We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Review: As many of you might have seen across all my platforms, I stepped away from reading and any form of blogging. With how 2020 was going I needed a breather, I had also lost the spark that kept me reading and loving books. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate them, I was just in the biggest book slump of my life (so far). It was about six months. I only read manga and that’s about it.
One of my amazing book friends though, she always sends me Jewish YA books that will be coming out soon. Mostly because I’ve ranted about how there are no Jewish main characters in YA, that don’t involve WW2 or falling in love with a Nazi. There is sadly a huge lack of fiction for what I’ve always been looking for, though in the last few years there are more amazing books trickling in. It was no surprise that my friend sent me all the information about WCKMLT, and how the author was looking for Jewish readers to read an ARC of her upcoming novel. Even though I was in this dark deep hole of a book slump, I peeked my head out to see if I could get a chance to read this book early. I’m still amazed I was allowed a copy, but I am so incredibly happy for the chance (it really felt like some light broke through the darkness and a hand reached in to pull me out).
Now, what you all are probably waiting for after many months without my lovely reviews and taking forever to get to the review at this point. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This, is the book that brought me to life. After all these months of trying again and again to get back into reading and wondering if I would even love it again-this book brought me back. Ever since reading this book, it has been like an avalanche of non stop reading. It feels as if there is a monster or some type of force of nature inside of me that can’t let go of a book for even a second. Reading WCKMLT had me obsessed by the first few pages, I’ve never read anything by Rachel Lynn Solomon before (which is a travesty and means I’ve been an idiot for far too long). When I had the absolute pleasure of meeting her a few years ago at a book signing in Seattle, where in which we had a conversation about Jewish representation in YA books. See I told you I was an idiot (though, I have now bought every single one of her titles so I can read even more of her writing while I wait for her next book Weather Girl).
Back to the book-I have never felt so seen in a book before, as I have when reading about Quinn’s story. The pressure, the anxiety, living in Washington, and the feelings that come when you just have no clue where you want your live to go at all. I gotta say, the first two quotes I put below from the book about being uncomfortable in a church? I’ve been there, I’ve basically been the only Jewish in my school district for a very long time and have gone to a church one time in my life. I just kept thinking they were going to kick me out and yell “she doesn’t even go here! ” just like in Mean Girls. So yes, I loved this book. I loved the descriptions of food. Many of which I have written down because now I must eat them and find a cute Jewish boy to make them for me too. To the absolute beauty of the harp and how they are made. Rachel Lynn Solomon I now blame you for making me a crazy person for watching videos on the craftsmanship of harps being made and listening to them, it is hypnotizing.
Aside from food, and harps, I loved how Jewish this book was. I know that’s a strange thing to say or to even think about, but its true. Even if your not Jewish reading We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This, doesn’t make you feel left out, because it explains anything you don’t know about in simple terms without dragging down the story or over explaining. This was a great help because even I didn’t know everything in this, I may be Jewish but my family isn’t as traditional as we could be.
Quinn is a character that has faults, she’s not perfect and she doesn’t have some grand master plan by the end of the book and that’s ok. That’s what life is, you can only take the days as they come and make your way from there. That also goes for Tarek, both him and Quinn have a lot to work through future wise and mental health wise. This of course leads me to my other favorite thing about this book, the mental health. This is the biggest factor in WCKMLT, our characters are flawed but not by their mental health, because that’s not a flaw. It’s just who we are and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, sometimes we do need help and an outlet, such as talking to someone who could help. As someone was has struggled with metal health, figuring out where my life is headed, and explaining to my family that we have to talk about things (mental health being number one). My heart went out to both Quinn and Tarek. They are these flawed people, just like us because its normal not to have a plan about what you want to do, its normal to stress, its normal to have anxiety and mental health problems. This book makes you feel everything these two characters go through, it makes you feel as if you are seeing to friends face the same thing s you go through, it also makes you feel okay that you have no clue what your going to do.
Okay, before I finish this terrible rambling review (as you can tell I’m rusty and still the same as always). We have to talk about the swoon. The moments between these two, I tell you. My goodness, I was smiling and crying for the both of them. But I do have be a bit in-between both their view points on grand gestures. I’m not for the big blow out like Tarek, on that Quinn and I can agree, but I do like the small grand gestures of love, or as Tarek says, its the person who makes it grand. That stole my heart, even now my poor heart can’t even with the sweetness. Because even though I have said multiple times in this review and I’m going to say it again, these two are messy but still figuring it out. And that’s fine because they have time, just like we all do – to fall in love, get it wrong, get it right, find our passion in life and what we want to peruse. So, just like Quinn and Tarek nd their relationship (and the cuteness , the sweetness and messy-ness), I’m finally going to end my review here at the not so perfect end, where I’m still figuring it out. But, please do yourself a favor and go buy this book on on June 8th (2021) and read it as slow as you can to savor every minute of it.
I’m feeling about as out of place as I usually do as a Jew in church, which is to say, considerably.
While I’ve never felt wholly welcome in a church, I haven’t yet burst into flame inside one. There’s no one narrowing their eyes at me, wondering what I’m doing here, telling me I don’t belong.
of course I know harps aren’t used only for weddings, that it’s not only old ladies and baby angels who play them, but I’ve never heard them sound like this, wild and feral and furious.
I volunteer to head back first- since he’s, uh, not quite ready- and before I do, he pulls me close one more time and kisses my forehead. A soft sweep of his lips. somehow, that’s the one that feels the most dangerous.
Sometimes I feel like I’m letting down “my people” or whatever. I don’t know. I’m not a very good Jew, I guess.
It’s not that I’m depressed all the time, he amends. The therapy and medication have helped so much. It’s just made me wonder if that future I’ve pictured…if it’s something I’m going to eventually fuck up for myself. If I’ll never get to have it for no other reason than my shit brain chemistry.
this sweet boy who bakes sweet things.
there’s this dangerous sweetness in his words that nearly breaks me in half.
With my body half-beneath the curtain , I decide I shall hide under for the rest of my life. This is my new home. The paintings will be my only friends. It will be a good life, a simple life.
In different ways, some that we can treat with medication and therapy and some only with time. And some in ways that might never heal. Sometimes the good outweighs the bad. Sometimes those great times are so fucking great that they make the bad times a little easier to handle.
Whatever it becomes, I don’t have to know yet what it means. I have time. everyone’s been telling me I have the time to fall in love, to discover who I want to spend the rest of my life with. But its not just a who. Its a what, too.
When you’re in love, you want to spend time with that person not just on your good days, but your in-between days and your bad days too.
It’s no about the gestures, he says. The gesture doesn’t mean anything if the couple isn’t right for each other. Its about the person. A swallow, and then, as his knee taps mine; you make it grand.
Would I? Reread? Yes. Buy physical copy? Already done. Recommend this book to others? Of course, and already have to a great deal to people (they’re probably sick of me now).
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Edition: Hardcover, 336 pages. I did receive an e-book copy of this title from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Young Adult. Contemporary. Romance.
Published June 8th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Summary: A wedding harpist disillusioned with love and a hopeless romantic cater-waiter flirt and fight their way through a summer of weddings in this effervescent romantic comedy from the acclaimed author of Today Tonight Tomorrow.
Quinn Berkowitz 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 again 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 loved the grand gestures in weddings—the flashier, the better—while Quinn can’t see them as anything but fake. Even as they can’t seem to have one civil conversation, Quinn’s thrown together with Tarek wedding after wedding, 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.
-Summary from GoodReads.com