Meg Reviews: Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Reviewing Emery Lee’s Meet Cute Diary is a challenge because it is the most overt celebration of trans joy, trans culture, and trans love that I have ever had the privilege of reading, which makes it so hard to think about with a critical eye. The young adult novel follows main character Noah, a transgender boy who secretly runs a very popular Tumblr blog called the Meet Cute Diary, where he posts stories anonymous accounts of trans people finding love in rom-com perfect meet cutes as a beacon of hope for the trans community— but they are all made up. When a troll threatens to expose the blog as fiction, Noah struggles to cope. After bumping into a boy at an ice cream shop and then again at a bookstore interview, one of Noah’s dream meet cutes comes to life when Drew offers to fake date him to help save the blog and then the two fall into a formulaic relationship designed by Noah’s overly-romantic imagination. During the relationship, Noah slowly realizes that romance may not be so perfectly formulaic in real life as it is on the page. Noah is an absolutely infuriating protagonist to follow: jumping to conclusions without consulting his friends; caring an unhealthy amount about what strangers on the Internet think about him; making poor decisions knowing they are poor decisions; and generally being very self-centered. And honestly, this makes him all the more charming! He is one of the most realistic teenage characters I have read in a young adult novel in a while. Plus, it is such a relief when he finally starts to realize and own up to his mistakes. The biggest appeal of Meet Cute Diary to me is that it is not centered around trans trauma or pain, but instead is genuinely a celebration of trans love and trans joy. In Meet Cute Diary Noah may think his blog needs to be nonfiction to provide the trans community with hope, but in real life, a fiction novel like this, which treats trans and nonbinary characters with such care and respect, gives me hope.