The Selective Collective reads MEANT TO BE by LAUREN MORRILL
This month for The Selective Collective, we were so incredibly lucky enough to receive copies of Lauren Morrill’s debut novel, MEANT TO BE from Delacourte Press for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have the incredible pleasure to post my review for MEANT TO BE!
Title: Meant to Be
by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 11, 2012
Related Posts: Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny
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.
I absolutely, positively adored this book. This was the perfect contemporary romance and just what I needed – a nice breath of fresh air after being slightly disappointed in my last couple of reads. Lauren Morrill’s writing was fresh, fun, and real. I always get a bit worried whenever I read books that are set in places that are so foreign to me – I’ve never been across the pond to London (or off the continent of North America for that matter) – so I was a tiny bit hesitant that I would be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns that London would hold for our story. Upon reading, I found that it wasn’t the case at all. Morrill did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was on my very own vacation with the characters. Everything was beautifully described and I didn’t feel lost in a foreign country at all. Julia was a fantastic main character for me to read about. I absolutely love any character that has an utterly nerdy side because, well, I can relate! I may not have been as intensely organized as Julia, but if there was ever a nickname for me at this very moment in time, “Book Licker” could definitely be it! What I loved the most about Julia is that she not only has a life changing experience just by being over in London, but she also transforms as a person. She learns a lot about herself by breaking the rules (many, many rules) and by figuring out how to deal with her assigned buddy and current nemesis Jason. Jason was also another interesting character for me. We start off by seeing exactly how Jason and Julia conflicted with each other. Julia saw him as nothing but immature and a bully. He teases her, initiates rumors, even goes as far as sticking gum in her hair and calling her “Book Licker”. As the story goes on, we see that there’s so much more to Jason than people’s first impressions, especially Julia’s. The relationship that begins to develop between Jason and Julia once they’re forced together is a roller coaster of emotions that makes us wonder how they’ll end up once the London trip is over. I also really love the “meant to be” story line. So many times I’ve felt the same way as Julia – there’s someone out there for each one of us, a “one and only”, and I really do believe that where you end up in the end is where you’re supposed to be. What I really loved about this book is the message that Fate can only take you so far and you have to take control of your own destiny. You have to be active in your own life and you can’t just sit back and expect the world to happen around you. What I really loved is that we see Julia idolizing her parents’ MTB relationship and she expects it to happen for her. In the end, we see her come around to reality a little bit and realize that although that does happen for some people, not everyone can have this incredible, coincidental, perfect love story. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect and that really turns out to be your MTB situation. Although the final message almost appeared to be that there is no such thing as “meant to be” for everyone, what I like to take from it is that “meant to be” can happen for everyone, but it’s just not always what you expect it to be and not always what you’re looking for.
Julia: Oh, Julia! I totally could see myself being best friends with Julia. Or I could see myself as Julia. I loved watching her transformation throughout this book and seeing how she discovers different bits and pieces about herself as the book progresses. It really reminded me a lot of similar situations that I went through as a teenager, figuring out what rules to break and what ideas it’s time to grow out of.
Jason: I really enjoyed watching Jason and Julia go back and forth from enemies to friends to enemies to two dewey-eyed kids falling in love. The best part about Jason’s character is that we see him as a bully, a name-caller, and immature, but that’s just what everyone sees on the surface. His character is much more deep and involved than Julia or her classmates realize. I’m really not sure if we see Jason actually grow throughout the story or if we just discover layers of him that were always buried underneath. Either way, I loved seeing his transformation through Julia’s eyes and how through these revelations, their relationship changes entirely.
These quotes are from the Advanced Reader’s Copy — Page numbers and wording may vary from published copy.
p 25-26: “I have my own e-reader, but I hardly ever use it. I need to fold down pages and flag passages with sticky notes. I need to experience books, not just read them.” (I then proceeded to tweet Lauren Morrill about how much this described me to a tee. And I flagged the passage with a sticky note)
p 29: “‘The Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed or almost twenty years. So unless her parents are visiting 1992, they’re in the Czech Republic.'”
p 152: “In fact, he has been the exact opposite of helpful (help-empty?).”
p 191: (Jason) “‘Well, either you stand here in this rainstorm, or you take a chance with me.'” (My favorite line of the entire book)
And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of MEANT TO BE so please go visit their take on the book as well!