“Sometimes the world is terrible, and love stories . . . they make it feel less heavy.”
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.
Rachel Lynn Solomon has a way of crafting such earnest and relatable characters who leap off the page and into my heart. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This follows Quinn Berkowitz, a romance skeptic, as she spends her summer reluctantly playing part in her family’s wedding planning business alongside her friend, turned crush, turned awkward we haven’t spoke in a year since I admitted my feelings for you and you left for college, Tarek Mansour, who’s never met a grand gesture he didn’t love. But fate – and the summer wedding season – force Quinn and Tarek together and they begin to grow closer as the summer winds down.
Quinn was a bit of a tough character for me to connect to because we’re so different. She’s a bit more skeptical than I am, and I’ve never even seen a harp in real life. She also has a bit of a habit of protecting herself from possible pain by pulling away and isn’t a fan of Rom-Coms (which happen to be a personal favorite of mine). But even with all of our differences, I still felt for her through the entire story. Her uncertainty about what she wanted to major in in college, her conflicting feelings about staying in the family business and feeling restricted by it at the same time, the passion she reignited for the harp through learning how to craft the actual instrument. All of these little details formed such a real person, who I wanted to see succeed and find herself and just come into her own.
A highlight of the story was Quinn and Tarek together. You can feel the history between the two, which makes the longing and feelings all the more impactful. The two do have different priorities and ways of showing affections, but I liked seeing them be open and honest with one another about what they look for in a relationship. That kind of open communication paired perfectly with their playful banter and familiar teasing.
Even with the humor and sparks of romance, the story is really grounded in honest emotions and conversations around Quinn’s OCD, Tarek’s depression, their respective religions (Jewish and Muslim respectively), how Quinn’s parents separation when she was younger affected her, family expectations and pressure. And while I can’t speak to any of these personally, I think that all these topics were handled respectfully and not an afterthought added for diversity points.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This. It’s a story you can really get lost in on a beautiful summer day.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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