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Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Published November 13th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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.

This is probably going to be the most incoherent mess of words you’ve read – just a heads up. So. Meant to Be.

Can we not? Can we stop with the people who think they’re better than others because they can quote classical novels and carry pocket Shakespeares? Can we stop slut shaming others because they hang out with boys or wear revealing clothes? Julia’s attitude towards everything was super shitty and judgemental. She basically spends the entire time sneering at all her classmates – for reading books about shopping, for gossiping, for inviting a guy to walk around with them, for reading on Kindles instead of a paperback (I know, what?), for manicuring their nails (really!)… the list goes on and on and on. Through Julia’s eyes, everyone on the trip, especially the girls, are super dumb – everyone except for her, of course, and this is also something she persists on reminding us with gems like this:

“These are your temporary cell phones—or ‘mobiles,’ as they say in England,” she says, tittering a little, as she moves up the aisle, distributing phones. My sticky note reads: +442026415644

I stare at the jumble of unfamiliar numbers, trying to commit them to memory. The standard country code is 44, so that’s easy. Twenty … That was dad’s jersey number in high school; he was captain of the football team. The numbers rearrange in my head, forming different patterns. Then I see it: 26 April, 1564. It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! That must be a sign.

There’s only one remaining number to memorize, and that’s easy enough: the last four is my GPA. Dad’s jersey number, Shakespeare’s birthday, my GPA. I mouth it silently to myself until it’s committed to memory.

Which is tolerable until you see her repeating it every other page with extra emphasis on the last number, then I’m ready to throw the book at the wall. I get it, most others are on this trip because this is the only thing saving their grades, and you’re here because you want to maintain a perfect four. Congratulations.

Please, get over yourself.

I didn’t get what Jason saw in Julia at all. Though, to be fair, I didn’t get what Julia saw in Jason either. He’s a childish jackass who spends the entire trip whipping up disastrous events and then runs off to let Julia deal with the consequences. Like getting her drunk and leaving her at a party surrounded by strangers. Or stripping her and fucking laughing, knowing how shitty it was.

So I didn’t get it. I really didn’t.

Nothing happened in the first two-thirds of the book, and the last book saw the cramming of the most predictable “plot twists” known to the genre. Honestly, Julia should’ve seen at least half of those coming, especially after all her bragging about how she was so smart and aware and decent and put together and sensible and mindful etcetera etcetera. There’s no redemption either, no real character improvement, just a happily ever after, because of course! That’s what they deserve after the shitstorm they went through!

Ugh.