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The Meet-Cute Project: 01/25/20
The Meet-Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson is a YA romance set against the impending deadline of an older sister's wedding. Mia's sister Sam is getting married and has demanded that she bring along a date to the big event. Mia isn't currently dating anyone and doesn't know how to go about finding a date; she'd rather focus on Math Team, Swim Team, and documentaries. Her BFFs, though, love rom-coms and have a plan.
Like Mia, I'm not much of rom-com watcher. When I watch romantic comedies I tend to go for the old school screwballs. I haven't seen any of the films Mia watches — although I've heard of a handful of them. So like Mia, I learned that "meet-cute" is the plot device where the couple first meets and are set on their path towards an eventual happily ever after.
For Mia, the meet-cute project her friends set up mean putting herself and her potential dates in a variety of staged events that are outside of her usual day to day activities and interests. As you can imagine, these initial meet-cute attempts are embarrassing and ineffectual.
But the experiences combined with frustration over Sam's sudden return home and encroachment on Mia's space, gives her the impetus to push her boundaries. She becomes more flexible with her routine and begins to rebel a bit. Some of that works to her benefit and some of it backfires.
The relationship between Mia and Sam and their parents hit the mark for me. I come to this romance as the much older sibling and was the one putting my then fourteen year old brother (as well as my husband's seventeen year old brother) through wedding planning hell. Older children grow up with inexperienced parents and often parents who are less financially secure. By the second child they've learned a thing or two (although each child is a unique challenge) and they might have more disposable income and/or free time. This is certainly the case with Sam and Mia's parents and a big source of conflict between the sisters. It's real, raw, and relatable.
I know I've been completely ignoring the romance details. They're sweet and charming. She has some hit or miss moments but finds a great date and longer-term boyfriend in the end.