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 Impressions: I loved the cover, which is partly why I picked it up. It’s a sweet and simple love story. Characteristically YA, it is exactly what I love about the genre. Falling in love, discovering the truth and finding yourself. I read it in a day and I know it is going to be one of those books that I routinely go back to for comfort and laughs. Definitely a good one.
Honestly, I bought this book mostly because it takes place in London, and I’m so excited to go that I’ve been trying to read as much about it as possible. So when I read the back cover, I instantly added it to my list.
Julia is a straight-As-making, rules-following, risk-avoiding type of girl who loves Austen and Shakespeare and is waiting for her MTB (‘Meant to Be’) Mark to finally get around to noticing her. When a cruel twist of fate lands her partnered with the resident class clown (and class jerk, is Julia’s opinion) Jason Lippincott, she thinks that her London trip is destined for doom. One drunken party later and she starts receiving mysterious texts, making her think further about what it means to be an ‘MTB’.
I really liked this book. It is short and just what I want from a Young Adult book. To top it off, the writing is hilarious. Not often do I literally laugh out loud at words on a page, but Morrill writes with such wit and comedy that I was laughing the whole way through.
It also doesn’t that Julia reminds me a lot of myself. If I think about it hard enough, I can almost always find a way to identify with a character. But with Julia, it was easy. She’s just like me. You know, she wants big things for herself. An awesome education, a good job and a nice guy to be with. Who doesn’t want that? But she has this tendency to get a bit too wrapped up in what is ‘safe’. She doesn’t take risks. She doesn’t break the rules. Then, she gets partnered with Jason.
Jason was interesting to read. He is unlike many YA leading boys. He’s goofy, obnoxious and embarrasses Julia much too frequently for her liking. Jason’s just that kind of guy and that is his way of communicating with her.
As I traveled with Julia and Jason on their mystery texter chase, I watched their characters develop and become more emotionally complex. The best part was seeing Julia actually doing something with herself, pushing her limits and doing what scares her.
It’s all about setting yourself free. Julia has her whole life planned out, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s restricting. By putting too much emphasis on her plans, she squishes herself in this relentless box and it’s preventing herself from actually living. It’s preventing her from experiencing what and who her life throws at her. And that’s not what being a young person is about. When you’re young, you should be open to everything and everyone. That’s the only way to learn about yourself and who you are ‘MTB’. It’s awesome to see Julia slowly break down some of her self-constructed walls and it’s awesome to see Jason right next to her, helping (and bugging) her along the way.
9 out of 10!