Meant to Be
by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on November 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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.
What I loved most about this book was the reader’s ability to relate to the main character. While she’s a 4.0 student who follows the rules and always comes prepared, she’s also just a normal teenage girl. Julia struggles with the loss of her father, finding her MTB (meant-to-be), and public embarrassment – often. Over spring break, Julia’s class takes a trip to London. When the teacher decides to use the “buddy system,” Julia is paired with the carefree, immature class clown Jason. When Jason gets Julia, or “Book Licker,” as he calls her, to stop living by her rule book and live like a “normal” teenager, she learns a lot about herself.
Jason takes her to a party, where she gives out her number to multiple guys. The next day she’s receiving mysterious yet romantic text messages from a guy named Chris. Julia doesn’t remember Chris, but is intrigued by him. Jason promises to help her find her mysterious admirer, with an exception. He wants Julia to start living a little.
Julia knows that her childhood crush, Mark, is her MTB. But when he unexpectedly shows up in London, paying attention to Julia for the first time in years, well, let’s just say Jason isn’t too thrilled. As Julia starts spending more time with Mark, her relationship with Jason becomes more distant.
Within a mere ten days, Julia learns more about love, life, and herself than she’s ever known before. Her entire life, she’s tried to live up to the perfect romance – her parents’. An unexpected phone call with her mother leads to news Julia wasn’t sure she was ready to hear. Julia’s mom has started really dating again, for the first time since her father died. As shocking as the news was, Julia realizes that maybe her idea of fate, MTB, and even love, isn’t perfect.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the truth behind it all. This novel basically portrayed the imperfection of true love. Through Julia, readers experience the loyalty, trust, and beauty of a meant to be couple, along with the quarrels, misunderstandings, and disagreements. In the end, it’s easy to determine that sometimes, what you’ve been searching for all along, is right where you least expect it to be.