Review | Have We Met? by Camille Baker

HaveWeMetCoverWhile spending the night at her cousin’s apartment, Corinne discovers a new app has mysteriously been downloaded onto her phone. Called Met, the app tells Corinne that she’s already met her soulmate, and offers to bring about four people from her past who were potentially The One. What happens after that is all Corinne’s choice. Except that while one person after another from her past shows up, Corinne already finds herself becoming attracted to someone else, whom she met after the app appeared: her cousin’s friend Cory. Should Corinne believe in the app and wait for it to reveal her soulmate, or should she give Cory a chance?

Have We Met? begins with a cute concept, but the conflict it sets up doesn’t quite hold up for long. For one thing, Corinne isn’t the superstitious type — her friend Elise is much more excited about the possibilities from the Met app than Corinne is — and for another, the first couple of potential soulmates the app sends her barely create a sizzle. The main romance is pretty obvious from the start, which makes the various snags set up by the app seem perfunctory, and the climactic solution pretty predictable.

What I loved most in the novel was Corinne’s character arc beyond the romance. I loved the glimpses of her friendship with Joelle, and I loved seeing her move from grief over Joelle’s death to starting to figure out life without her best friend. There’s a great moment when she first sees the Met app, where she thinks that she’s already met her soulmate in Joelle, and I love that idea of soulmates potentially being platonic.

I also love how her friendship with Joelle, and the mementoes Joelle left for her, helped Corinne figure out what she wanted to do with her life. Corinne mostly just takes on temp jobs almost at random, mostly just to pay the bills, with maybe a substitute teaching job here and there to make her mother happy. So I liked seeing her journey in going after a job that she believes will actually make her happy in the long run, even as she recognizes the financial limitations that particular career path can have.

The friendships were also really strong for me. Beyond Corinne’s friendship with Joelle, I love her friendships with Tiwanda and Elise. Both women encouraged Corinne to go beyond her comfort zone, and most of all, where just there for her whenever she needed support. I love that she found that, even when she wasn’t really looking, and that these new friendships can help her move on past Joelle’s loss.

In contrast, the romance fell a bit flat for me. The two main characters grow close when Cory uses Corinne’s apartment as a workspace — he’s a physical therapist who travels to his clients’ locations, and often drops by nearby friends’ apartments to do paperwork in his downtime. Thing is, he initially drops by Corinne’s apartment unannounced. After some initial coy banter about texting first beforehand, Corinne basically tells him to just drop by whenever. And clearly that arrangement worked for them, but I’d hate this super relaxed approach to my personal space, and the fact that Cory so casually assumed it was okay right off the bat really rubbed me the wrong way.

There was also some cutesy dialogue about the similarities in their names — Corinne initially has Cory in her phone as “The Other Cory” — that got a bit cringey after a while. And the cute form of Cory’s big apology wasn’t quite set up enough for me to work. I get that it was supposed to mimic the academic language of his professional writing, but because we don’t much of this kind of language from him at all, either in dialogue or through his work, the format wasn’t quite as impactful as it could have been.

Still, the book overall was a good, entertaining read. I also love how diverse the cast of characters are: Corinne, Cory, and a few other major characters are Black — there’s a scene involving Cory helping with Corinne’s hair care that I found very sweet. Elise is Asian. Cory is bi — he says so straight out, and when Corinne first meets him, he has just broken up with a man and refers to potential future partners as “she” or “they.” One of Corinne’s potential soulmates is non-binary — they’re a teacher, and the second grade students casually inform Corinne that this teacher uses Mx instead of Mr or Ms. Corinne’s younger brother Lito is Deaf, and the story also touches on the tension between him and non-signing members of their family. The author is a sign language interpreter herself, and there are a few descriptions of signs included in the story.

The end of the novel teases at the potential for a sequel featuring Tiwanda. Tiwanda was a pretty awesome character in this book, and it’ll be fun to see her find her own Met match.

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Thank you to Thomas Allen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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