Rated Reads

Meant to Be

by Lauren Morrill

Rated: Moderate

High school junior Julia is a star student and swimmer. She expects the best of herself and others and keeps everything in her life in order to more readily facilitate the best coming to pass. When she gets to go to London for 10 days with some other students in her class, she’s thrilled to go to the land of Austen and Shakespeare. Guidebooks well marked, she is ready for a fantastic trip.

Unfortunately, when she arrives in London, her teacher pairs her with Jason, an annoying, immature guy who calls her Book Licker. Buddies have to stay together throughout the tours, and having to be in that close of proximity to Jason has Julia shaking in her sensible shoes.

Starting with a party the first night and continuing with all kinds of other disobedience, Jason makes Julia crazy. She calms herself by swimming laps in the hotel pool or by picturing her MTB (Meant to Be), Mark, a perfect guy who will make her life complete — if Mark will just notice her. In the meantime, though, Julia did meet some guys at the party, and one is now texting her. Should she pursue the possibility of romance in a foreign land, even though she doesn’t remember exactly who this Chris guy is?

Lauren Morrill makes clear just how rigid and possessed of high expectations that Julia is, and just how immature, annoying, and goofball-prone Jason is, enough that it’s abundantly clear what she’s trying to tell us. But it takes Julia the entire book to get the message Morrill is hammering home to readers (by the end, we’re all sighing with relief when she gets it). Jason drove me crazy, too, but he had flashes of surprises that make readers and Julia think better of him. But she makes so clear how annoying he is that I just wasn’t entirely convinced that he was a good option for Julia by the end. Despite these limitations, the book was entertaining and a fun, light read.

Rated: Moderate, for one use of strong language, some mild and moderate language, taking of the Lord’s name in vain, alcohol use by teens, and some crude references to sex (teen boys being teen boys).

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

Comments are closed.

  • Meant to Be
  • by Lauren Morrill
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: