Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill


Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Series: Standalone
Published: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
290 pages (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From NetGalley
Warning: May contain spoilers
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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.

 
When I saw the cover and synopsis of Meant to Be, I knew I had to read it. It sounded cute and funny, and that’s exactly what it was. While it did have its issues, it still managed to be, in my opinion, another in a line of great contemporary young adult books of 2012.

I had mixed feelings about Julia. I could relate to her in a lot of ways - I’m a planner (although not to the extent she was), and I love to learn and read and explore. I could also relate to her with losing a parent and having those emotions stirred up even though it happened a long time ago. She was smart and could be very funny (not always on purpose, which often made it funnier), but she was also a know-it-all and was constantly correcting people when they made mistakes. Everything was very black and white for her, and a lot of the things she said and did irritated me. She would get an idea in her head and there was no swaying her, even though she was wrong most of the time. She dwelled on things so much that she didn’t enjoy half the trip - a trip that she had been waiting her whole life to take.

She does, however, grow as a character, and despite her flaws I enjoyed watching her develop and learn a lot of life lessons that are particularly hard to learn, especially at that age: appearances can be deceiving; not everyone fits into the little mold you place them in; sometimes you’re wrong, sometimes people surprise you beyond belief, and sometimes you get your heart broken because of it, but other times it can be the best thing in the world. Even though the overall theme of the book was light and humourous, there were lessons to be learned, and I appreciated that.

Jason was a conundrum, and I have to admit I liked that about him, because as a character he was never predictable. He would be snarking at Julia and being a jerk one minute, but then the next minute he’d do something totally swoonworthy. Julia was so regimented and anal, and I loved that Jason made her do things she wouldn’t normally do, and helped her to realize that life isn’t all about rules and guidelines and restrictions. I enjoyed the scenes between them, whether they were arguing, teasing each other, or stepping around their growing feelings. They were comical, adorable, and at times, infuriating.

What I love about books set in another country, and something Ms Morrill captured perfectly in Meant to Be, was that London was like another character in the book. London is one of my top 3 dream destinations; I’ve wanted to go there for as long as I can remember, and this book made me want to go even more. I felt like I was traipsing alongside Julia and Jason through the city, soaking it all in.

Overall, while Meant to Be wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it very much. The flaws within the characters made them more human and believable; the setting was vibrant and authentic, and just plain perfect; and the story itself had all the elements - humour, romance, tension, and genuine emotion - that make contemporary young adult my favourite genre.

Disclaimer
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No money or compensation of any sort exchanged hands. I review books to share my love of reading, and I'm always completely honest in my reviews, good or bad.
*Thank you to Delacorte Books and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book for review.*

 Have you read Meant to Be? What did you think? What's your favourite book set in a foreign country?


3 comments:

  1. Okay, so last night I was asking myself, "Which book review did I schedule for tomorrow?" When I realized it was Meant To Be, I remembered that you read it too, and then I thought, "I'll bet Marie is going to schedule hers for the SAME DAY." When I saw that you did this morning, it gave me a good laugh.

    Anyways... I think I tolerated Julia's personality at first because of Jason purposely making things harder for her. I liked that conflict. It's one of my favorite kinds of conflict in books--two characters getting frustrated with each other and then falling in love. Lol. I'm a crazy romantic sometimes. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  2. Ha, that is too funny! Shouldn't surprise me AT ALL though, we are so in synch!

    I like that kind of conflict too...it's amusing and it's different from the typical love at first sight or tralala everything's all sunshine and roses. Julia definitely needed someone to challenge her, and Jason did that. It was cute and funny.

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  3. I love the sound of Jason and Julia (she sounds so strait-laced!) and I'm pleased to read she progressed as a character.

    It sounds like this book has all of the elements I love in a YA novel. I'm popping this one on my TBR pile :)

    Thank-you for a wonderful review Marie x

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love hearing what you have to say, and I appreciate every single comment. I hope to see you here again soon! ♥
~Marie

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