Author: Lauren Morrill
Part of a series? Nope
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Length: 304 pages (hardcover)
Genre: YA contemporary romance
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.
It was love at first sight.
Gaaahh, just look at that cover! I know, I know, call me a cover slut or superficial or whatever, but you can't deny that that is one good-looking cover! All those bold colors are certainly STRIKING, and I remember thinking, "Omgosh, I don't even care what that book is about--it can be about sparkly male vampires wearing sequined dresses for all I care--I need to read that book!!"
Well, on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, I finally started it. And on Friday, March 22nd (roughly 3 days later), I finished it. It took only THREE days, which is record time for me to finish a book--and read during a busy work week, might I add--so a book has to have been seriously, seriously addicting for me to gobble it up so quickly like that.
SQUEE-worthy: I love love LOVE Julia. Out of all the slightly neurotic heroines in YA lit, she ranks up there with Jessica Darling and Mia Thermopolis in my book. No, seriously. She does. I can usually spot from a mile away when authors try to make their heroines more neurotic than they really are, because the neuroses always feel more like add-ons rather than something that hugely shapes who the character is; but Julia is the real deal. I mean, the way Morrill goes through Julia's thought process and inject even the littlest detail with major OCD-type stuff makes her the kind of character that leaps off the page, the kind of character whose voice feels distinctly authentic, almost as if it's your best friend talking to you.
And then there's the boys. SQUEEE!!! (Yes, I literally squee'd in the Squee-worthy section--sue me.) I really, REALLY don't want to be spoiler-y in this review, but I do have to say one thing: the boys are not only scrummy--they are ACCURATE. These are the guys you had crushes on in middle school and high school! The aloof yet uber popular guy you secretly stalk (and concoct whole daydreams about) but is too intimidated to approach. The near-stranger you met only once and whose very mystery is the main thing that he's got going for him (who knows? he might be EXACTLY like your perfect dream guy!). The cute, incorrigible jokester who infuriates you but--admit it--gets under your skin not in an entirely bad way. And they're all so multi-dimensional, too!!
I'm not even going to get into the fact that the story takes place in London (SQUEE!) and features Beatles songs (double SQUEE!!), but Meant to Be is bar none one of the most enjoyable and resonant light-hearted contemporary YA romances I've read in a while.
"Meh" Moments: I honestly can't think of any. Nor do I want to. Few books have the power to do what this book did: transport me back in time. No, not to a different time period (though I do love my historical fiction), but to an earlier version of myself. All of a sudden, I'm fifteen years old again, holed up in my room sulking because my parents just enforced a "no books at the dinner table" rule, reading and rereading every Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, and Megan McCafferty book like they hold the secrets to surviving high school (which they totally do). So for a book to do that... well, it's no easy feat that's for sure, and one that no amount of nitpicking can undermine.
For fans of: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and if you want to go old school, the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.
Buy or Borrow? Buy! The witty chapter headings alone are worth shelling out a few bucks to have this on your bookshelf, virtual or otherwise.