Mia’s friends love rom-coms. Mia hates them. They’re silly, contrived, and not at all realistic. Besides, there are more important things to worry about—like how to handle living with her bridezilla sister, Sam, who’s never appreciated Mia, and surviving junior year juggling every school club offered and acing all of her classes.
So when Mia is tasked with finding a date to her sister’s wedding, her options are practically nonexistent.
Mia’s friends, however, have an idea. It’s a little crazy, a little out there, and a lot inspired by the movies they love that Mia begrudgingly watches too.
Mia just needs a meet-cute.
- Title: The Meet-Cute Project
- Author: Rhiannon Richardson
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Genre: Own-voices, Contemporary, Romance, YA, Coming of Age
- Targeted Age Range: Young Adult
- Rating: ★★★★★
- Trigger warnings: Manipulative family member
The Meet-Cute Project is any rom-com lover’s dream. When Mia’s bridezilla sister Sam assigns Mia with the task of finding her own date for the wedding, Mia’s at a loss. Between the swim team, school, and all of Mia’s extracurriculars (literally — I don’t think there’s a club she wasn’t involved in), she doesn’t really have time for dating. Luckily for her, Mia’s rom-com obsessed best friends have an idea: The Meet-Cute Project. The three of them will scout for potential date options, and arrange a meet-cute for Mia. Their prize? The satisfaction of being right, a Starbucks gift card, and Mia’s problems being solved. Enter the prospects: Kelvin, a cute guy who works at the hardware store; Richie, a swimmer on the boy’s swim team; and Ben, the guy Mia’s been pining for the last two years.
As if getting straight A’s, being involved in every club, and helping Sam with her wedding isn’t enough, Mia is also trying to run for president of her school’s honor society. In a ploy to spend more time with Mia, her mother encourages her to volunteer at the garden with her. There, she meets Gavin — a boy her age, another volunteer, and someone who she becomes fast friends with.
But when her meetings with each prospect seems to take an unexpected turn, Mia decides to take things into her own hands. Will Mia find a date in time for her sister’s wedding?
I was immediately invested in The Meet-Cute Project — I’m a sucker for meet-cutes, meet-uglies, slow burns, friends to lovers, and The Meet-Cute Project did not disappoint. The amount of times that I had to put the book down, pace around my room and just say “CAN THEY JUST GET TOGETHER YET?” was probably comical. If any of my neighbors heard me screaming at 11 pm, I’m terribly sorry.
The Meet-Cute Project was simply so refreshing. While I love so many rom-com tropes, I love it even more when the characters aren’t white. There’s something so powerful in seeing authors reinvent these tropes and genres. I loved how joyful The Meet-Cute Project was too; while a little stressful at times (okay, maybe I’m just impatient), it was a generally happy story.
The entire time I was reading this, I kept thinking about how it reminded me of She Loves Me. While some of this book was predictable, I didn’t find myself minding at all. In fact, the predictability was what made it good. I loved the call back to other rom-coms as well, and I’ll be sure to add the ones I haven’t already watched to my watch list.
Mia’s relationships with her best friends was one of my favorite things about this book. I’m very character-driven, and I really enjoyed the witty banter they all had. It was also evident how much they all cared for one another. Their willingness to do whatever they could to support Mia, and how they also voiced their discomfort with some of Mia’s choices was reminiscent of that of a true, healthy friendship.
I had a lot of trouble connecting with Mia’s sister, Sam, initially. Whether it’s because I don’t have siblings, or because the way she came across just didn’t sit right with me – some of her words towards her sister felt manipulative and mean. But as the book unfolded, and we got to learn alongside Mia why Sam acted the way she did, I came to understand her a bit more.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast and fun read, especially one that is filled with only the kind of joy that rom-com movies can bring to you. A wonderful debut for Richardson, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next!
About the Author
Rhiannon Richardson was born in Oreland, Pennsylvania—a town she still has yet to find featured on a printed map. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s in English literature and writing. When she isn’t writing she can be found hiking with her dog, Ernesto, exploring local cafes in search of the best vanilla cappuccino, and editing photographs. She currently lives in Stow, Ohio, with her best friend, dog, two guinea pigs, and twenty reptiles and amphibians.