Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on November 13th 2012
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quote another to fall for the - gasp - wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's the 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. Julia also believes in fate, and that Mark, her childhood crush, is her MTB - her meant-to-be.
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: 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 live a little along the way. And this 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.
Meant to Be was cute, fast, and funny! I didn’t want to put this book down because I was too entirely wrapped up in Julia’s London-love whirlwind adventures. Because of the premise and certain key moments that happened early on, I thought I had this book figured out. Bummed at the thought of another predictable ending, I made a pact to simply enjoy MTB’s journey rather than get caught up in what I believed to be an inevitable ending. Boy was I ever wrong! Although I had one detail right, the rest of plot sprung a Houdini leaving me utterly and happily surprised. Believe me when I say, Morrill knows how to weave an intricate story line full of shocks and sweet surprises.
This is the first time that I’ve truly felt a connection to a main character. There’s so many similarities between Julia and I, it’s actually quite scary. We’re both too shy and too nervous and completely clumsy. (I can barely walk without accidentally smacking something) We’re also what you call “book smart” as opposed to street smart, and have a tendency to check, double check and triple check things such as agendas. And boys…. don’t get me started! Haha. All of these similarities and Morrill’s engaging writing style really had me connecting with Julia on a deeper level and being able to understand her character better.
I really loved the dynamic that developed between Julia and one of this book’s swooners, Jason. Julia is Miss rules and guidelines while Jason is Mr. live a little. Although a valued member of the swim team, Julia’s personality is very mousy and bookish. Jason is part of the proverbial cool clique which entirely explains my initial dislike of him in the beginning. For the longest time I thought him arrogant and quite frankly ass-y. He had a tendency to embarrass Julia in front the “populars” just about every chance he got.Granted, Julia preferred to be a wallflower, and therefore was easily embarrassed when receiving attention. Jason was also very hot and cold. One moment it seemed like he and Julia we’re getting closer, at the minimal becoming friends. Then he’d pull a 180 and go back to ignoring her, or like I said, embarrassing her. I definitely understood Julia’s conflicting feelings towards him because I had pretty conflicting ones as well.
Although I knew I’d at least like Meant to Be I was seriously thrilled when I ended up loving it. London is such a richly cultural place which made the setting of this book all the more enjoyable and refreshing. It was amazing watching Julia transform from a shy, timid girl into someone brimming with confidence. I also really liked getting to know more about Jason. From the outside he seemed shallow and disrespectful, but like Julia, I slowly began to see a whole other side to him, one that I really loved. Meant to Be was a fabulous standalone contemporary that I’m so happy I read!