Meet Cute Diary is a story that I breezed through in a couple of days. It’s a story full of heart, with complex and endearing characters, and hope. What you’ll find is a testament to the importance of belief, in happy endings, in not getting caught up in the “right” the “image”. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: anxiety, panic attacks, transphobia
I’ve been looking forward to Meet Cute Diary since it was announced. A story about transjoy, hope in stories, and the importance of not getting wrapped up in what we think should be. As someone who’s never had a meet cute, the idea of reading a blog about queer meet cutes sounds like a dream come true. From the beginning, I loved how Meet Cute Diary celebrates the idea that we sometimes have to manifest the stories we wish we could see, that there’s power in knowing a happy ending exists for people like us.
Lee’s debut only continues examining this line between hope and fiction by introducing fake dating into the mix! For Noah, where is the line between belief and truth? I adored the romcom vibes and Noah was a character that felt endearing and relatable. Because Noah, flaws, mistakes, and all, remains endearing in the ways he’s trying. How he wants to not let people down, how he is so focused on a plan for falling in love. And yet, as readers, we see how there’s no plan that can prepare us, that we can follow, and that when we become caught up in one, we miss the moments around us.
But throughout Meet Cute Diary there’s a depth. The ways Noah has to really sit with the mistakes he’s made and the overlap of toxic relationships and transphobia. I enjoyed how Lee is able to balance the romcom vibes with conversations about unhealthy relationships, about the toxicity of online spaces, and the importance of telling our story. About showcasing real, messy, and complicated characters. About how being focused on what we think is supposed to happen and we miss the genuine moments around us.
If you’re looking for a book that balances the levity and struggle, that features moments of laughter and loss, then check out Meet Cute Diary.
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