STARRED REVIEW
June 02, 2021

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This

Rachel Lynn Solomon

Though Quinn dutifully plays the harp for her family's wedding-planning business, Borrowed + Blue, she doesn't believe in romance anymore, especially not the kind that starts with grand gestures and always ends in heartbreak.

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It's time for Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”—again. Though Quinn dutifully plays the harp for her family's wedding-planning business, Borrowed + Blue, she doesn't believe in romance anymore, especially not the kind that starts with grand gestures and always ends in heartbreak. Now that she's graduated from high school, her parents expect her to follow in her older sister’s footsteps and join the family business after college. But Quinn yearns to build a future she can call her own. This summer, she plans to wear animal-print dresses, eat chocolate mug cakes, hang out at Seattle’s farmer’s markets with her best friend, Julia, and Julia's new girlfriend . . . and swear off guys completely.

But then she runs into Tarek, the cute Egyptian American baker who’s a hopeless romantic and whose family's catering business often works with Borrowed + Blue. Bickering with Tarek used to be Quinn's favorite part of working at weddings, but they haven't spoken since she confessed her feelings for him just before he left for college last fall. Amid mishaps with missing bridal attendants, melted cakes and last-minute tofu runs, Quinn soon finds that she's falling for Tarek again, despite her best efforts not to. Meanwhile, a reality show wedding seems poised to help Borrowed + Blue really take off, but only if everything goes perfectly.

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This is a classically structured romance with a contemporary social consciousness, exploring such topics as Quinn’s Jewish identity; mental and physical illnesses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and eczema; and the effects of celebrity culture. Discussions of sexuality and gender are modeled and normalized, and B+B’s clients include couples of all sorts—two grooms, two brides and second marriages. Frequent humor keeps the tone light (funny slogans on T-shirts and mugs are particularly chuckle-inducing) and sensuous language about everything from pizza to kissing abounds. The idea of a “perfect” special day gradually gives way to the notion that what makes life sweet are the bumps along the way.

Fans of Stephanie Perkins’ YA love stories or the satisfyingly independent-minded heroine in Gayle Forman’s Just One Day will adore this sweet, fizzy confection of a romance.

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We Can't Keep Meeting Like This

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This

Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781534440272

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