Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute book cover

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Book Review

In the bestseller Tweet Cute, two classmates, college-bound perfectionist Pepper and class clown Jack, unknowingly spar with each other online. Can this war of Twitter wits end in love? 

Plot Summary

Pepper Evans isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. But she definitely knows that her good grades and perfectionist work ethic will get her into a top college. And that will at least make her mother happy.

On the other hand, Pepper is pretty naturally a competitive sort anyway, whether in the classroom or as captain of the school swim team. So working for the top grades comes fairly naturally to her. Oh, and she’s also got quite a sharp-edged wit. And her mom—the cofounder of Big League Burger, one of the country’s top fast-food franchises—likes to use that wittiness to bolster the family business social media presence. A Twitter meme from Pepper always gets people talking.

Pepper’s classmate Jack Campbell is a totally different story. Jack knows exactly what he’ll be doing with his life after graduation this year: working in a deli. Jack is pretty good at techy stuff, and his passion lies in developing apps. In fact, he created an anonymous messaging app for the students at their Stone Hall Academy that the whole school is using and loving, without even knowing it’s his. But Jack’s family runs a local New York deli called Girl Cheesing. And while his twin brother Ethan will likely wing off to college and great things, Jack will be stuck manning the sandwich counter. It’s expected.

Pepper and Jack know one another, but they’re not really in the same orbit at school. That is, until they crash into each other over a grilled cheese sandwich, of all things. Big League Burger has added a new menu item described as “a grilled cheese like your gramma used to make.” But it just happens to look and taste exactly like the sandwich made locally famous by Girl Cheesing. And Jack’s Grandma did make this one. It’s a Campbell family recipe.

Ever-loyal Jack tweets a snarky response defending his Gram and her sandwich through Girl Cheesing’s account. And then unbeknownst to him, Pepper, prompted by her mom, slaps back. And before you know it, their snarky Twitter battle goes viral. It’s national versus local, Goliath versus David, sarcasm versus hyperbole.

And while the anonymous tweets fly hot and heavy between two unknowing high schoolers, their in-school relationship begins to warm up as well. Will this end up as the stuff of cheesy love … or cause a mess that will out-stink Limburger?

Christian Beliefs

None.

Other Belief Systems

None.

Authority Roles

Pepper’s parents divorced several years back. Dad lives In Nashville and mans their original fast-food restaurant, while Pepper and her business-driven mom are In New York dealing with corporate expansion. “We made better friends and business partners than a couple,” Mom notes. And Mom doesn’t always make the wisest choices when it comes to her parenting, sometimes putting business interests over wisdom and parental concern.

Jack’s dad falls more easily into a stereotypical hard-headed New York father role. He doesn’t talk much and maintains fairly strict expectations of his son. But we come to find that he is also a man who loves his boys and tries to bend to accommodate their best interests. For all of their New York reserve, Jack’s family is close knit, and all of them live over the deli. And Jack’s “Grandma Belly” is always there with a ready and warm word of encouragement, too.  

Profanity & Violence

There are a number of relatively mild profanities scattered throughout the book. You’ll read uses of “a–hole,” “a–wipe,” “h—,” “bulls–t” and “s–tposting.” And there are also a few exclamations of “oh my god,” and “crap.” One misuse of Jesus’ name. There’s lying, deceit and some light bullying among the students as well.

There’s no violence in the mix, but someone does get violently ill with food poisoning at one point. And to cap that off, someone else posts pictures of the vomiting young woman online to embarrass her.

Near graduation a large number of high school age teens get drunk and get involved in drunken hijinks in the city streets. Jack also talks of his brother Ethan sneaking off to drink beer with his boyfriend

Sexual Content

Jack’s brother Ethan is gay, and whenever he meets up with his boyfriend (in public or private) they are constantly kissing and groping each other off in a corner. That perpetual make-out is never mentioned or referred by the rest of Jack’s family and is treated, in public places like a local Starbucks, as an almost expected thing.

Pepper and Jack eventually become boyfriend and girlfriend and self-consciously make their way to a kiss or two. The book is narrated alternately by the two leads, and we get clear insight into their inner thoughts about young love.

 

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

What do you think this book was saying about regular social media use and its strengths and drawbacks? There are a few online interactions here that feel like they were borderline bullying. How do you think you’d handle that issue if it happened in your life?

What do you think about romantic relationships in high school? How do you handle any attractions you may be feeling? What problems could arise when people become emotionally and physically intimate at a young age? When do you think young people should be allowed to date? What kind of rules should they have in place to maintain a God-honoring dating relationship?

Divorce isn’t easy. And Pepper’s parents’ divorce definitely impacted both Pepper and her older sis on a number of levels. What are your thoughts about marriage and divorce? What do you think a husband and wife’s commitment level should be, even if they don’t think they make a good “couple,” like Pepper’s mom suggested?

 

Additional Comments

This book plays out as a slightly overwritten and modernized version of the movie You’ve Got Mail. It’s set in a world where an expansive social media presence is a norm for every high schooler. (If you don’t at least have your own blog or podcast, you’re an outlier.)

Beyond the romance side of things, Tweet Cute encourages young readers to push back against what’s “expected” of them by friends and family. It suggests that good heart-to-heart conversations and clear family communication are paramount to expressing your thoughts about the future and finding a way to pursue the things you love most.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected].

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose

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