Saturday, September 20, 2014

Meant to Be | Lauren Morril

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'm a sucker for cute contemporary love stories as much as any teenage girl, but I will admit I am a bit more critical of them. A good love story, in my opinion, is one of the hardest things to write. Every component has to be perfect. The characters have to be relatable and likable. The setting has to be realistic and believable. The romance itself has to be cute and natural. There's a very thin line between cute and cliché and it's so easy to cross that line.

As much as this book wasn't perfect, it was one of the better love stories. The characters were believable and real, the environment was beautiful, and most of the romance natural. 

Spoiler-Filled Review

The book begins as our main character, Julia is going on a class trip to London. For some reason books that take place in foreign countries are just way more romantic. But of course the buddy system has to be put into place, and of course she gets paired up with the her 'nemesis', Jason. And that's how our love story begins.

As a character, I could relate to Julia so much. She was basically me in eighth grade, so worried about grades and homework and following the rules that she never really had fun. Like me, she was more content alone than with people. But also like me, she longed to be more confident and not as nerdy. Throughout most of the book she would fantasize about Mark, her childhood crush, and imagine him to be her perfect guy, MTB (meant to be), which again is something I would do.

The whole relationship between Julia and Jason was kind of like something I experienced back in eighth grade. I was Julia, the good girl who's idea of fun is reading (that hasn't changed) and one guy in my class was Jason, always getting in trouble and hated by teachers. Our seats ended up together during science class and a strange friendship blossomed, pretty much exactly like Julia and Jason's. Many of the details are pretty hazy, but I know for a fact he annoyed the crap out of me and I "hated" him. Reading this book just brought back a lot of really old bittersweet memories.

The actual romance within this book was somewhat meh. The entire plot of this book was getting the two characters together, so once they were a couple the book ended, which was annoying since I wanted to see the aftermath of them being together.

I also thought the way they got together was somewhat annoying. Julia and Jason have had a bunch of moments throughout the book, including the spooning, the accidental kiss, and just them talking to each other. But once Mark came into the picture, which seemed way too convenient, Jason began getting all jealous and rude. Julia realized what a jerk Mark was and then Jason claimed he's liked her for quite some time, they kiss and are together and that's the last page. I just wanted more of them together, maybe an epilogue or something. NOT A SEQUEL THOUGH. THIS BOOK DOES NOT NEED A SEQUEL.

One more thing I wanted to discuss was the whole phone situation. Did anyone else guess that their phones would have been switched or that Chris would be a girl? I somehow guessed Chris would be a girl, but I wish it had been that hot nerdy guy in the library. I just thought it was a bit strange that Jason switched their phones on purpose just to hang out with Julia more, I thought he just gave Julia's number to Chris. I'm also curious as to hoe much their phone bill is going to be for all those texts because they texted a lot.

Overall, I didn't think it was the perfect love story, but it was pretty good. And it was a nice happy book to clear my mind.