Thursday, November 1, 2012

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Book:  Meant To Be
Author:  Lauren Morrill
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date:  November 18, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  A+

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.
(cover and description from
Initial reaction
::sighs:: I just love loud, funny ginger boys!

Cover Story
Look at those colors!  The background of London!  The couple in the forefront……well, maybe not them so much.  They don’t look like high school kids to me.  And the boy should be more disheveled if he’s supposed to be the main male character.  Other than that, I love this cover.  It’s so colorful, bright and fun, just like Jason and this trip.  And the title is perfect for the story and catchy.

What’s the story?
I’m just going to go ahead and admit that I have a soft spot for gingers.  I do.  It goes all the way back to my high school days when I had these friends, 3 brothers, who were all red-headed and just as wonderful as can be.  They were loud and funny and great to be around.  Wait!  That sounds just like Jason in this novel!  Actually, he is just like one of my friends from high school and maybe that’s why I loved him so much.  Of course, it’s also because he’s a really great guy.

So here’s the deal.  Julia is stuck on a trip to London with her classmates but none of them are her friends.  She is secretly in love with a boy at her school who was her friend when they were little and she and her friend always talk about how he is her MTB—meant to be.  Her father died when she was 7 and she is convinced that her parents’ marriage was just perfect.  Julia is a bit of a nerd and always has her nose in a book and she’s just a little anal about schedules and routines and learning.  Ok, she’s a lot anal.

Enter Jason Lippencott.  He is loud.  He makes lots of sex jokes.  He chews grape bubble gum all the time.  He is always in trouble.  He is the antithesis of Julia and everything she cares about.  So what happens?  The teacher assigns everyone a trip buddy based on last names.  And of course, Lippencott comes right after Liechenstein.  Do you see where this is going?

This book is like a perfect mix of chick lit and a comedy of errors.  It’s a good thing the author keeps referencing Shakespeare because the plot is as full of missed opportunities and mistaken identities as any of Shakespeare’s comedies.  It’s brilliantly pulled together.  It also reminded me a bit of Bridget Jones’ Diary, with Julia pining after one guy that she thinks is “it” while totally missing out on Mr. Perfect right in front of her face.  She and Jason have adventures all over London and even Stratford-upon-Avon.  She makes him look at cultural stuff.  He makes her break rules.  They fight.  A lot.  Jason acts in ways that totally confuse Julia. And to make things even more fun, Julia met a bunch of guys at a party Jason dragged her to on the first night and one of them keeps texting her.  So they also chase the mystery guy, Chris, all over London as he keeps texting Julia and telling her where he is.  There were moments that were frustrating, funny, poignant and sweet and they all came together in this perfect, messed-up mix of a book.

This book has left me with a massive book hangover.  You know when you read those books that you can’t get out of your brain and you keep thinking about them at random times during the day?  You try to start another book but none of them can hold your attention because you keep going back to this awesome book you just finished?  Yep.  That’s this book.  I have found myself rifling through the pages (not easy on a Nook, I tell you!) re-reading my favorite parts and looking at the text messages at the beginning of each chapter and laughing because now I know the “secret”.  So if you don’t want to become totally addicted to a book and obsess over it like a 12 year old girl obsesses over Justin Bieber, you probably shouldn’t read it.  But if you love the feeling of closing a book and being totally in love with said book, go pick this one up ASAP.

The Soundtrack

Try by Jillian Edwards

Go Together by Jillian Edwards

Be My Only by FM Radio

Here’s Where We Begin by Joshua Radin

As Lovers Go by Dashboard Confessional

Here, There and Everywhere by The Beatles

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A+.  In fact, I’m pretty sure this one is going to make it onto my Best of 2012 list.  If you love chick lit or funny romances or you just have a soft spot for silly red-headed boys, you are going to love this book.  And probably love Jason too!

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