SUMMARY: 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.
REVIEW: If you're a fan of YA contemporary romances, I would recommend Lauren Morrill's debut novel Meant To Be in a heartbeat. It's such a cute read filled with laughs, misconceptions and first love, all set against the backdrop of London, England. And how awesome is the book cover? I positively adore it!
Ever since Julia was a young girl, she's had a crush on Mark Bixford. They were neighbours and childhood friends before he moved away years ago, but now he's back in town. Even though he hasn't talked to her since then, Julie can't help declaring him to be her MTB ("Meant To Be"). An ocean apart from her best friends on the swim team and her MTB, Julia is on an educational class trip in England with the popular students she thinks don't like her. And worst of all, Jason, the class clown who drives her insane, has been assigned to be her partner. But after sneaking off to a wild party, Julia begins receiving mysterious text messages the next day and the only way she'll learn the person's identity is through Jason's help...
Julia was hilariously clumsy and endearing, finding herself in awkward situations which made me laugh out loud. In the beginning, I found her personality to be kind of uptight and judgmental to her classmates. Because they didn't show a great historical appreciation for the city of London, Julia looked down on them without really giving them a chance, but surprisingly thanks to Jason, she becomes more open-minded. Julia was so focused on reading her guidebooks that she didn't simply look up and take in the city with her own eyes, experiencing it for herself.
Whereas Julia was an absolute rule-follower, Jason wasn't afraid to break the rules and take risks, thinking about the consequences later. After his parents messy separation, he doesn't believe someone can be your MTB, yet he was still willing to help Julia find hers anyways. There was definitely more to Jason than Julia was willing to admit, but I felt like the novel only brushed the surface when it came to his backstory. I loved the close bonding moments between the pair, but my feelings were just as confused as Julia's when he would suddenly ignore her at times.
To me, if the book had evoked a greater depth of emotion and character vulnerability, I would have fallen harder for Meant To Be. There are flashes of moments when the characters expose themselves, but the book ultimately slips back into lighter territory. This wasn't necessarily good or bad, but rather, I felt some of the book reviews I've read for the novel misled me in a way. I mean, I absolutely thought Meant To Be was a fun book, but it slightly differed from my expectations, that's all.
Meant To Be is a highly entertaining read which left me eagerly flipping through the pages. I'll definitely be on the lookout for Lauren Morrill's next YA novel!