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5 Thoughts About MEET CUTE DIARY by Emery Lee

Review: Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

  • Meet Cute Diary

  • Emery Lee

  • 4 May 2021

  • Quill Tree Books

  • Read by eARC

Thank you to Quill Tree Books for providing me with an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’m aware I can be exhausting — “you exist too much,” my mother often told me.

Zaina Arafat, You Exist Too Much

Welcome back to Ace Of Bens! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Some way, somehow, I’ve read over fifty books already this year, so I figured I ought to start posting reviews again. If queer YA romcoms are your thing, you should get a copy of Meet Cute Diary ASAP, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. This book is going to be so important to so many people

When I read this I could just tell that Lee wrote it with all the love in eir heart for the trans community. Meet Cute Diary has so many layers to it and shows young readers that great things are possible when you let go of your expectations and just kind of go where life takes you. Lee does a tremendous job of balancing the sweet and funny scenes with the tough and emotional moments. This book’s focus on trans joy is a reason in and of itself to pick up the book, but there’s so much more to it than that. We get to see Noah and those around him explore gender, learn from their mistakes, figure out boundaries, and ultimately grow into themselves. It’s a wild ride — one that I highly recommend hopping on.

2. Noah is a messy, complicated character just like all of us were as teenagers

Simply put, at times, Noah is selfish, oblivious, annoying, and, ultimately, a very teenager-ish main character. A lot of people hate those characters, especially as protagonists, but I love them. Yes, they’re frustrating as heck, but they’re so human! Tell me you never see yourself in them.

Noah overspends his parents’ money and gets mad when he’s cut off. He has trouble communicating with his brother, who he’s living with for the summer. He’s also struggling to maintain his now-long-distance friendship with Becca, which leads to assumptions, miscommunications, and hurt feelings. Based on other reviews, this isn’t going to work for everyone, but for me, it made the story all that much better. Noah isn’t a perfect model of what you should be. He’s a imperfect character that still gets to thrive.

3. It’s a book with a transgender protagonist that doesn’t focus on transphobia

It’s a contemporary fiction book, so of course transphobia exists in this story. Heck, Noah and hos co-worker Devin deal with it on varying levels throughout the entire book, but it never becomes the main plot point, and I’m so thankful for that. It’s about time we get books about trans characters where their main struggle isn’t coming out to their friends and family.

4. Meet Cute Diary is full of adventures

The first part of the story revolves around Noah’s new sotra-fake-sorta-real boyfriend Drew taking him all over Denver to show him the city and stage cute dates for them to post about on Noah’s Tumblr blog, Meet Cute Diary. Between jumping off cliffs, hiking through the mountains, and lowkey cafe visits, Noah and Drew have one heck of a time together.

5. I love the way Devin’s gender is portrayed

Like I said, Meet Cute Diary isn’t a coming out story, especially not from Noah’s end. He has plenty of self-discovery to do, but not so much within his queer identity. Devin, on the other hand, spends a lot of the book exploring ways to express eir gender. I’ve seen other reader point this out, but it’s worth repeating that Noah responds so gracefully. Sure, I’d hope someone who’s also trans would be accepting of someone exploring their gender outside of the binary, but for one, that’s not always the case in real life, and for two, it’s not something you see in mainstream fiction too often, if at all. And to think this could be teens’ introduction to exploring gender, instead of a side character whose purpose is only to suffer as a misfit of society? Amazing. I hope to see this one in libraries everywhere.

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.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.


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