June 13, 2013

Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Release Date:  November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Page Count: 304
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Julia's your classic Type-A control freak who ends up going to England for spring break without any of her friends because ALL of her friends are her swim teammates and they all had to stay home for a match Julia forgot about (which seems suspicous, but I'll take it). So, totally friendless, Julia (AKA Book Licker) is partnered up with the Class Clown, Jason, who seems to not actually know Julia's name because he only really calls her Book Licker. Anyway, this totally mismatched pair have to stick together for a whole week (BUDDY SYSTEM), which obviously leads to adorable British hijinks, including accidentally swapping phones. 

Let's break this down:

Okay, based on my snarky little summary above it might sound like I have ISSUES with this book. And I think my only true gripe is that Julia just FORGOT about her swim match. It's probably just a plot device to get Julia without friends in England but I'm okay with it because OH MY GOD I ADORED THIS BOOK and we all know (or rather, those who have read know) that the illogical set up is SO NECESSARY.

So what's to love? Well, first of all, ENGLAND. Guys. I miss England. *furiously waves hello to my British blogger friends who I miss so much I cannot even* I love tourist England, of course, but I love the "underground" England Jason introduces Julia too. They behave like locals, not tourists, which is pretty freaking cool - maybe not something I would wanna do for a whole trip since I love me some museums, but it sounds like an amazing way to spend 2-3 days of a week-long trip.

England aside, I looooooved the set up here. Jason drags Julia out, gets her drunk, accidentally swaps phones and doesn't fix the situation right away? YEAH. THAT WOULD HAPPEN. It's pretty clear that this is what's happening from the get go, so I feel like I didn't spoil the whole plot. But even if I just did, it's kind of good to know from page one because it helps you keep up and gives insight into why Jason's behaving the way he's behaving - which might seem erratic, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty rational. Although he couldn't SUPER irrational because HOW WOULD SHE KNOW WHY HE'S MAD AT HER since he's the trickster here.

*Re-reads the last paragraph and chuckles because I realize I was totally in my own headspace and you probably cannot follow AT ALL.* <-- [This is likely a sign of a very good book]

And then there's Julia and Jason. Like, the couple. They don't make any sense and, in reality, their relationship'd probably last until June and then they'll break up because she'll go to nerd camp and he'll go to soccer camp and they're not stupid enough to think Jason won't hook up with some lifeguard and Julia won't become smitten with the future President of the USA. That's what's so very real about this book. It's about a trip abroad, about two very different people realizing there's room for something else in their lives and adapting, even if they don't stay together until death do they part. Which is pretty much how real high school couples work.

[Please note that I tried REALLY hard to find a gif of Hilary Duff at the end of A Cinderella Story mentally telling Chad Michael Murray they'd be breaking up soon because she's gonna be a COLLGE GIRL but failed *whomp*]

OH OH! I also really ended up liking the "mean girl" of the story and HATING the boy Julia was originally crushing on (y'know, the boy we were all supposed to love and root for even though Jason was being all cute and goofy - if not a bit annoying - throughout the entirety of the book). That was some pretty decent witchcraft there, Lauren Morrill.

I dunno guys, I could go on for a while, but instead I think I'm gonna go pet the pretty cover and giggle at the contents of this book instead. That seems way more productive.

The long and short of it?

Plot: It's got the wanderlust, the cuteness and just about everything else this girl loves.
World Building: There were a couple of hiccups - conveniently missing friends, single rooms... but I didn't really care about any of that.
Character Development: Julia's super Type-A at the start and while she does ease up, it's not so much that it's unbelievable. The same goes for Jason. I think he begins to realize the importance of being serious SOMETIMES. Do I think they inched close enough together to work longterm? No. But I still loved the development.
Prose: Cute and quirky, just how I love my YA wanderlust books.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I'm not always so keen on opposites attracts book, but this one's an exception for me. Maybe it's because of the England aspect or the phone hijinks or because I understood Julia and found Jason adorable even though I know I wouldn't have cared for him if we went to High School together. I don't know. That being said, if you have problems with an OCD narrator who won't carry pens, only pencils, you might wanna skip this one. If you can skirt around some world building holes and bridge the gap between two opposites, PICK UP THIS PRETTY COVER NOW.

Were you as flaily about this one as I was? What did you think of all of the different love interests (CHRIS INCLUDED)? How about that phone swap? OR ENGLAND? What did you think of Jason and Julia's England? I really just want to talk about this one, so put your thoughts in the comment box below and hit send!


  1. I've been wanting to check this one out. I always like a book that goes abroad.

  2. YAY YAY YAY!! I loved this one so much. I'm so glad you did too! It's like a romantic comedy and it was just so adorable and so much fun to read. Okay, apparently I can't talk about it without rambling haha. Just happy thoughts!

  3. I definitely enjoyed MTB, but not as much as I was expecting to initially. One scene that really stood out to me, and made me not like Jason so much, was when Julia knocked down something (I can't remember what) and made a lot of noise in te museum and then the teacher yelled at her. But I think Jason was part of the reason Julia knocked down whatever, and he didn't say anything. I'm big on taking responsibility, even when you're a high schooler.

    But I liked this enough. I didn't think it was that weird that Julia forgot her swim meet, though, even though she's Type A. I'm very Type A, and I forget things a lot. And with her being so excited about going to England, well, I could see where the swim meet would slip her mind.

    I did think it was crazy that her crush showed up though. That was WAY too convenient.

  4. This one was adorbs! I had some issues with Julia and Jason, both individually and as a couple, but I got over it enough because it was just a sweet rom com! Very glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Can't WAIT to learn all about the adorbs! I've got this one on my Kindle and it's just BEGGING ME to get to it. Also, that incoherent paragraph is hilariously incoherent. It's the beets! (TYPO INTENTIONAL.)

  6. YAY! Gaby I loved this book so much too. Lauren's writing is completely hilarious to me, and I was highlighting all of these quotes. Plus, yeah, the whole opposites thing isn't my favorite romantic plot (hate to love, btw), but it's perfectly done here, mostly because it's just fun for the summer or whatever. It's not eternal love. You summed that up PERFECTLY.

  7. This one was cute! I didn't like it AS much as I expected but I think that is because of all the Anna and the French Kiss comparisons that were thrown around it around release time. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE AATFK.

    But it was still a cute book.

  8. This sounds like something I'd absolutely love! I love England too! Although I mostly was in tourist-y England but still. I'll be reading this soon!

  9. Yay! I have a LONG-overdue ARC of this that I must, must, must dive into at some point ... it just looks like such a cute book!

  10. Yep, this book is adorable! I really liked it, particularly because of the setting (England!) and the way the love story plays out.


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