Published November 13, 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 304 pages
Borrowed from library
Julia, our main character, is very straight-laced. She's not a rule breaker. She's organized to the tee. She's smart and she'd rather spend time with her nose in a book than out partying. Jason, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He ignores the rules and he's more of a go with the flow type of guy. He's goofy, loud and basically the exact OPPOSITE of Julia. But as luck would have it, the two of them are paired together for their class trip to London where Jason tries to encourage Julia to loosen up a bit and have fun.
I remember first hearing about this book a few years ago when I started blogging and being so in love with the idea. London, as you may know, is one of my dream places to visit. I have seriously hardcore love for that city and whenever a book is set in it, it gets automatically included on my TBR. It took me a while to finally pick up Meant to Be from the time I marked it down as to-be-read but I'm almost happy for the wait because it was SO GOOD and I would read it for the first time all over again if I could. It was THAT awesome.
The writing was FANTASTIC.
And usually when I say this, I'm talking about writing that falls under purple prose. You know, the really lyrical, poetic writing where half of it doesn't even make sense but it's so rhythmic and gorgeous that it doesn't really matter because it's so rhythmic and gorgeous? Meant to Be didn't have that. But it had some really fantastic narration that really elevated the story. It was like I was in Julia's head, listening to her think. It was so realistic and really, really funny. I had some really great laughs from this book and Julia's narration was one of the reasons why.
Speaking of Julia, I really liked her as a main character.
And I liked seeing her loosen up as the story progressed. But I also liked how she was still the same person she was before. She was still the same Julia who loved reading books and was organized and practical. It wasn't like she went through this ginormous change in the book that just doesn't make sense, which I find happens in some other books. She changed a bit in the sense that she discovered she could be a little bit looser, didn't have to always be so put together and uptight all the time. And she was really relatable too. Like girl, I feel you on the falling everywhere and clumsiness and the belief in "meant to be" and in general, just the belief in fate. While Julia and I aren't like kindred spirits or whatever, I definitely did understand her and loved her.
Admittedly some bits were over the top...
Like the tackling at the Tate Museum was a bit too much for me. And the search around London for this mystery guy that keeps texting Julia. All that was a bit over the top for me and wasn't really realistic and I recognized that but I also really loved this book for that. I liked how it was just fun, fun, fun even if some of the occurrences were a bit wacky and out there. It was fun and I like fun! If I could draw a comparison here to make you see what I mean, it'd be that this book is kinda like the equivalent of your favourite feel good movie. Maybe it's a rom-com (I have lots of those) or maybe it's that hilarious comedy that makes you crack up every single time you watch it. (Or maybe feel-good movies for you mean more like intense dramas or action movies or scare-you-shitless horror films which in that case, is all great and dandy but not exactly what Meant to Be is like so just forget about that comparison.) But if, in fact, your feel good movie IS a rom-com and/or a comedy, then Meant to Be is the book for you! It's like the rom-com of all books. It's hilarious, it's fun and it's a little wacky but that good wacky that makes things just so much more fun.
Okay yay let's talk about Jason now! I tried guys, I really really tried to hold back on this but I CAN'T. Jason is just so fantastic. I loved his goofiness and outgoing-ness and his whole go with the flow attitude. Like maybe I'm not as goofy or outgoing or live in the now as he is, but I definitely did see bits of myself in him (actually a lot) which is maybe why I liked him so much? It could have also been the fact that if he were a real person, he'd be like the exact type of guy I'd have a crush on which I THINK I mentioned like once. Or twice. Or a bunch of times. But seriously guys, HE CAN SING. AND HE'S FUNNY. And yeah, he's a bit crude and makes sex jokes but is it bad if I say that that made him even more endearing? Does that make me sound yucky? But yeah, I really did like him a lot and thought he was really sweet and nice and just AHH, THIS GUY. I LOVE HIM. AND I NEED HIM. Dude, he is my meant to be okay so Julia, I love you guys together but I think I love him and me more so...
While we're on the subject of Jason and Julia though, let me just say that the hate-to-love trope is one of my absolute faves.
I don't know why except that I LOVE it every time it's in a book. It just works so well for me and it worked magnificently in this book as well. Oh, the feels!
And the thing that I looked forward to the most - the London setting - was done perfectly.
I mean, can't really say anything for sure because I've never been to London but reading this book made me feel like I really WAS in London. Talk about a good armchair adventure! Because I'm still waiting on that trip to London but this was wonderful and was definitely enough of an authentic adventure that I was satisfied. It really bugs me sometimes when books are set in such interesting places but we don't get the full view of the location. But with Meant to Be it was different. I really felt like I was with Jason and Julia on their trip as well.
I loved Meant to Be so much! It was like one of those rom-coms that I put on all the time when I need some cheering up. It was a lot of fun, there were great characters, it was well written and I loved the London setting! And Jason. The cute boy is cute. All in all, just a really good book and it's one of those books that I wish I could erase from my mind just so I can relive the experience of reading it for the first time again. I had so much fun with this book and while I'll definitely be rereading it soon in the future, I don't think anything could beat reading it for the first time again because MAN, I just had such a great experience. I was laughing and squealing and shouting and swooning. Also, I find Julia understands me on a personal level when it comes to geese. I do not like pigeons but I really DO NOT LIKE geese. They're fucking terrifying, I tell you. Like I could deal with ten thousand rabid dogs chasing me but give me ten thousand geese? Nope, nope, nope. I'm out.
people who are looking for a light and fun read that's sure to cheer you up! If you like the S.A.S.S. books (like me. Oh man, I'm obsessed with them!), this is kinda like that with the travelling and the boys and the fun! I think this is really good for fans of 13 Little Blue Envelopes as well and if you like Anna and the French Kiss.
Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl says: "I think I might have found my new favorite YA contemporary romance, and that’s really saying something! I love Julia and Jason, and am quite sad that my time with them is over. I’m also sad I had to leave London and fly back to the USA with them."
Amy @ Tripping Over Books says: "Is MEANT TO BE perfect? No. It’s kind of predictable, to be honest, but I wasn’t expecting to be surprised, and that doesn’t really take away from how flat-out fun and sweet Lauren Morrill‘s debut really is."
Ellis @ Finding Bliss in Books gives it 2 stars: "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."