Title: Meant to BeIt'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").
Author: Lauren Morrill
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release date: November 13, 2012
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.
Julia is the kind of girl who mostly keeps to herself and is quite the stickler for rules; a model student if there ever was one. When the chance to go to London for Spring Break comes along, she jumps at it and is ready to have the ultimate cultural experience. That's until she's buddied up with the class clown, Jason. Next thing she knows, she's breaking rules (against her will, of course) and getting in trouble. She thinks things will turn around thanks to an unexpected mystery person suddenly sending her romantic text messages after attending a party. She enlists Jason's help in figuring out who it could be, and that's where the story really begins.
The main girl -- Julia, right? -- wasn't that likeable (for some reason I kept forgetting her name was Julia. I kept thinking it was Judy). There's following the rules, then there's following the rules to the point where it gets annoying. If I was in one of the most historical cities in the world, I'd be jumping at the chance to go anywhere and everywhere. She was also very judgemental and whiny, which put a damper on my whole reading experience. And then there was Jason, who was a little too childish for my liking, even if he did get Julia to loosen up a little. They were such opposites and personally unrelatable for me, so I had a hard time connecting with either of them. I did like that the progression between them wasn't rushed, even if their romance fell flat for me.
Another thing that bugged me about the book was how it felt like it was trying too hard to be, dare I say, hipster; just pointing out that artwork came from Etsy, milking the Beatles, the word "meta", Julia's friend Phoebe's weirdly awesome and original wardrobe, etc. It just felt unnecessary to point those things out in such detail. The Anglophile in me did appreciate the cultural references and descriptions of London, so there's that.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the book. I did like how things unfolded in the end. I kept expecting some weird but predictable plot twist involving Jason actually being Chris, but luckily the book at least kept that cliché out. The explanations tied everything together, and I found myself surprised at some of the reveals. Kind of a "why didn't I think of that?" thing. The last half was definitely better than the first, which is kind of a downer for me, as I want to be engaged throughout the entire story, not just a certain part of it. But that cover, my goodness. Absolutely gorgeous.
It was a good book for me to pick up on my vacation when I was lounging by the beach every few days, but am I jumping for joy over it? Not really. Not much to say except that it was a good book to pass the time.
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