Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Why I love this book: Phew. I finished this book and have been sitting on my thoughts for a few days. This was one of my most anticipated books and I blew through it in 2 sittings (and I was very salty about having to take a break to be a proper adult). There has been a lot of discourse online about YA books lately, and while I would love for books to be allowed to just exist and find their perfect match readers, that just isn't how the world works. Sometimes books exist and are amazing and are also deeply necessary. For me Meet Cute Diary fits in both catagories.
So why is Meet Cute Diary important? It's important because Lee allows the characters to exist in all their messy, chaotic glory. So many books are doing this lately and it makes me enormously happy. E's also allowed for them to do something that we don't often see, and that's to change their minds. There is no one way to go through life, and for sure no one way to define your own path (be it gender, or sexuality or anything else) and Lee shows all of that. Even the act of allowing charecters to change pronouns at will is huge and highlights a thing I say (yell?) at people too often... that it's that simple. As Noah says "They're your pronouns" and we can change them as often as need be until you find the right fit. The journey these characters are on is centered, but this isn't an issues book. This is a book about Noah, and Drew, and Devin and allowing them all to work through the things in their lives that are hard and revel in the things that are amazing. Meet Cute Diary is a whole picture and as a librarian it's what I want my students to have. It's what I wish I had as a kid who was deep into it and unsure who I was and who I wanted to be. I thought I had to define myself and because nothing quite fit I simply let it fade into the background. As an adult, I am now seeing my lived experiences reflected back at me through books like Meet Cute Diary and I while I'm happy for me, I am even more excited for the representation my students have. It makes me proud to be a librarian because I get to hand them these books.
So beyond important, why is Meet Cute Diary just plain good? This book is a genuine delight. Noah is somehow both a hot mess and totally pulled together. Noah is able to balance daily life with an online life and be super organized, but also a full disaster, and I don't know how Lee did that, but I love it. Noah has a blog where they share Trans Meet Cutes, which both entertain followers and bring others hope. Except they are made up... kind of. These posts are really the "what if's" of Noah's life. As a lifelond day dreamer, these scenarios were gold and if the Meet Cute Diary existed in real life I'd be obsessed. Even if I knew they were fantasy more then reality, I would still be all in. Even if Noah's "12 Steps to the Perfect Relationship" are a wild ride that we all know will not work in real life... who doesn't want to believe that the stories you make up in your mind could actually come true? Drew and Devin are both great characters for Noah to play off. Neither is perfect, but neither is bad either. Even when we start to see the cracks, they are fully believable and you find yourself not just rooting for Noah to find a Happy Ever After, you also hope that everyone involved figures thier lives out and finds their happy too. On top of Devin and Drew, we also have Becca and Brian, Noah's best friend and brother respectively. They both have the ability to call Noah out on their shit, but also be insanely supportive. Both want what's best for Noah, and even when the road is bumpy, they are there. These characters are loveable and fun to hang with, I wasn't really ready for it to end (and was stoked to snag an extra chapter and art through the pre-order campain).
This is a book to buy, recommend, and request. Get it on the shelves and into hands. You'll be happy you did.
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