Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review: Meant to Be

Meant to Be
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 2012
Page Count: 304
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

This beauty has been patiently waiting on my Kindle since its release. I kept pushing this one further down my TBR list in order to read publisher sent items and requests, but this summer I decided that I needed to do some reading for pure enjoyment. Summer is the perfect time to read contemporary romances. It always helps me capture the feeling of my own youthful summers.

Meant to Be is a fun filled romp through the streets of London with an unlikely duo on a school field trip. Julia is a control freak who would prefer to be buried in a book or swimming laps than interacting with other people. The alphabet curses her with being field trip buddies with Jason, the class clown. Jason is more into having fun than paying attention to the historical relevance of every nook and cranny London has to offer. These two couldn't be more different, but as they continue to spend time together, they begin to see one another in a different light. Jason learns to appreciate Julia's historical and literary tidbits while Julia learns to loosen up a bit. 

Julia is an interesting girl who has her life planned out to the second. In her mind, we all have one great love in our lifetime. Her life plan includes Mark, her Meant to Be (MTB). In her mind, Mark is the perfect guy and she creates a fantasy of what their life together will be like. She doesn't stop to truly get to know Mark. Jason struggles to help Julia see that her vision of Mark is nothing more than an illusion.

I'm not sure if the author intended to write a Pride and Prejudice (P&P) influenced novel, but that's exactly what Morrill did. I like to think it was intentional as Julia is constantly discussing the P&P and her love for Jane Austen. Julia, like Elizabeth Bennett, thinks she knows everything about everyone. She judges people without really knowing them and doesn't always interpret their motives correctly. She's also so stubborn that she has to learn things on her own. Her prejudices towards Jason keeps them from becoming friends sooner. She always assumes that he is just an asshat, but she never takes the time to get to know him. Eventually, she does begin to see him in a different light.

Unlike Elizabeth Bennett, Julia was not as easy to like. Her constant judgements and pigheadedness got on my nerves. There were moments when I wanted to reach into the book and knock some sense into the girl. Don't get me wrong, I did like Julia, it just took some effort. She appeared to be so put together, but her decisions were often illogical. I suppose when matters of the heart arise, we all make stupid mistakes. 

What did I enjoy about Julia? Well, in some ways, she's a girl after my own heart. Julia is a voracious reader and talks about books as if they are her dearest friends. She's happiest when she's reading, highlighting, or adding a sticky note to text. I also liked how much she knows about history and literature. The two of us would certainly have a lot to talk about if we were to ever meet. I also like that she's a hopeless romantic. 

Jason is like Mr. Darcy in some ways. He can be standoffish - one minute he is dancing with Julia in a bookstore and the next minute he is pretending that she doesn't exist. Darcy gave me emotional whiplash the first time I read P&P and Jason follows suit. I couldn't figure out what his deal was, but I was annoyed that he never seemed to take anything seriously. That was the one trait that set him firmly apart from Darcy. Darcy was always formally serious while Jason treats seriousness as if it were a plague. I was surprised to learn more about him as the story unfolded; he has hidden depths.

There is also a character who put me in the mind of Wickham, but I won't talk about him in the review. I'll let you discover him on your own.

The romance in this one was sweet and I had a few swoon worthy moments. The scene in the rainstorm in the field - YOWZA. That moment sizzles off the page in spite of its relative chasteness. Every girl should have a kiss like that at least once in her life.

Meant to Be is a fun contemporary romance littered with historical and literary tidbits. I'd highly recommend this one if you're aching for a trip to London, but can't afford the airfare. This one does for London what Anna and the French Kiss does for Paris. Lauren Morrill's writing is solid and I'm excited to read her work in the future; she knows the right elements to make a contemporary romance addicting reading.


One Last Gripe: My reaction to Julia coupled with a bit of predictability in the plot kept this from getting a 5 rating.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: London - I adored this setting and can't wait to see it for myself one day!

First Sentence: There are certain things in life that just suck.

Favorite Character: Jason

Least Favorite Character: Ryan



It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for - gasp - the wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's the 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. Julia also believes in fate, and that Mark, her childhood crush, is her MTB - her meant-to-be.

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: 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 live a little along the way. And thus begins a wild-good 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.

6 comments:

  1. Well, andrea
    i LOVE Jane Austen
    She will always be one of my favovite authors
    And Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite book
    I LOVE everything about ti
    So if this looks even a little bit like P and P, or is almost as good as it is, then I am gonna read it
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. The P&P influence may just be me, but I felt like it was a strong one. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. Amazing review! Now...I have to go buy this on my Kindle xD
    Jackie

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    Replies
    1. YES! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this novel after you've had a chance to read it.

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  3. Love the Anna and the French Kiss Comparison! So true! If you want a hard copy of the book it is 1 of 12 that I am giving away on my blog currently!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OOO, I'll have to check out the giveaway soon.

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