Book Review

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Genre | Contemporary YA Fiction
Page #s | 391
Publishing Date | May 2021

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.


By now, y’all know I love a fake dating trope. What I love even more is a book that deconstructs and questions the fake dating trope, which is exactly what Meet Cute Diary does!

Noah is a young trans man who has exacting ideas about how love works, and all of those ideas are simplified and hyper-romantic. It’s right on target with how my teenaged brain thought of relationships, and Noah has an extra level of empathy because he just wants to believe that love is possible for trans kids. However, you may not be surprised to learn that the point of this book is upending Noah’s ideas of a Perfect Romance in favor of something messier, more complicated, and ultimately, more fulfilling.

There was a lot to like about this book. The central plot about falling in love while spending the summer with your older brother in a new city is always fun, especially when you throw a summer camp into the mix. But the reason this book hit a different level of appreciation for me is how it layered complexity into a traditional romantic romp.

For instance, one of our supporting characters offers a surprisingly deep portrayal of gender identity exploration as complicated by anxiety and panic attacks. There was also a fairly nuanced portrayal of online cancel culture; Noah’s blog falsely portrays his fantasies as true stories. While his followers are technically right in their complaints, the way they abandon ship (with PITCH PERFECT comments) is excruciating, as is his desperation to save himself. I love a plot where no one is right, and the whole thing has to be thrown out so something new can begin.

Where this book faltered a little for me is Noah himself. Similar to Neil in The Feeling of Falling in Love, Noah is self-absorbed and a little cruel. This especially comes to light in his long-distance friendship, and I couldn’t help wondering why so many people wanted to be friends with this kid! He does grow, but this is not a protagonist that I want to hang out with in real life. Maybe this is just teens – cynicism and egotism is often the way we are at that age.

A fun twist on an old favorite, Meet Cute Diary is a good time with some interesting things to say.

Who Do I Recommend This Book To?

Share Meet Cute Diary with someone who could use a primer in how to handle a person asking them to use new pronouns.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!

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