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.
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Romance, England, and Shakespeare. What an absolutely perfect mixture! As soon as I read the description and saw the mention of Shakespeare, I had to pick it up. I’m honestly starting to wonder if I should just keep my education going and get a PhD in Shakespeare study because I love the playwright so much. This was such a cute book. It was predictable in some ways, but it was still very cute and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There were a few things about it that I wasn’t a fan of, but otherwise, it was a great YA contemporary story.
Poor Julia, the main protagonist of the story, experiences so many ups and downs during the days she spends on a class trip in London with some fellow juniors. Of course, as luck would have it, none of her actual friends are on the trip with her, so she plans to spend the majority of her time glued to her guidebooks and enjoying the sights and sounds of London. Julia also has a practically perfect vision for what love and romance should be, as her parents were always the perfect model for her. Sadly, her father died when she was seven years old, so she has kept his spirit alive by making sure to visit the places in England that her parents visited on their honeymoon.
Of course, not everything looks up for Julia, as she is forced to be trip buddies with class clown, Jason. However, as Julia learns throughout the book, there is more to Jason than anyone knows. It doesn’t help though that the two don’t exactly start off on the right foot, especially after a rumor is spread about them becoming members of the “mile high club” together, if you catch my drift. From that moment on, Julia and Jason are constantly either butting heads or they are enjoying the company of one another. While this did annoy me to some extent, I figure that this was a pretty good portrayal at how young adults may actually behave to those they care about, even if they don’t know they care about the person.
The description used in the book was fantastic. I could picture myself walking through every scene because of how detailed it was. While I personally visited London when I was only nine-years-old (that has been thirteen years ago!), I don’t remember much about what it looked like; however, once Hyde Park was mentioned, I started to remember bits and pieces of what I could recall from my own trip, that’s how awesome the description was in this book. The places that Julia visits while on her trip are fantastic as well. I mean, hello, Stratford-Upon-Avon and The Globe? Count me in!
Julia is the type of character who never does anything outside of the box. She never breaks the rules and is always stuck in a book instead of actually living her life without the help of information she finds. Being paired off with Jason may seem like a horrible time for Julia, at first, considering how opposite Jason is from her, but Julia is able to experience England on a whole new level with the help of Jason and his own rule breaking. I will say that Julia looked down on everyone else quite a bit and that was no fun to read about. It literally felt like no one and nothing was good enough for her. By the end of the book though, Julia has learned quite a few things about herself, as well as a few other people. Especially her MTB, aka Meant To Be (hence the title.) The whole book is about Julia and her MTB, as she and her best friend, Phoebe, call it. Julia chases the fantasy that a guy named Mark is her MTB. But then she starts receiving mysterious texts from someone named Chris after a drunken party. The book revolves a bit around Jason helping Julia find out exactly who her MTB is, even though he doesn’t believe in it himself.
There are a few twists and instances in the book that I find completely hard to believe, but I guess you have to sometimes overlook those and just read the book without over-analyzing it. Of course, I actually predicted the ending differently, so I was pleasantly surprised when the book didn’t exactly end how I imagined it would (and I had been expecting a different ending for at least half of the book.) I really enjoyed the writing style of Lauren Morrill as well. It flowed and worked together in the way that made this book one that wasn’t easy to put down. Lauren Morrill easily portrayed a teenage girl telling a story about her class trip to London and her experience with romance.
Meant To Be was a fun and easy read, filled with genuine feelings, emotions, and actions of a teenager.