Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte BYR
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
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 from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: Although I’ve only just put Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill down and I’m still thinking and laughing about it, I feel pretty confident saying that it is one of the best romantic comedies I’ve read in a long time.
1. The Characters. Julia is one of those girls – you know the girl that always carries around too many school books, is way over-prepared, and plans everything way in advance? Yes, one of those girls. She’s pretty, but her nose is always stuck so far in a book she is clueless about what is going on around her. She is way into Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and she has been looking forward to this class trip to London forever. When her teacher shakes things up and announces that they have to be with a ‘buddy’ during each waking moment of the trip, Julia is a little bit bummed…but Julia is a lot bummed when she finds out her buddy is Jason. Ugh! Jason is the popular red-haired goofball that is never prepared and constantly makes jokes about everything. Julia absolutely cannot deal with his lack of seriousness. She doesn’t like guys like Jason – she much prefers guys like Mark, aka her MTB. He’s tall, tan, and so-very-handsome. Even though Mark doesn’t seem to remember that they were best friends when they were childhood neighbors, Julia daydreams of the moment he’ll realize that he’s madly in love with her too and they’ll live happily ever after.
Being Jason’s buddy on this trip is basically the absolute worst thing that can happen to Julia. Or is it?
2. The Story. I loved Meant To Be so much. It’s a little bit predictable: girl can’t stand guy. Girl and guy paired together by force. Girl eventually realizes she can be friends with guy she has always hated, but judged incorrectly. Girl freaks out when she realizes that she doesn’t hate guy anymore. Girl tries to figure out exactly what her feelings are for guy, etc.
But you know what? There are other things going on too. There is traveling abroad. There is coming-of-age. There is meat underneath a fun and hilarious story. And I love the way this author threw some stuff in there at the end that I didn’t predict at all.
3. The Setting. Oh how I love a great setting! This author was so great about her descriptions of London with its famous landmarks, its countryside, and its streets that I felt like I wanted to get on a plane and go to London right now. She made her character fall in love with that city (for good reasons) and in turn Julia and Jason (buddies!) makes us fall in love with London too.
4. The Romance. There is definitely a romance present. Very cute and also age-appropriate!
5. The Cover. Beautiful cover. (But sadly there is no red dress in the book.)
It is hard for me to pinpoint the best thing about Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill. She has taken fun characters that we can relate to and put them in a story that we can visualize. She also threw in some great pop culture references, but not too many. The story has so many fun moments, cute moments, and actual funny moments that I would love for someone to adapt this into a film because I think it would be a great movie. And like I said up above, even with all of the fun there is actually story in there.
When I first began the book, I didn’t realize I would end up loving it as much as I did. Julia is so straight-laced that I had to laugh at her – she is written with so much humor. She has some quirks that are pretty much exactly the same as me, and I loved this. As she becomes less rigid and uptight, and as she learns to break some rules and have a little fun, Julia also learns that there is way more to Jason than just jokes and being a dork. Julia and Jason complement each other well as characters and buddies and friends and maybe more, although it takes the two of them a while to figure that out.
Lauren Morrill has a great writing style. I think it takes a pretty special writer to craft a romantic comedy that is actually funny. (Sometimes funny stories just make me acknowledge their humor; this one made me actually laugh.) I’ll can’t wait to read more work by Morrill, especially because Meant To Be was so darn fun and left me feeling so happy.
I recommend Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill for readers who are looking for a great YA romantic comedy. This is not an issues-heavy book and it leaves you with a light and wonderful, bubbly-happy feeling when you finish reading it. I speak truth.
Great Setting – London
Romance – Slowly Developing, with no triangles
but there are several crushes & mystery texts!
Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Is MEANT TO BE on your to-read list?