Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on November 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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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.
First of all, look at that cover! I love it, and it’s actually what prompted me to investigate the book. Then I read the synopsis, and I was sold all over again! A heroine who sounds quirky like me, London, breaking rules, and mysterious suitors? Yessssssss! I’m only sorry it took me so long to read it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. Lauren Morrill paints an absolutely lovely picture of London for us. I’ve never been, but I could still picture the quaint streets and the exciting buzz of such an amazing city.
2. I always wanted to go on a class trip to a far off place and make amazing memories with my friends, fall in love, and look back on it fondly forever. This book was my class trip. Well, it’s as close as I can get to one now. I felt like I was there, wandering the museums, running in the rain, and soaking in an old fashioned bath tub after a long day of walking.
3. Book Licker. Oh my. This is Julia’s nickname (given to her by Jason), and I just adore her for her bookishness, her nerdiness, her obsessive compulsiveness, and her hilarious personality. She’s always reading, spouting off random factoids about everything, tripping over her words, following the rules to a tee, struggling to be perfect at everything, and failing at flirting. And she is deathly afraid of geese. I identified so much with her… and I’m not sure what that says about me! Haha.
4. And then we have Jason, her partner (buddy) on this class trip. He is her polar opposite, her arch nemesis, and the thorn in her side. But he’s funny and suave and cute, and he’s getting her to do all these new things and experience London in a way that she never predicted. And he can be so sweet and concerned sometimes. And boy, does he pick on her! I loved watching him burrow his way into the little soft spot she formed for him.
5. Meant to Be is charmingly hilarious. Jason gets drunk, and I could not contain my laughter during this scene. And remember when I said Julia is scared of geese? You have NO idea. And then there’s a street performer… and a pond incident, not to mention the witty dialogue.
6. It’s SO romantic. There’s mud kissing, sightseeing off the beaten path, deep conversations, and a slow burn. I love this kind of romance. It’s a 180 from insta-love. It’s so realistic and believable.
7. Even though these are high-schoolers, I never felt like they were! Julia and Jason are so mature, smart, and well-spoken. They make some very teen-like decisions, but their outlook on the world, and their insights on those decisions make them relatable. Honestly, these two are any age you want them to be. I loved that this is a YA book that adults and kids can enjoy and pull different things from. I just know I will be reading this with my future daughter someday.
8. I loved the smattering of Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Winston Churchill quotes. They just added a little something special!
9. The ending was really something special, and I could not have seen that coming. This is definitely not a predictable book.
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. Meant to Be is such a fun journey, and I loved every single word. Finally, I love that the cover matches the content! Both are absolutely beautiful. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, Just One Day, and Instructions for a Broken Heart, you will love this! And if you’ve never read any of these, you’ll still love it. It’s full of heart, travel, young love, and humor.