Review: Meant to Be – Lauren Morrill

meant to be
Title: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Opening Sentence: “There are certain things in life that just suck.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Meant to Be was one of those books I saw and instantly wanted to read. I love stories that take place in London, Paris, et cetera and I love contemporary, so I knew this would be right up my alley. The story itself is rather cute even if a tad typical and the characters were satisfying to read both when I liked them and when I didn’t. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute.

Firstly, when I say the story is “typical” I don’t necessarily mean it in a bad way. Contemporary romances usually have some conflict (due to one or more misunderstandings) in the middle that is eventually ironed out in time for the end of the story. Meant to Be certainly did and that’s totally fine. The whole time I was reading this book I realized what was going on with the characters and thought I knew everything. Oh, boy, was I wrong! I don’t know how I missed it, but Morrill slipped something huge by me. You’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean. But just so you know: it was great.

See above to: “…the characters were satisfying to read both when I liked them and when I didn’t.” Sometimes the characters in Meant to Be killed me with the way they acted. I really liked the way all the characters were written, but some of them were there to hate. And hate I did. I won’t specify, but you get what I mean. For the most part I liked the characters I had a lot of exposure to. I’m actually a little bummed we didn’t get to see more of a couple characters, but oh well. Can’t have everything.

Julia, the main character is… difficult, to say the least. I’m not completely sure how I feel about her. As a person I think she has the potential to be cool, but for the duration of the book she wasn’t quite there. She’s a wonderful character to read about because there’s so much room for growth. For so much time before her trip to London Julia sort of locked herself in a box, so it’s not surprising she’s so stubborn and sort of difficult to deal with.

Despite all the annoying things he does, I really liked Jason too. He was a complete cad a lot of the time, but I liked him from the very beginning. Everything he did was completely confusing and had a sense of playground innocence to it. It would seem weird calling Jason–the class-clown–more down to Earth than Julia, but he really is. For someone so intelligent and grounded Julia certainly has her head in the clouds a lot of the time. During the trip I feel like Jason was sort of an anchor for Julia, whether she liked it (or even realized it) or not. They balanced each other out well. Their relationship was super complicated but in retrospect it was simple as all get out, and I loved that because it’s something the reader doesn’t realize it until the end.

I had a ton of fun reading Meant to Be. It’s one of those books that will have you laughing (and dying of secondhand embarrassment) from the very beginning and will get you to yell, “Don’t be an idiot!” at the characters more than you’d probably like to admit. (Just me?) If you dig contemporary YA this is a must read for you.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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