Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Title: Meant To Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Information: 304 pages; November 13, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: Standalone

Where I got it: E-book from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

"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.

Main characters: 3.5/5

Julia was an entertaining main character. She may have started out as the typical type-A main character with a stick up her butt, but she ended up having a lot more complexity than I imagined. And her voice was so hilarious, which is part good writing style and part good character development. Jason was a riot but I definitely followed some of Julia's ups and downs with him. I love how more of his depth came out as Julia got to know him. And as a bonus,  there was no insta-love!

Secondary characters: 1/5

The secondary characters were unfortunately very one-dimensional. I was confused by the large cast and got Sarah and Susan confused a lot, since they were differentiated except as the "mean girls". I wish that the secondary characters were as funny and as well developed as Julia and Jason.

Writing style: 4/5

Morill's writing style was roll-on-the-floor funny; I loved the situational humor (right off the bat Julia accidentally grabs the businessman's thigh instead of the armrest) and the humorous voice of Julia and Morill's writing style. Jason and Julia's back and forth was slightly juvenile but I enjoyed it- it reminded me of high school. The pacing was excellent. One of the downsides was that there was a little too much of Julia antagonizing over her decisions and feelings. As much as I love seeing the thought process behind characters changing their minds, sometimes these parts would start to drag.

Plot: 3/5
The plot actually reminded me of the Lizzie McGuire movie at first which I adore cause I'm totally a 90s child. While nothing was new or unique about the plotline, it was enjoyable to read. Add that to the fact that the situations were hilarious, and the plotline definitely kept me entertained. For example, the brawl scene at the party was excellent. The comedy of misunderstandings is funny, but it was maybe a bit too overused here, especially when I knew what was coming the entire time. However, even though I saw most of the shots coming, Morill changed it up at the end with a big twist. I wish I had paid more attention to some of the smaller details so there would have been a bigger trail of the "ahhhh" moment. 

Ending: 4/5

Pretty effective. I wish that there had been a tiny bit more time for them to wrap things up because the end happened so quickly after the shocking twist, but I love how the end incorporated the themes and didn't come out of nowhere.

Best scene: Julia playing secret agent and following Jason or Julia accidentally volunteering for a street performance

Positives: Hilarious situations & voice, surprisingly complex characters, twist at the end

Negatives: Drab and stereotypical secondary characters, some stereotypical points, I saw most of the plot coming

Cover: I can't really decide. I love it all but the one element I'm not sure about is the rainbow overlay.

Verdict: Cute and funny, a light romance!

Rating: 6.2/10 (3 stars)

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