Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill was a disappointment.
I did a read-along of this book with Isabel (so we exchanged more opinions than usual) and we both completely agree at least in one point: the main character is a pain in the guts.
I will leave a very short synopsis (shorter than the usual synopsis) so you can keep up with this review in case you haven’t read the book. If you did read the book you can skip the next paragraph if you like!
Meant to Be follows an American girl named Julia who goes on a school trip to London with class mates she despises. Jason is the worst of them all and, unfortunately to Julia, she is paired with him for the next 10 days by their teacher. Instead of this being the school trip Julia expected, with lots of learning and absorbing culture, it ends up being the craziest adventure she has ever been in. Between meeting news guys and reencountering old crushes and almost being kissed more than once, the most unexpected thing happens. Julia falls for Jason. Madly.
Or at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen… and I couldn’t disagree more! But that’s the second point of this review. Firstly I would like to talk about miss Julia Pain-in-the-guts.
As I was reading Meant to Be I kept getting the feeling that Lauren had tried too hard to make Julia the high school girl with the perfect GPA, who can’t stand to break rules or have her purse any other way than carefully organized and spotless. This results in both Julia being a royal pain and an inconsistent character. Initially she can’t stand to break a single rule and then, all of a sudden, she’s stalking Jason all over London when she was supposed to be with the rest of the class (and this was a decision she made on her own, with nothing or nobody pressuring her to do it).
Now the second point of this review – the oh-heck-no-you-can’t-call-this-a-love-story. As soon as I finished Meant to Be my first thought was “She’s so not in love with Jason”. In the last few chapters she realizes she’s in love with Jason and then goes off to meet some other guy and only when she realizes she he’s not exactly her type does she look for Jason. From where I stand, love would be trying to find him as soon as I realized I had fallen for him. I was left with the impressed Julia was in and out of love (not only with Jason but with the other guys too) as she found convenient.
Now moving on to something most of us do every day: texting. NO REGULAR TEENAGER SIGNS EVERY SINGLE TEXT MESSAGE THEY SEND NOW-A-DAYS. NONE! Throughout the book we are presented with all the Julia’s and Jason’s texts and every single one of them was signed. I know this is just a detail but it bothered me a lot as I moved through the book… But the worst part really was that each chapter begins with a text message sent or received by Julia (and sometimes Jason, I’m guessing, although you can’t really tell). As little problematic as this may seem, it becomes very confusing once the story develops and I found myself in constant need to go back and reread every text message at the beginning of each chapter… something I considered a slightly annoying and boring thing to have to do.
I can’t, however, finish this review without mentioning a few things I found very positive. Phoebe, Julia’s best friend (she couldn’t make it to the trip so that’s why I didn’t mention her in the synopsis, but Julia exchanges a few texts messages with her throughout the book), is an amazing character. She’s described as someone more relaxed than Julia and that was one of the things that encouraged me to continue reading Meant to Be.
I would also like to add that, in my opinion, each character had the amount of time in the spotlight they deserved. With this I mean the reader didn’t get unnecessary and unimportant information about the secondary characters. That was definitely a positive side to the mess I found myself in while reading Julia’s thoughts.
All in all, I think anyone can find better contemporary YA books to read… Would not recommend.
Please take into account that this review is simply based in my opinion while reading the book and you’re free to disagree and leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to discuss it with you guys!