Meant To Be
by Lauren Morrill
Released on: November 13th, 2012
Published by: Delacorte
Rating: 2 stars
Word rating: I feel betrayed
Reviewed by: Ellis
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.
Welcome to today's episode of Ellis is having a sad. Joining us will be Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill, the fluffy contemporary romance that was supposed to get me out of a reading slump and then totally betrayed me. I know I'm not the fastest reader, but this book isn't even that long and it still took me about a week to finish it. Needless to say, the struggle of getting through this book was very real.
It's hard to like a book when the protagonist annoys you so much that your eyes never really stop rolling, but it can be done. Unfortunately, this was not one of those "but it can be done" moments. I've loved me some judgemental characters in the past, but Julia was just pushing it. She's a snob of the highest order. According to her, "reading on a kindle isn't truly experiencing a book", and she doesn't really want to hear you sing "unless you're signed to some record label". Because only you're only truly, deservedly talented when the traditional channels approve, amirite?
I know all of this is part of her personality as a Book Licker, and it's solid characterisation in itself, but that doesn't mean I liked her as a character. I really wanted to, because there are moments when she's genuinely funny and sassy. I loved that she can do a bunch of push-ups just like that, and how disciplined she is about her daily routine.
However, she's also a know-it-all, a klutz, which doesn't really matter to me but fair warning if this is a thing that annoys you, and has the most annoying tendency of bringing everything back to her. The one moment I truly did like her was when she was drunk, which was a moment of hilarious entertainment. When I told Christina this, she basically retorted with "so you liked her when she wasn't herself?" and I think that just says it all.
This is where I'm going to get extremely nitpicky. So, Julia goes on a trip to London with her class, and they go to this special hotel because one of the teachers is connected. Apparently, her room is super small, but it still fits a queen-sized bed, a fancy bathtub that's almost made for her, and enough room between the two for her to move around. That's not really my definition of "small", but oh well. The second thing was that apparently she never showers, even after having partied all night and being seriously hungover. Let me tell you, when you're travelling with a group, that is definitely something people will out, especially when you're not exactly friendly with the majority of your travelling companions.
But there's always hope when there's a ship, right? Well, that sort of completely tanked. In my opinion, there was no chemistry between Julia and Jason whatsoever, and tragically, I shipped nothing. I didn't even care enough to unship it. Jason is also a pretty inconsistent character. One moment he's this big douche who tries to embarrass her by making thrusting motions behind her back and the next he's this asshole who cares. It actually pains me how much I did not care for him, because loveable assholes are my kryptonite.
While it gets terribly convoluted towards the end, and almost forced with all the misunderstanding piling up, there were things I liked. As I mentioned before, Julia occasionally really did make me laugh, or at least snort. I also like that Jason isn't your typically WHOABAMHOT love interest. He's a redhead with a not terribly hot bod. I'm not saying that this is unattractive, just that it's not standard YA romance material, and I like that. It's refreshing, because hullo people of medium hotness play the attraction game just as well. I also appreciated that he was rather confident. And what I will certainly applaud is that, while you might think you have the story all figured out when you just read the synopsis, it's not as predictable as it seems. I just didn't particularly care for it, which is really sad.