This has got to be one of the most funny, current, and relatable books I have read this year!
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Favorite quote: “A stolen day. The kind of day that ends too fast but stays with you much longer.”
First line: “To be fair, when the alarm goes off, there’s barely even any smoke coming out of the oven.”
High school seniors Pepper– the perfectionist overachiever known for wrecking curves, and Jack– the laid-back class clown constantly overshadowed by his popular twin brother, have never gotten along very well. Things only become more awkward when they find themselves caught up in a snarky Twitter fight between their parents’ businesses. They’re complete enemies in real life- and on Twitter- but neither of them realize that they’ve actually been flirting with one another for months on the school-wide anonymous chat app Jack built. As the get to know each other online and IRL, Jack and Pepper start to discover that they might have more in common than either of them thought.
This is first book I’m reviewing from my July book haul! And wow, it was really good. I loved the witty humor because it was exactly the kind of stuff I find funny, I loved both Pepper and Jack, and I could relate to them so well.
I was smiling almost the whole time I was reading.
Most YA contemporaries seem to exist at some ambiguous point in the 21st century with flat, generic characters who spend most of their high school life going to WILD TEENAGE PARTIES and driving around in their boyfriends’ cars.
This book, on the other hand, was actually an accurate depiction of high school:
“‘…they’re big into education being about learning, not- well. Whatever it is some of the teachers at Stone Hill are trying to accomplish.’
‘Another Hunger Games,‘ I supplied.“
There were also many, many, many pop culture references put in for us GenZ-ers. And since this book was published only 5 months ago, they were spot-on.
Twitter is one of the main focuses of the plot (obviously). They even reference Know Your Meme, and the characters frequently read articles from
BuzzFeed “Hub Seed”.
Unfortunately, the problem with including these kind of references is that they’ll end up being tacky once they aren’t current anymore. You know the feeling you get reading a book right now that won’t stop talking about Blackberries and MySpace? I had pre-secondhand-cringe when I thought about how dated this book will be in 5-10 years.
That said, I still really liked the references because it made the book feel so REAL. I think it was a bit of a risky move because of the ever-changing Internet culture, but as I said in the introduction it’s not every day I get to read such a relatable book about high school. The only thing Emma Lord forgot to include was all the hopeless TikTok addicts doing the renegade in the bathroom.
I also appreciated that the romance was clean! It was a welcome change from the majority of YA contemporaries.
One thing I didn’t love was the whole Twitter aspect because it just seemed pretty far-fetched. I also wished Emma Lord used a different font when switching between Pepper’s and Jack’s POVS, because it was slightly confusing to keep track of. However, neither of these things detracted very much from the story.
I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and fluffy YA contemporary with well-developed characters and strong verisimilitude.
Thanks for reading!