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Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Synopsis: 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.
Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill takes readers on a trip full of adventure, hilarity, and love.
Morrill could have chosen an ordinary setting for her novel, but she added a layer of depth to her novel by setting it during a nine-day class trip to England. Readers get to experience the places that can be found in tour guides and the places that not all tourists—not all natives—know to go looking for. One of my favorite settings was the place with the graffiti on the wall by the Thames. Of course, I also loved reading about London’s art museums and Shakespeare’s gravesite.
Not only does Morrill give her novel an extraordinary setting, she populates that setting with relatable characters. I was pulled into Morrill’s novel so quickly because of Julia, who narrates the novel. Julia is smart, athletic, and a bit obsessive-compulsive, but she tells the story in such a funny voice. Julia is so used to her ordered life that she can do nothing but laugh at all of the crazy things that happen to her London. I can imagine that I would do the same if my life took the same turn as Julia’s does.
Jason, the novel’s male lead and one of its many love interests, is also absolutely hilarious. He is definitely a class clown, and I could not help myself from laughing at some of the stunts he pulls. But Jason is much deeper than he lets on to most of his classmates. He is truly passionate about music, is actually from England, and has a difficult past. I enjoyed learning more and more about Jason as the novel progressed.
Like I said, Jason is far from the only love interest in Meant to Be. Julia is entirely obsessed with Mark, a boy she had a pretend wedding with as a child who moved away for years and then moved back to her hometown. Chris quotes old literature just as much as Julia does, so how exactly did the two of them meet at a party? And will she ever see him again? You’ll have to read the book to find out just which one of the many love interests Julia ends up with.
With all of these boys taking over Julia’s thoughts, it’s no surprise that the key theme here is love. What exactly is true love? Is it something that can be planned for? Is it something that takes you by surprise? Is it possible for lovers to never fight? Can true love go unrequited? With Julia, readers discover answers to these questions. But the most important answer is not one that is directly provided. Meant to Beteaches readers that all love is different.
Reviewed by: Stephanie
Rating: 4/5 Diamonds
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