TITLE: Meant To Be
AUTHOR: Lauren Morrill
PUBLICATION DATE: November 13, 2012
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc
PAGES: 256 pages
RATING: 4 stars
Julia Lichtenstien’s world is just the way she wants it. From her 4.0 GPA to her triumphs on the swim team, to the secret pining over her MTB (that’s “meant to be” for those of us in the know) who hasn’t spoken to her since coming back into town. The only downer is when she realizes that none of her friends will be attending the spring break field trip to London. Her excitement level goes from ecstatic to less than thrilled in .2 seconds flat, but since she’s always wanted to see London, she’s trying to take it all in stride. Then she gets assigned to be Jason Lippincott’s trip buddy and she’s seeing red again. She can’t stand him, he’s a moronic jerk with the attention span of an eight year old hyped up on caffeine. What she doesn’t see coming is how well they will get along.
I love love love Julia! She’s a geeky bookworm who loves to swim and doesn’t give a damn about the social ladder. She’s sees nothing wrong with the way she views the world and has no interest in changing. Even though she could use a little change, I loved that she liked who she was. I loved that for once, the heroine wasn’t pining over being the popular girl or having money or anything like that. All Julia wanted, at the beginning of this novel at least, was to take in the culture of London and go back home to the states where she might finally win over Mark (her MTB). Her inner dialogue was snarky and raw and utterly believable.
Jason was a break from the typically leading man role as well. The class clown is what Julia initially labels him, but there is so much more to him than that. Underneath that manic goof-ball exterior, is an intelligent, kind, and thoughtful guy who truly likes Julia though she’s too blind to see it. I knew from minute one that he would win her heart and I’m glad I predicted it right. Throughout their romp through London, Julia learns a lot, just not what she was expecting too. Sure, she sees Shakespeare’s birth place and learns new facts about paintings and authors, but what she really learns is more about herself. Maybe there is a bit of a rule-breaker hiding underneath that nerdy façade, maybe she doesn’t know all there is to know about Mark, maybe her view of her classmates is a bit skewed, and maybe, just maybe, there is more to her life than just books, school, best friends, and pining over a guy she doesn’t know as well as she thinks.
This novel was exactly what I expected it to be, cutesy romance about a girl who doesn’t know everything she think she does. Was it a bit cheesy? Sure. Predictable? Definitely. I don’t see anything wrong with that though. Sometimes you need a sweet love story to perk up your life. Even now, I can’t stop smiling over the ending.
****Thank you to Random House Children’s Books for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****