Book Review: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Published: November 13, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Julia Lichtenstein should be over the moon. After all, she's in London for a class trip. Home of Shakespeare, Big Ben, and culture of all kinds. Unfortunately, she's been paired with obnoxious Jason Lippencott as her buddy, and now instead of spending her time viewing the cultural sights, she has to keep the world's biggest three-year-old out of trouble.
Jason may be the kind of person who will wrestle on the floor of the Tate Modern and sneak out to a party the first night they're in town, but he's at least willing to help her solve the mystery of her secret-admirer texter. Julia's heart is pledged to Perfect Mark (who will notice her one day; really, he will). But that's no reason she can't have a little London fling. Together, they'll discover a whole new side of London, and maybe Julia will discover the one that's Meant to Be.
If I had to characterize this book in three words, it would be unlikely, predictable, and delicious.
Unlikely: Boy, did these seventeen-year-olds get a long leash. One chaperone, and that one incredibly hapless and easy to fool? Hours and hours of rambling around in one of the biggest cities in the world? Okay. I get that some measure of independence was necessary to the plot. But as an adult reading, I was thinking, "Jesus, teacher-woman, you're so lucky none of these kids fell in the Thames or died of alcohol poisoning." We won't even get into the whole lack of jet-lag and the incredible hotel they got.
Predictable: Oh, come on, people. I knew who she'd end up with the moment I read the synopsis. I'm sure you did, too. Have all the romantic comedies ever taught us nothing? I also knew that Perfect Mark was going to be a prick in Prince Charming's clothing, and that Julia would be knocked off her rocker by both these revelations. Not to mention that, by the end, uber-uptight Julia would finally loosen up and learn that the rules don't have to be followed every second. Some details didn't work out exactly the way I thought they would at the end (the mystery texter, for example), but the shape of things was pretty much exactly the way I thought it'd be.
However, my last adjective? Delicious. Sometimes you need something that's pure sweet fluff, and Meant to Be fit that bill. I gulped it down in a couple of hours. Following Julia's roller-coaster ride to realization that the perfect boy is an impossible dream, but a flawed boy can be even better was just the kind of escapist fun I needed.
Also, Jason was a totally believable 17 year old. Sometimes the boys in these books are so perfect you want to hire a private investigator to find out their dark secrets. Jason is obnoxious, often thoughtless, and basically a teenage boy. There's a moment late in the book where I literally thought, "He's acting out."
If you're looking for something fun and sweet to while away the time and leave you with a smile on your face, Meant to Be is just the book for you.