wants right away, be it a joke or a comforting pep-talk – and for this to be communicated through only seventeen pages? That’s skill right there. This review will never be able to properly express how lovely this story is – definitely an endearing read with a unique charm to it.
- The Dictionary of You and Me, Jennifer L. Armentrout
“I was a big dork when it came to Christmas. I loved everything about it – the twinkly lights and crinkling paper, the smell of pine and balsam, the music and the movies, and most, I loved all the hope.”
I sat down to read this story and, ten minutes later, heard the police at my door.
Turns out, the neighbours had reported inhumane dying noises coming from my room.
Oh my God, this is the most precious thing.
Now I don’t know about you, but I love it when couples (or potential couples, in this case) have conversations that are weird but so enjoyable that you’re just laughing the whole time. That’s basically this whole story.
(Imma spoil this story a bit, so scroll by if you’d like the element of surprise to stay!)
I mean, while it is a spoiler, it’s a pretty expected one – still, the way the truth is unraveled is adorable. You have Moss, the girl who works at a library, and Tyler, the guy who has in his possession a dictionary with a long-overdue date of return – except she doesn’t know his identity. He could be a creepy stalker for all she can guess.
But the moment he walks into that library – and that conversation they have – ugh, stop being so damn cute, will you?!
‘Tyler knocked his hair back from his forehead and the strands immediately fell back in place. “I wanted to say something earlier, but I … ” The blush deepened, and he looked away again, coughing out a low laugh. “I just didn’t have the nerve. When I, uh, when I figured out it was you, the girl who sat in the back of history class, I wanted to say something then, but … ” Another low laugh. “Yeah, I didn’t have the nerve.”‘
-*screams for five years*
STOP DOING THIS TO MY POOR HEART.
The sweet-as-sugar writing will captivate you from the start, and I’ve already said this, but damn, I love those two!!
- The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love, Jocelyn Davies
“Numbers don’t lie, even when the heart does.”
God, I’m running out of adjectives to use here. These stories deserve entire books, and I especially appreciated the unorthodox approach to love in this one – after all, you’d hardly think to calculate your chances of finding love, or to find out the probability of you being with the person you like, right?
‘You can’t substantiate that love exists by plugging some variables into an equation and calling it a day. Therefore, why should I believe in it? It’s not like I could prove it had ever happened to me.’
-When this kind of, weirdly, makes sense
It’s true that some parts are cheesy, but the scarily-accurate statistical approach to a matter as abstract and subjective as love captured my full attention. Sam has quite a stubborn take on it, but I really enjoyed watching her slowly experience what she had so fervently denied her whole life (okay, well, maybe not ‘slowly’ … but still.) Mystery Boy at the metro is a real cutie, and these two are definitely going places.
Also, damn – Sam’s mom is, in her daughter’s words, a “Boss”.
‘Dad took a bite of pasta. “The idea that you have to meet someone in an adorable way in order for it to be meaningful is nonsensical. Your mom and I aren’t soulmates. Fate didn’t bring us together after some over-the-top series of missed connections. We met at the bar at Webster Hall.”
“Excuse me?” Mom said. “Not soul mates?”‘
-SOMEBODY’S IN DEEP TROUBLE
- 259 Million Miles, Kass Morgan
“You can make a statement about not living in fear, how it’s better to fail than never try at all.”
DO NOT START THIS STORY WITHOUT A BOX OF TISSUES. I REPEAT: DO NOT START THIS STORY WITHOUT A BOX OF TISSUES.
I won’t even bother telling you to mentally prepare yourself, because pretty much nothing can prepare you for this short yet-heart-wrenching plot.
Phillip – that cinnamon roll – oh my God. I just want to wrap him in a blanket and cover him in kittens, okay? He’s so precious. And Blythe gives me serious Luna Lovegood vibes, and seeing as I’m in love with Luna Lovegood, I was beyond ecstatic.
I love how there’s a slow, subtle build-up for the ending, and as much as I cried … well, I have to say that it suited the story perfectly.
- Something Real, Julie Murphy
“I think we’d all surprise ourselves to find out what lengths we might go to to re-create and savor the moments that make us feel like we have purpose. There’s no shame in that.”
This is a lovely twist on reality TV (since we all know how reality TV actually is), and June and Martha are hella badass and supportive, but some parts of this story felt a little fast-paced and boring – I’m not exactly sure why, but maybe that’s just me.
Regardless of that, though, I was extremely fond of the ending (take that, Dylan!) and especially grateful that neither June nor Martha hated on the other in the start simply because they were competing against each other. Their support for one another had me whooping – it’s so motivating and empowering!
‘We’re just two people who were randomly driven together in the most ludicrous of ways by some reality TV show that I can now say, without a doubt, is more fake than it is real. But standing here with her. This is real. There’s just something about her that makes me feel like we could really be something to each other in real life.’
- Say Everything, Huntley Fitzpatrick
“What you get to keep is the friendship – and someday more – of that boy whose life unexpectedly collided with yours, who made it a resolution to right and wrong, whatever way he could.”
Meh … this story really didn’t work with me. I found it bland and forgettable, with barely any character depth. There are moments when Sean or Emma will crack a joke, but it might as well be a robot speaking. I don’t know, maybe second-person just isn’t for me – I liked the main idea, but the writing … not as much.
- The Department of Dead Love, Nicola Yoon
“People feel so much. Love is so big and it leaves behind a crater. Even when it’s wrong.”
I really enjoyed this concept. There’s a powerful fantastical element to this story, and I was really interested in all those love-related buildings and careers; very creatively-portrayed!
I liked the character of Thomas and Gabby, although how they develop feelings for each other is a bit foggy to me. You can see those sparks flying, but you’re a bit unsure of how they came to be in the first place. Still, this story really encouraged me to check out Yoon’s other books, and I can’t wait to pick them up!
There you have it! Reading this anthology was such a stress-relief for me, honestly. Now I know that, in times of pressure, flipping back to those fluffy scenes is bound to help. I just – I just can’t, you guys. Fluff is my weakness, okay?
Have you read this anthology? What do you think? Let me know!