Review: Meant to Be

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Meant to BeMeant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte BFYR on November 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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 theβ€”gaspβ€”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.

OMG, you guys, pardon me while I flail freaking everywhere over how incredibly hilarious and wonderful and perfect for me this book is! Ahhhhh! There are certain authors who are just like made of magic for me, you know? Their every written word speaks to me. They’re funny and clever, and say express the things that I think and feel all of the time, and, were I the kind of person to mark up my books, their books would be a mess of notes. Well, Lauren Morrill has just joined that esteemed crew with her debut novel Meant to Be.

I could tell straight off that this novel would be a fantabulous read for me. The book opens with, “There are certain things in life that just suck. Pouring a big bowl of Lucky Charms before realizing the milk is expired, the word ‘moist,’ falling face-first into the salad bar in front of the entire lacrosse team . . .” It you can make me laugh with the first two sentences, things are looking up. I proceeded to highlight a bunch of quotes that spoke to me and made me laugh. If you go on GR, right now and look up quotes by Lauren Morrill, I added all of them, because I’m a nutter and obsessed.

My very favorite aspect of Meant to Be is how well-drawn Julia is. She totally rocks, but which I mean she’s kind of awkward and judgmental and anal-retentive. Julia might have more in common with me than any heroine I’ve ever encountered, with our main differences being her skill as a swimmer and her dedication to homework. Julia, like me, is not a rule-breaker, pretty much as a rule, and, when she does break them, it’s this sort of painful mix of fun and fear. She loves reading more than just about anything else and has only one close friend, Phoebe. On top of that, she’s introverted and has curly, frizzy hair she cannot figure out what to do with. My advice to her on that last one is confidence; if you pretend it looks awesome, a lot of people will be fooled.

What was most familiar to me about Julia was her perspective. Julia’s mental dialog is pretty much exactly what it’s like to live in my head, especially my less self-aware high school brain. Despite being incredibly intelligent and witty, Julia, when in a social situation, generally fails to prove herself verbose and lacks witty retorts. Yet, in her head, she has this constant judgmental, snarky commentary running at all times, which, of course, deserts her at times of need. She also has a temper and doesn’t realize how harsh or superior she comes off to other people. To me, Julia is one hundred percent realistic, believable and hilarious.

I will say that the only other strongly-developed character is Jason, and even he takes a definite back seat. This is no surprise given how caught up Julia is in her own world and impressions of things and people. Since it’s just like my mind, I can tell you right now that she’s not the most reliable narrator. Meant to Be is definitely driven by Julia, so I suspect that if you don’t like her the book won’t be much fun for you.

The romance does not go anywhere surprising, but it’s totally one of my favorite formulas. I’ve always been so weak to the boy and girl who don’t like each other at first plotline, because of my love of Pride and Prejudice, which Morrill is obviously a total fangirl about too, based on the numerous references. Shakespeare comes up a lot too, of course, but, if this is actually a retelling of anything (I thought it was a Shakespeare retelling, though I suspect I made that up), it’s of P&P.

In Meant to Be, Julia has to deal with a lot of personal issues surrounding her own expectations. She has love built up into this epic construct in her mind, and it’s totally messing her up. Again, I relate to this to an insane degree. Her realizations are important ones and I think this sends a great message to teens compared to all of the obnoxious teen love lasts forever stuff. While Jason and Julia do, I think, have amazing chemistry, I also don’t know what I see them making a great couple for all time, and I like that.

The last thing I must mention is the setting. Meant to Be takes place during a class trip to London. Julia has signed up with out her best friend and is stuck with a whole bunch of other teens she mostly doesn’t like while trying to enjoy herself in a foreign country. Girl, I have been there and it is unfortunate, especially since I didn’t have a Jason. Meant to Be is one of those books that makes you feel like you’re traveling. I already wanted to go to London so, so much, and now I want to just pack up and go right now, though I’m far too plan-oriented for that, as Julia would understand.

Though I had a couple of small issues with Meant to Be (mostly to do with the cell phones the school provided for them during the trip, which I so do not see happening), I completely adored the whole book and will be devouring everything else Morrill writes as soon as I possibly can.

Favorite Quote:

“There’s a difference between preferring books to parties and preferring sixteen cats to seeing the light of day.”

