Book Review

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This

  • Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • Genre: YA Romance
  • Publication Date: June 8, 2021
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Quinn Berkowitz’s and Tarek Mansour’s families have been in business together for years: Quinn’s parents are wedding planners, and Tarek’s own a catering company. At the end of last summer, Quinn confessed her crush on him in the form of a rambling email—and then he left for college without a response.

Quinn has been dreading seeing him almost as much as she dreads another summer playing the harp for her parents’ weddings. When he shows up at the first wedding of the summer, looking cuter than ever after a year apart, they clash immediately. Tarek’s always been a fan of grand gestures—the flashier the better—while Quinn can’t see them as anything but fake. As her parents push her to take on more responsibilities, she’s thrown together with Tarek more often than she’d like, from performing a daring cake rescue to filling in for a missing bridesmaid and groomsman.

Quinn can’t deny her feelings for him are still there, especially after she learns the truth about his silence, opens up about her own fears, and begins learning the art of harp-making from an enigmatic teacher. Maybe love isn’t the enemy after all—and maybe allowing herself to fall is the most honest thing Quinn’s ever done.

I’ve heard so many great things about this book, and while I tend not to love books that are super-hyped, I’ve read other books by RLS and loved them, so I gave this one a shot. And it. Blew. My. Mind. It’s worth all the hype and then some.

Quinn is a harpist who works for her parents’ wedding planning company. Even though she doesn’t really believe in true love. But she’s kind of being pushed into working in this business, and her parents kind of have her entire future planned out for her. Enough so that she doesn’t really feel like she’s got any other options at the moment. But the one thing she’s sure of? She’s got a major crush on Tarek, even though he definitely doesn’t seem to return the feeling. Especially after that email she sent him at the end of last summer.

Which means, of course, that as soon as this summer starts, Tarek is going to be in the picture. A LOT. I couldn’t help but love Tarek. He’s a complete cinnamon roll, grand romantic gestures included. And we learn a lot more about who he is in this story, straight from his own mouth, since the book is told entirely from Quinn’s POV. And even so, I absolutely adored Tarek. I just wanted to smack Quinn and tell her to stop messing around and just get over herself before she loses Tarek, who is CLEARLY her OTP. How can you resist a guy who talks about romance and love like this?

“‘It was the first I learned about love, about romance, and I was just so proud that we had this epic family story. That there was this proof of how much they cared about each other, that they’d gone to such great lengths to find each other again. And now I see what they do and how much they love each other, and I want something like that someday. Simple as that.’”

Quinn is Jewish. Tarek is Muslim. Neither of them are overly religious, even though Quinn’s sister is engaged to a man who is more religious than she is, and is in the process of becoming more observant. Quinn discusses her own feelings and ambivalence about religion, and I loved how Tarek and she conversed about their individual religions and the overlap between them, especially in context of food, which makes sense, because Tarek’s passion is baking.

But far and away, the mental health representation in this book is absolutely outstanding. There’s a character with depression, and Quinn is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), two diseases that commonly go hand-in-hand. She’s open about her struggles, and the things that she does to manage them, including therapy, medication, and the thought process she uses when she’s struggling. I loved how she talks about the way it affects different areas of her life, and how it isn’t just compulsive hand-washing or orderliness, effectively changing the narrative and addressing misconceptions about this illness. It was heart-wrenching to hear her talk about a particular low in her life, and how she knew it wasn’t rational, but the way she was stuck in a loop (how she describes it) about locking her car repeatedly while trying to run an errand, and the callous way that other people treated her:

“‘Wow, you think it’s locked?’ a middle-aged guy asked me as he walked by. I have a mental illness, I wanted to yell at him, but instead I dipped my head in shame. That was the worst part of my OCD: when it made other people think I was doing something on purpose just to disrupt their lives.”

The story completely sucked me in, and although I had the physical copy of the book present, I chose to listen to the audiobook. It was narrated by Carly Robbins, who did such a good job with this story. She brought Quinn’s character to life, and I couldn’t help but love the way she interspersed Quinn’s snarky wit into her more submissive outer personality, and took me on a journey through Quinn’s life into her own self-discovery. This is one of the best YA romances that I’ve read in a long time.

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