Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.
May 4th 2021 by Quill Tree Books ‣ 400 pages ‣ YA, romantic comedy
Representation/diversity: triracial (afro-puertorican, japanese, american) trans bi mc, lesbian cuban sc, non-binary cuban asexual sc (has anxiety), triracial author (pronouns: he/him/e/em)
Trigger/content warnings: mention of past suicide attempt, transphobia, homophobia, age gap (16/18), panic attacks
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
An e-ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
I think we’re in one of those « it’s not you but me » cases. Don’t get me wrong though: I did enjoy the book. It was fun, cute and really gives you that summery vibe — the type of book you would read in one sitting if you’re on the beach or something. To be perfectly honest, if I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to, it’s because of the main character, Noah. I believed I already said it, somewhere in my past reviews but my biggest pet peeves in books are selfish and self-centered characters. And looking back at it, I can understand how stupid it is to have that kind of pet peeves because having selfish characters is realistic. I mean, of course selfish people exist in the real world, so why not in books, right? Yeah right. But whether or not we’re in the real world, I can’t sympathize and connect with selfish people. Not saying something like: « oh selfish people deserve nothing » but more like I can’t really connect with their mindset or their choices because I can’t really understand why they would always think about themselves first. But then, does that make Noah a bad character? Absolutely not. Even though I couldn’t connect totally with him because of his selfish and self-centered self, I still totally believe he’s one of the funniest and snarkiest character I’ve ever read. Reading from his perspective was really fun — which is pretty ironical because I also hated how I always had to go through all those selfish moments but hey, that’s how it works. Noah always gives you those funny comments, even if he doesn’t say it out loud and that’s why reading Meet Cute Diary was so fun. Even though I didn’t like Noah’s selfish side, I still believe it was what make him so realistic, from a writing perspective. That’s why I’m saying this is more of a « me problem » than anything else. I liked how the author balanced his selfish side with his understanding side — because it made him more real. More like a human being than a « all I see is myself » teenager. Because even though he was selfish, Noah was that one character who also took the time to understand what the others needed. More like, he understood what Devin needed. And it could almost be quite surprising because you might expect Noah to brush everything aside if it doesn’t relate to himself but seeing him caring for Devin was quite refreshing.
The thing is, I hadn’t even known what the word « trans » was until freshman year, when that girl had taken the dive and put herself on the line by coming out.
Speaking of Devin, I just like em so much, you know? I’ve never stumbled on a character so peaceful? in my life. Actually, I don’t even know if peaceful is the correct word. Devin was like — like the person you want to be friend with: kind, understanding and always listening to what you want and what you need. Eir personality actually contrasts pretty well with Noah’s selfishness and maybe this is what I link it when they were together. Speaking of Devin, I liked how the author used this character to make you understand that there is no such thing as « definitive pronouns » and that it is always okay to change your pronoun if you think the ones you’re currently using aren’t the ones who may « work » for you (I’m using the term « work » here for lack of better word, I’m sorry). Through the story, Devin goes through several sets of pronouns, searching for the ones which fit em the most. Meet Cute Diary was also the opportunity for me to « discover » neo pronouns. I actually don’t know if we have some kind of equivalent in France (I feel like we’re still stuck with fighting people with the use of « they » as a neutral pronoun lmao) but I guess it was kind of educating for me to read an actual book with a character who uses Neo pronouns. This doesn’t mean in any way that Meet Cute Diary is the type of book which is supposed to teach you something but more like if you’re open to it — don’t be a bigot — you may learn new stuff.
I think the most important thing about Meet Cute Diary is the fact that it’s about trans joy. There are some talks about transphobia and a bit of homophobia but it is not the main focus of the story. And I guess it was really refreshing to read that. Not saying that books dealing with heavy topics are unnecessary (please give them to me, especially the ones coming from authors of color) but sometimes you just want to see queer characters of color happy, you know? Well, Emery Lee gives you exactly that with this book. Meet Cute Diary is fun and light-hearted. It is a book about love, hoping to love and finding the perfect lover — something you can achieve even if you’re trans. Through his blog Meet Cute Diary, Noah wanted to share meet cutes to give hope to any trans person. He wanted to show them they can be loved like any other person. All the small snippets we got from his blog was actually my favorite part of the book.
You deserve love, and the most important thing is that you know that, no matter what comes next.
The happy ever after we got at the end may seem cheesy for some but for me it was what I expected from the book. I believe that Meet Cute Diary was never supposed to be one of those angsty dramatic YA book — and it is not. The author said it emself: Meet Cute Diary is a romantic comedy and this is what we got. I still enjoyed the fact that Noah’s relationships weren’t totally « happy » from the start. What I mean is there were some conflicts like any other relationships. You’ll argue, have to compromise… this is what Emery Lee shows you with Noah’s relationships and I enjoyed it because it is so realistic, especially when it comes to teenagers.
Though I guess I wanted some closure when it comes to certain plot points. Like: who was the one trolling Noah’s blog? Stuff like that. It wasn’t that important in the story but I guess I’m curious like that. I just wanted to know who it was because I wanted to see Noah kick their ass. But then, finding who it was wasn’t the focus of the story so I can understand why the author never went in that direction. Anyway. I recommend Meet Cute Diary to any person looking for a cute and fun romantic comedy and for any person who is looking for joy and love.
I’ve basically had an infinite number of opportunities, but every time I opened my mouth, I ended up spouting any random garbage that brought me away from my feelings.