Weekend before last, I had a chance to dive in and finish Lauren Morrill's fun teen romance, Meant to Be. To put it mildly, I loved it. Maybe I'm a huge sucker for European getaways or locations, but this book really made me happy. In short, it was just a fun, short read that checked all the boxes.
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
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").
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: I can't say that I was Miss Mature-Beyond-My-Years when I was in high school, but I can say that I definitely related to the desire to achieve and keep the rules that we find in Julia. Here she is on a spring break school trip to London, and of course, gets paired with the most obnoxious guy in her class, the guy who clowns around in every circumstance and seems to break every rule--Jason. Why did she have to get paired with him for all of their excursions?
On their trip in London, they see plenty of famous sites, but it's what is going on in the side story that makes the trip fun. Julia keeps getting pulled into crazy situations by Jason, breaking rules and staying out late for parties and late-night jaunts around London. All Julia wants is to do well in the class while maybe getting noticed by the guy of her dreams or this new guy she met at a crazy party that Jason drug her to. Why does Jason take such an interest in her love life though?
We see a fun relationship open up between Jason and Julie, that unfolds over the course of her own interest in an anonymous texter she supposedly met at the party. Between the flirty texts, crazy advice, and even crazier jaunts Jason takes Julia on, we start to get the hint that Jason might not be all that he puts on. Morrill does a great job of making Jason grate on our nerves, and yet turn around and be endearing in the next breath. He's a fallible character for sure, which matches the insecurities and unfulfilled desire to be recognized that are in Julia. These two feel real and very much like kids you might run into on a school trip. Because of their different strengths and weaknesses, they really help one another to grow over the course of the novel, which was fun to watch. I wanted to see Julia gain the notice of the cuties she admired, and I wanted Jason to get to the root of what made him feel like he needed to act out.
In short, I loved this young adult read. There is a fun storyline, relatable characters, and a bit of growth along the way. If you want a great escape read, with characters and locations that you'd like to visit, then I really recommend you give this one a try!
*FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a library copy of the novel.