First Lines: To be fair, when the alarm goes off, there’s barely even any smoke rising out of the oven.
So I picked this book up at the library because I’d heard a lot of buzz about it. I mean, it’s not that it didn’t look cute (haha), but I just wasn’t sure it was for me. Then Erin at Lavish Literature assured me it was one of the best reads of 2020. I moved it up my to-read list for that reason. I had to see if that was true.
Pepper is swim captain, overachiever extraordinaire, and a solid perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but the burger chain the family owns, Big League Burger, is booming–in large part because Pepper secretly helps run their social media account while trying to balance school and life on top of that. Then there’s Jack, the class clown and constant pain in Pepper’s neck. When Jack isn’t trying to separate himself from his doppelganger twin, he’s working at the family deli. So when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s famous grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to bring them down–one tweet at a time. All’s fair on the battlefield…until Jack and Pepper realize they’ve started a viral Twitter war. But also while they’re duking it out in the Twittersphere, they’re also maybe falling for each other? On an anonymous chat app that Jack made?
I’m glad I took a second look at this book.
Pepper is the driven and determined swim-team-captain-and-nearly-valedictorian at her prestigious New York City private school. She’s also the daughter of the owners of Big League Burger, a massive national fast food chain. It’s this that brings her to clash with Jack Campbell, her classmate and general pain. Jack can’t stand that a corporation is piggybacking on his family’s hard work. Sure, they’re a mom-and-pop shop, but that doesn’t mean you can steal from them. And thus begins the Tweet Storm between Pepper, as BLB, and Jack, as Girl Cheesing.
It’s cute. The characters are funny and sassy and cute. And the story has a lot of depth I wasn’t expecting. Like, the whole book is about all these little lessons. It’s a lot like the way a Sarah Dessen novel is about more than one lesson. But it’s way funnier than a Sarah Dessen. Maybe more like a Kasie West in that respect.
Even with those more serious aspects, the story never felt heavy. Even when characters cross lines and go too far or have to face their fears, it was all done with a touch of humor and levity. In that respect, it was a perfect read for 2020, when so much has gone badly this year and we need to stay on the laughing side to survive.
It’s really hard to write a social media story that stays relevant and maybe this story won’t pass the test of time, but it’s cute and funny and sweet.
And can I just say that I felt that this was written by someone who actually understands social media? I’ve read plenty of books where authors (or editors maybe?) think they know social media and it’s just cringe. Too many misspellings, too many emojis, etc. This actually felt authentic, like the exact kinds of tweets I would actually see on my feed. (Although I do have to wonder about the authenticity of this as well, considering my understanding is that Twitter is not terribly popular with teens. It’s quickly becoming the new Facebook of the social world.)
Also, where can I find the recipes for the desserts in this book? Because I really want them. Monster Cake sounds delicious.