Would Like to Meet
Does anyone ever fall in love like they do in the movies? Evie Summers has bet her job that they do. If Evie can’t convince her agency’s top screenwriter to write a rom-com, then her agency will lose a big contract and Evie will lose her job. She decides to launch herself into a campaign to find love by diligently copying all the meet-cutes from her favorite rom-coms, thereby inspiring the screenwriter to greatness. It’s a fun premise for a book but the romance in falls flat and the situations Evie creates are oftentimes more cringeworthy than comedic.
Evie has been the best assistant to her agency’s president (Monty) for a long time, but now she is ready to become a fully-fledged agent. After her father died suddenly, she gave up her dream of being a writer and decided to settle for being a writer’s agent. Her hope of advancement lies with a narcissistic screenwriter (Ezra Chester – aka the NOB) completing a promised rom-com script. Sadly for Evie, Ezra has a serious case of writer’s block. Maybe if Evie can convince him that romance is alive and well, he’ll consider trying to write the script. Oh, and wouldn’t it be helpful if Evie (or Red, as Ezra calls her) wrote up her list of meet-cutes in a clever way with lots of dialogue – just a suggestion from Ezra. Hmm… I think we can all see where this is going. But Evie does not.
With her vast knowledge of the rom-com genre, Evie sets out to recreate, with herself as heroine, all the situations where true love has bloomed – When Harry Met Sally, The Holiday, Love Actually, The Wedding Planner, etc. – and after each episode, she emails the story to Ezra. Her first meet-cute attempt bombs and ends with a kid projectile vomiting all over a London coffee shop. Evie is beyond embarrassed at the results of her failed attempt and seeks refuge by quietly sliding into a seat at a table with a father and daughter having hot chocolate. Widower Ben and daughter Anette welcome Evie. Turns out the vomiting kid is a mortal enemy of Anette’s so she is thrilled with Evie’s mishap. Ben is just confused and Evie confuses him more when she explains what she is up to. He can’t imagine why she is putting herself through all this and wonders if she really believes she can find love this way.
Over the next month, Evie continues on her mission, diligently supported by her troop of friends. She runs into Ben and Anette at the coffee shop frequently and a friendship develops between all three, with Ben still puzzled by Evie and her antics. Anette adores Evie and attempts her own Sleepless in Seattle setup – which crashes and burns. But, the important thing is that Evie has motivated Ezra and he is finally writing! She is thrilled. Maybe now that Ezra has started writing, she can give up on this effort and return to normal life. But, no, Ezra needs her to continue inspiring him and so Evie carries on.
NOB: You must know how much your reports are helping me by now. From now on, I need you to do at least two meet-cutes a week so I can get this done. You should be grateful. I’m doubling your chances of falling in love…and you need all the help you can get.
RED: agreed…IF you send me your pages weekly from now on
NOB: How many times? I’ll send them to my agent, Red
RED: correct me if I’m wrong…but isn’t that me?
NOB: When this is all over, we should go for a drink and work out all this sexual tension between us.
RED: two meet-cutes a week in exchange for sending me your pages weekly
NOB: Fine. I’ll send them weekly. To Monty
Would Like to Meet is cleverly written, with each chapter intro laid out like a screenplay and there are lots of fun text and email dialogues between Evie and Ezra, and Evie and her friends. But it is also filled with tons of cringeworthy episodes – the aforementioned projectile vomiting, an overly sexed roommate, an agent stuck in a bathroom stall, a clogged toilet (complete with a vibrator from said overly sexed roommate) and I could go on… I am not opposed to this type of humor, but it was just too much for me.
Also, the whole premise of the book is based on falling in love and we aren’t shown this for Evie and Ben. We are merely told this in the last few chapters where Ben (with Anette’s help) shows Evie how he has fallen in love with her. But, we never see it actually happening. We never see Ben’s interest in Evie develop (or Ben develop as the lead). If the book had focused more on Ben and Evie and less on the disasters of all the meet-cutes, it might perhaps have been possible to recommend.
Would Like to Meet has a great setup and some funny scenes. But in the end it’s too heavy (and wince-inducing) on the ‘com’ and too light on the ‘rom’.