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.
This is a really readable and short contemporary and I thought it would be good to read while I had lots of schoolwork and a busy schedule. In theory, a good idea, but in reality, it took me eight days to read. I need to get used a slower reading pace now because I have zero time or motivation. But it wasn’t totally my fault! I just couldn’t get interested in the book at all, and it annoyed me a lot so I could only read so much at a time. I didn’t really like it, and I’m disappointed, because I really wanted to love it. I think YA contemporary is generally pretty hit or miss for me.
I have two really big problems with it. The first is that I found it unrealistic and cliche. Apparently the whole class gets to go on a trip to London for free and they all get their own rooms at a high class hotel? This and other things just nagged at me, and they were not given plausible explanations. Also, most (if not all) of the characters seemed really cliche and not developed at all, even the main characters. And then there’s Julia. I could not stand her. Normally when I don’t like a character it doesn’t ruin a whole book for me, but considering the whole novel is in her head, and centers around her thoughts and feelings, it’s hard to ignore. She’s incredibly stuck up, annoying, and thinks that everyone around her is an unsophisticated idiot who could never be anywhere near as smart as she is. She needed to learn that other people have good qualities and try to get to know them before judging them. Because wow was she judgmental and shallow. I understand that characters have to have flaws and be able to learn and grow, but it was unbearable. I kind of wanted to strangle her the whole book. Sorry.
I did sympathize with Julia sometimes, because I’m easily embarrassed and I hate seeing other people embarrassed, and that happens plenty to Julia. I also generally liked the love interest Jason. He was annoying too, but intentionally, and often really funny. I liked the romance aspect, and the book was really readable despite everything. The London setting could have been used better, but I did occasionally enjoy the places they went and the things they saw. I actually thought the book was plotted well, plus there’s a kind of twist at the very end that I didn’t see coming, and thought was a perfect end for the novel.
Overall, if you are looking for a short, really fluffy story, this might work for you. I would say try it out, see how you feel about Julia, and if you don’t like her, the book isn’t worth a read for you. From looking at other reviews, this seems like a hit or miss book for most people. All I can say that is that you could probably find some much better contemporaries!
Genre: Travel, Young Adult Contemporary
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books