Author: Lauren Morrill
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 11.13.2012 by Delacorte
Summary: Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
Thoughts: This book has been pitched to fans of Anna and the French Kiss and I adored Anna, so I definitely wanted to give this a shot. Not only did the cover look great, but the summary sounded promising and I went into this book with high hopes. While Meant to Be turned out to be a fun and cute read that had me laughing out loud at times, it felt like it was trying to hard to be like Anna and that bugged me enough to find this just a bit better than an okay read.
Julia is an intelligent girl, straight-A student, and never breaks the rules. Until she is partnered up with Jason, who happens to be the annoying class clown and pretty much her archenemy. Determined to follow her schedules and itineraries though, she has no intention of watching Jason and his crazy antics. But he shows up at her door with a spare key to her room so they can sneak off to a party and proceed to break the rules for the rest of the trip.
I had a difficult time liking Julia. She was so rigid, never wanted to have fun and didn't do anything on a whim. Even though she was a bookworm and a "good girl" she wasn't someone I would like and really couldn't connect with her. But she also had no problem breaking so many rules when Jason was involved. I had a few problems with Jason also. Not only is he immature and seeks attention all the time, he's also annoying as hell and doesn't do anything! He makes Julia do his work for her in "exchange" for help with a boy and then has mood swings that are never really explained.
I did enjoy the scenery. I love Europe, but I have never had the pleasure of being in London. I was able to really appreciate the descriptions of the places Jason and Julia traveled there and Morrill's descriptions were truly terrific. I really wanted to step into the book (or get on the next plane to London, whichever is easier) and walk the streets with these teens. I was kind of jealous of their trip and wish I had the opportunity to travel there during my Junior year of high school. While their personalities seemed to clash, Jason and Julia's adventures and travels seemed like a great experience and sounded like a lot of fun.
I did have difficult time liking both main characters, but I thought the idea of them coming together was kind of cute since they were so opposite. While I found Julia stuck between three guys kind of over the top, I really was rooting for these two to end up together. Their relationship seemed realistic enough and while it was sort of insta-love, they had a lot of difficulties along the way that caused them to stumble as they figured out what to do next. The ending was pretty predictable, but it came with a small twist that I thought I'd figured out, but realized I'd been wrong about. There were a few questions left unanswered and the ending felt a bit rushed and wrapped up too neatly for my liking.
Overall: Even though I didn't connect with the characters, I found their adventures fun and some of their moments to be simply adorable. I thought that the humor was forced most of the time, but there were times when I really laughed out loud. The descriptions of London really made this book for me, and while the romance between these two characters wasn't as sweet as I hoped for, I still found myself wanting them to wind up together. Meant to Be is a pretty cute book that I am sure many fans of contemporary romance will enjoy.
About the author: Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It's a wonder her brain and teeth haven't rotted out of her head. Her first novel, Meant to Be, sold in a two-book deal to Wendy Loggia at Delacorte for Paper Lantern Lit.
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