Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Meet-Cute Project

Richardson, Thiannon. The Meet-Cute Project 
January 12th 2021 by Simon & Schuster
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Mia is a junior in high school, and her sister Sam is engaged to the man of her dreams. Sam works for a software company that designs for architectural firms, and her fiancé Geoffrey works in his family's jam empire but has a strong science background. Sam's wedding is a massively fancy ordeal, and she is requiring that Mia have a date so that the pictures look right. The only problem? Mia is busy with swim team, and would rather hang out with her friends watching Rom Coms than hunt down boys to date. She has a long time crush on Ben, but has no prospects, so her sister challenges her friends to find Mia a date, and they all start to try to arrange "meet-cutes" for her. These eventually involve Ben, but also Ritchie, who is on swim team with her (but who has a girlfriend), Gavin, with whom she volunteers at a community garden, and even an enigmatic guy she meets as a costume party where she is dressed as Princess Leia and he is a dark and mysterious Darth Vader. In her pursuit of a date, Mia makes some poor choices, ending up at some undesirable parties and getting herself grounded. Right before the wedding, Mia and Geoffrey have a falling out, and Mia is able to talk to Geoffrey and shed some light on her sister's personality quirks. When Gavin gets tickets for a Rainbow Kitten Surprise concert (this is a real band), will Mia be allowed to go with him? And will she find a date for the wedding?
Strengths: This reminded me VERY strongly of Beverly Cleary's Sister of the Bride (1963), but with a more diverse cast and updated social concerns. I loved Mia's family-- they were supportive, motivational, and very much concerned with Mia's activities and behavior, imposing reasonable punishments for understandable transgressions. THIS is exactly the sort of high school romances I am constantly searching out for my voracious readers, and the fact that Mia is Black and this is a generally happy story makes this exactly the sort of story we need after the summer of 2020. Yes, we need books with serious issues, but there is also a huge need, as The Brown Bookshelf has pointed out, for books that celebrate Black joy. The inclusion of swimming, math and science nerdiness, and some Star Wars fandom makes this perfect. 
Weaknesses: I found it hard to believe how elaborate the wedding plans were. I thought that those had fallen out of fashion and people were all getting married in street dresses in their backyards if they were foolish enough to get married at all. I guess that's just the people I know. Someone coming in to do hair and makeup? Really? That's a thing?
What I really think: This had so many good updated facets and read like Sister of the Bride, albeit with less of the 1960s literature's judgement of young marriages. Sam and Geoffrey have graduated from college and hold jobs, so aren't looking at living in married student housing, so Mia is not at all dissuaded from pursuing a romance of her own. This insistence on Mia finding an escort to the wedding does give the book a bit of a dated feel, but most readers will not be as much against marriage and romance as I am personally. 

Of course, now I feel a need to reread Sister of the Bride
 Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. The cost of weddings goes up with the divorce rate ;) - Google 'what is the average cost of a wedding'. In 2019, in the UK, the average wedding cost £31,974 (approx $43.3k). I assume it went down in 2020, since you could only have a handful of people there, couldn't go abroad for a honeymoon, and largely had to do it via Zoom!