30 responses to “Review: Meant to Be”

  1. Natalie says:

    So excited for this one! And this made me even more pumped. It’s very promising that the main character doesn’t like the word ‘moist,’ because really, who does?

    Great review!

  2. Great Review!

    I keep seeing a lot of good reviews for this and I love the cover. So I think I need to pick it up.

  3. Nori says:

    Yay!!! I want to read this one so bad!!! So glad you liked it. It makes me need to read this even more.

  4. awesome review! I did enjoyed this novel but it wasn’t as great as what you experienced. I did like Julia, though Jason got on my nerves with how immature he is. Still, it was an enjoyable novel!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    • Christina says:

      Awww, yeah, Jason isn’t my favorite boy ever, but I think Julia needed a bit of immaturity in her life. That’s why I don’t see them as lasting forever, but I think they can have a nice year or so, maybe. He helps her loosen up, and that’s a good thing.

  5. Sirtsu says:

    I really, really want to read this book! Haha. Your review just got me all kinds of pumped up and now I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

    P.S. I’ve been to London and it’s freaking amazing! Looking out of the London Eye at night is a sight you must see! Hope you go there one day πŸ™‚

    Siiri @ :ittle Pieces of Imagiation

  6. Giselle says:

    Bahaha omg really? I never thought this book would be so good. I have it for review next week and I was debating skipping it but not anymore! “The word ‘moist'” bahaha. I love the same type of humor. Clever and smart, and kind of sarcastic. It just cracks me up. Also Julia — and I guess you — sound exactly like me. I think of retorts like.. 20 mins LATER! I’m much more exciting to talk to online bahah. Anyways, I’m fairly sure I Will like her. And the romance actually sounds refreshing, and believable! Better than one where they basically want to get married within 4 paragraphs. >.< So nope, not skipping this one! πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      Lately, I’ve been surprising you left and right with my positive reviews. Who am I? You totally shouldn’t skip this!

      Sounds like you’ll like Julia. From what I hear, the people who didn’t like it, didn’t like Julia, so enjoyment seems to hinge on that completely.

      Yes, no getting married after four paragraphs. None of that chilluns!

  7. Bookworm1858 says:

    I just started reading this and am pretty enchanted-can’t wait to find out what happens for Julia at the party and for the rest of the trip!

  8. Good point about the cellphones not being all that realistic hahahaha. I doubt my school would have done that.

    Also, I like the point you make about high school love not being the ultimate one and only forever, because I think that’s true for almost everyone I know.

    And also! I liked Julia as a character, thus I liked the book, but I have friends who found her annoying, thus did not like the book.

    • Christina says:

      Well, also, there’s one point where her phone runs out of minutes (because it’s prepaid) and then the next morning she gets the phone out of the charger and it works again. Umm, no, it wasn’t dead; it was out of minutes.

      Yup, I like when it doesn’t need to be an epic true love story.

      I totally see that.

  9. Uh oh! I think I may be on the way to preferring 16 cats to seeing the light of day. :0

  10. Fantabulous? WE DO HAVE A LOT IN COMMON. That’s MY word. Give it back! LOL! πŸ™‚

    I have to read this now. It’ been on my AMZ wishlist for a while but I always skip over it for something else. I better quit doing that, huh? Great review!

  11. Omg woman, you are so bad for my TBR list today! First the Pirate one now this. It sounds so funny, I love the start that you quoted. The characters sound fantastic and i love that it is funny! I am going to be picking this one up for sure!

  12. Kat Balcombe says:

    OK the first line totally would have had me impressed too! The word moist always makes me giggle. Especially when someone says it with a plummy English accent. Time for book-stalking!

    Great review πŸ˜‰

  13. I had heard that this was good, but now I’m putting this on my get as soon as humanly possible list!
    Julia sounds just like my kind of girl!

  14. So I can’t read this review because I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK! Lucky you for getting it early!

  15. KM says:

    We finally agree!!! This is my favorite book I’ve read all year I think, and I also can’t wait for more books from her!!!

    • Christina says:

      Yay! *throws confetti*

      It’s not quite my favorite book of the year, but I did love love love it. She already has another book listed on GR and I am SO excited about that.

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