Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Meant to Be

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Page Count: 290
Would Appeal To: Fans of Sarah Dessen, Sarah Ockler, Jennifer E. Smith
 Favorite Quotes:
 "'In this room, you will find a veritable feast for the eyes, with colors exploding like fat, ripe berries of passion all over the canvas. Taste with your eyes the juicy flavors of impressionism, paint swirling into itself like a delicious gravy of art...' My head hurts too much for me to turn and find out who's laughing at the 'berries of passion'-- or to point out the tour guide's use of mixed metaphor."

"I'm curled up in the most comfortable bed ever (seriously, it feels like sleeping in a hug)..."

"The last time I drank a latte, I decided the best way to study for the SATs would be to memorize the entire dictionary. My mom found me the next morning surrounded by multicolored flash cards that looked like they had been written by a serial killer."

"Jason's expression is hard to decipher. He looks very calm. Unfortunately, it seems like the kind of calm that comes before a tornado whips through your town and deposits three cows and a Pizza Hut on top of your house." 

Why You Must Read This Book:
  • Cuteness factor is through the roof. Seriously, I sighed at the end. I am not wanting for more because the ending was that perfect.
  • Jason, Julia's buddy on their junior class trip to London, is positively annoying. But...he has a ton of redeemable qualities. Let's face it-- most girls go for the bad guy. And Jason's not bad; he's the class clown (with a multitude of female admirers). He has a "rusty mop" of red hair, says the most embarrassing things in public, and continuously calls Julia "Book Licker." He breaks the rules, makes adults cringe, and blows off school (but is secretly smart). Plus, he sees Julia at her lowest points, mostly when she's tripping and/or falling into things, which she does a lot. Despite this, he displays little hints of humanness (like a love of the Beatles) and genius ideas for fun that allow Julia to loosen up and crash through the concrete concepts she's had of how life and love should go. 
  • Poor Julia--you've just got to root for her. Imagine if you lived your most embarrassing moment over three times a day for a week. That's pretty much Julia, klutz and social outcast. What's great is that she only slightly cares what the more popular girls think, and that's because one of them is the gossip queen of the school; however, she's not afraid to be on her own in another country. Julia's practically an organized adult living in a high school world, a history buff who highlights and tags the crap out of more than one edition of an English guidebook. This is why it's so fun for Jason to see how far he can push the boundaries. She over analyzes little actions, but for good reason. All the misunderstandings between her and Jason--and there are a ton-- are realistic and hilariously confusing. So many things go wrong, you just want her love life to go right! She carries on with virtually no friends and an antagonizing partner, just for the sake of experiencing London, the place where her parents fell in love.
  • Julia's one step away from being 3-D. She believes each person only has one MTB (Meant to Be). She buries her nose in Pride and Prejudice and dreams of perfect Mark with the slightly crooked tooth sweeping her off her feet because they had a backyard wedding at six years old. These elements brought Julia to life for me. All of her rule following made more sense because of her fantasies about love.
  • Clever plot. A loveless Julia suddenly has three boys to keep her on her toes in London. And there's a great twist that I never saw coming... 
  • Lauren Morrill knows how to write a kissing scene. 'Nuff said.
  • Descriptions of England are gorgeous. From the London Eye to Shakespeare's birthplace, this author flawlessly executes the "show, don't tell" rule when it comes to both scenery and characters.
What Bugged Me:
  • Slow start. Honestly, after the first three chapters, I couldn't figure out what all the author hype on the back was about. I thought Julia was annoying (she put asides in parentheses like this that interrupted her sentences) and that the similes were too frequent and trying too hard. Pretty soon, though, the ( ) dwindled and the similes were more natural, just another part of her personality. As soon as Jason dragged Julia to a house party, plot events turned interesting.
  • One character's motives predictable. It was a boy. Something he said tipped me off. But who's to say a little dramatic irony doesn't help the story? You're just left screaming at the pages, going, "Why didn't you read into that statement if you read into everything else?"
  • A couple of repeated words/phrases. "Distressed" was repeated three times in the span of a few pages to describe various objects (before page 28). Also, I love the phrase "like sleeping in a hug," but that was repeated as well. Maybe it was meant to show her character? The thankyouverymuch that Julia often thought and once said did not get on my nerves because it became very much a trademark slogan. 
Final Verdict:
Lauren Morrill's debut is a spunky, comedy-of-errors romance that leaves you laughing and sighing in the same breath. Warning: impossible to put down.


1 comment:

Bookworm1858 said...

See I found Jason TOO annoying although I appreciated that he was more of a class clown type than the rebellious bad boy as I've always had a soft spot for the former.