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Meet Cute

The world is filled with unexpected connections of the heart, and in Meet Cute, 14 YA authors shine their light on how extraordinary and unexpected those moments can be. This anthology, encompassing contemporary realism, fantasy and science fiction tales, features a diverse set of characters, situations and storytellers.

In "The Dictionary of You and Me," Jennifer L. Armentrout introduces the spark of romance over the phone between a library employee and a patron who is in possession of a long-overdue book. Kass Morgan takes readers into the near future in "259 Million Miles," in which two teenage applicants for a mission to Mars are locked in an isolation chamber for 24 hours. In "Hourglass" by Ibi Zoboi, a best friend's romantic betrayal provides the impetus for a young woman's newfound self-assurance and a surprising meeting with her hometown's new resident, a handsome young Senegalese dressmaker.

Though many of these stories take place in sprawling metropolises--New York City is featured in several pieces--the stories range in both genre and style, including themes of love and loss, racial prejudices, sweet first looks, unexpected attraction and missed connections, and each author has created a distinctive character pairing and chance romantic meeting. Some feature a love that spans a lifetime, while others share rushed relationships lasting barely an hour, but all focus on the lasting effect that a brief, intimate connection can have, no matter the final outcome. As the two protagonists of Nicola Yoon's "The Department of Dead Love" so astutely surmise, " 'All love ends,' she says. 'Maybe,' I say. 'But it has to start somewhere.' " --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor