Review: We Can't Keep Meeting Like This
We Can't Keep Meeting Like This
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Simon & Schuster
In the summer before she goes off to college, Quinn Berkowitz can’t help but wonder how she is going to tell her family that the future that they’ve always banked on - the one where she joins the family’s wedding planning business, isn’t the future she envisions for herself. She is tired of playing her harp at the ceremonies; she’s fed up with handling crazy brides and grooms; she hates having to give up her last summer at home with her high school friends in order to work full time. When the summer couldn’t seem to be any bleaker, her longtime crush, Tarek - the son of the caterers that her family works with - returns home after his first year at college looking happy and healthy. Quinn and Tarek haven’t spoken since a fight in the previous summer which ended when Quinn poured out her feelings for him in an email to which he never responded.
It is clear that Quinn faces a turning point. While she’s certain of her future away from the family business, she worries that her announcement will tear her family apart. She’s afraid to talk to Tarek about how she feels after being ghosted for an entire year. She’s afraid she’ll never find a passion in life. This book is about a young woman scared of the unknown which is something that so many teens struggle with today. As she begins to face her fears and open herself up to opportunities and love, she realizes that she doesn’t have to have it all figured out.
This book is a bit deceptive; it is a serious book masquerading as a romantic comedy. There are many complex issues explored, such as: separation and divorce, sex and love, mental health, healthy relationships, parental pressure, and communication.The idea of relationships having to look perfect will resonate with teens who face ever growing social pressure to chase social media likes. However, this book does itself a disservice (especially in the first chapters) of having too much exposition and not enough action. Additionally, it is difficult to wade through the exposition at times because the characters are sometimes quite unlikeable. Despite those issues, the overall experience of this book is positive and teens will definitely enjoy this coming of age.
Quinn’s Judaism is another way for her to explore how she might differ from her parents. She struggles to find her place in Judaism coming from a very unobservant family. She has discussions with her sister, who is marrying a more observant Jew, and Tarek who is a Muslim with a similar struggle. The conversations about how one can still consider themselves members of the community when outright rejecting specific codes of conduct are a topic pondered by both Quinn and Tarek. This book, as all of Rachel Lynn Solomon’s books, does a fantastic job with Jewish representation and should be considered for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.
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