When you’re in the depths of a frigid winter, a few weeks can feel like a very long time. Case in point? The Netflix premiere date for To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You on February 12th is basically ages away right now. But don’t worry—we found something that’s the perfect way to spend your waiting time. Emma Lord’s debut novel Tweet Cute has all the young love ~feels~ of our favorite Netflix rom-com, with a dash of nostalgia, heaping spoonfuls of flirting, and a whole lot of pun-filled, ambitious dessert-baking that will warm your Great British Bake Off-loving hearts.
Tweet Cute follows New York high school students Pepper and Jack, whose Twitter feud turns viral. Pepper helps her mother run their Big League Burger chain corporate Twitter account, while Jack adds a social presence to his parents’ mom-and-pop deli, Girl Cheesing. The two accounts become locked in a public feud after Girl Cheesing accuses Big League Burger of stealing its secret grilled cheese recipe. And, because this is a rom-com, the rivals are also secretly falling for each other in an anonymous chat app used by students in their high school.
Think: You’ve Got Mail but on Twitter. And with a few more twists.
Lord, a writer and former Bustle editor, says that when she came up with the idea, she wasn’t intending to make a modern, younger You’ve Got Mail. Initially, and appropriately, the idea came in a tweet that she sent out asking for a story about two rival social media managers who fall in love. But when her request went semi-viral, she put in “internet dibs,” as she says, to write the story herself. So, she dove right in.
“By virtue of this having been the fourth or fifth manuscript I’ve written, there was this air of ‘Go for broke!’ ‘Put everything you love in this book!'” Lord tells HelloGiggles. That’s why, she says, she set it in her home of New York and why it’s chock full of food, from grilled cheese to macaroons to a “kitchen-sink-esque” baked good called “Monster Cake.”
She also put in tropes she loves from her favorite rom-coms and pop-culture “ships” to tell her own, new story, such as secret identities and enemies who become lovers.
“I love any ship where characters don’t like each other, but as an objective person you can see that they’re perfect for each other,” Lord tells HelloGiggles.
She credits, yes, You’ve Got Mail, for some of this trope inspo. But also non-rom-coms, including Spider-Man and Anne With an E, the recent Anne of Green Gables adaptation on Netflix. Tweet Cute‘s Pepper and Jack definitely fall into that category. They battle in person for pool time as members of the swim and dive team. They battle online representing their rival restaurants. And there are more secret identity reveals that pit them on opposite sides (which, no, we won’t reveal). Still, trust us, you’ll be yelling at your copy for them to just please kiss already.
Even though YA rom-coms are having a serious moment right now, Lord says Tweet Cute wasn’t originally intended to be YA. But she says that when she began writing the story with adult characters, it was missing something. Changing it to instead center on teenagers, she says, “It took the heart that the book was missing, as I was trying to write it, and it firmly planted it.”
And that heart is what makes it as perfect for adults as it is for teens. While there aren’t currently plans for an adaptation, Tweet Cute falls in line with so many recent YA books-to-screen adaptations we’ve loved, like, yes, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and also Dumplin’, Looking for Alaska, Love, Simon, and The Kissing Booth.
Get it! Tweet Cute by Emma Lord, amazon.com
As for those baked goods? Don’t worry, Lord has you covered with her recipe for Monster Cake. Because reading Tweet Cute will otherwise have you Postmates-ing any cupcake in the vicinity.
Lord credits another beloved movie for Tweet Cute being so full of chocolatey goodness. She drew inspiration from Waitress, the 2007 movie that became a hit Broadway musical, “because there are so many ambitious desserts and food creations with silly names in them, so it has that same very cheerful-whimsy-in-a-grounded-story vibe.”
In fact, it’s the dessert that helps bring her entire novel its heart.
“I wanted people to finish [Tweet Cute] and feel the way you feel when you have finished a slice of the most delicious cake that you’ve ever tasted,” Lord says. “And it’s so good that you don’t want to brush your teeth after, you just want to be able to taste it.”
And yes, she has already pre-apologized for making everyone hungry.