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Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
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Meant to Be

Meant to Be - Lauren Morrill When a book gives you hardcore vibes of a past relationship – especially a past relationship that you’d prefer to forget – it is generally not a good thing. But in the case of MEANT TO BE, I found myself reminiscing about the redheaded jerk in my past life, except we definitely were not meant to be and I’d rather forget him.MEANT TO BE was laid out to be a cute, charming travel romance with opposites attract. And it really was. I didn’t expect to be as amused and swoony as I ended up being when I got to the last page of this one and found myself grinning ear to ear. I am always on the lookout for a whimsical book with a dash of excitement and a bunch of humor, and in the pages of this debut from author Lauren Morrill, I found exactly what I was looking for. I love to be pleasantly surprised, and with this one, I found a gem.MEANT TO BE is the story of a girl on a spring break class trip with a bunch of kids she’d rather not be with. After being buddied up with the class clown, a boy she would most DEFINITELY not rather be with, she begins to find herself with the help of the least likely person in the universe. All the while, she’s convinced her childhood crush is her meant to be – her one true love, her one true pairing, the boy she ships herself with even when everything else looks glum.I should explain why this reminded me of an old relationship. I am a book geek who focused heavily on academics and athletics in high school and college, forgetting boys, forgetting friends for the most part. In college, I met the redheaded class clown who spent the entire semester cracking jokes. But when I got to know this class clown the next semester, I realized we had a little something in common – a love of the NHL. That was about it, and we ended up going our separate ways after he 1.) forgot my name and then 2.) proceeded to tell me about his ex-girlfriends and how I reminded him of them. In reading MEANT TO BE, I found myself identifying so much with our heroine Julia and her problems. She meanders through the story from one situation to the next with wit and intellect. Julia is one of my favorite narrators of the year. She knows what she wants and proceeds to forget all of that in the process of 300 pages because – let’s face it – when you’re 17 you really don’t know what you want in life.The backdrop of London was amazing. Having spent some time in London, I could tell Morrill put effort into making the story as accurate as possible. Everything was so alive, so heartfelt, so picture perfect and awesome. Julia’s snark fit in perfectly with her world, including the text messages, the relationships between her classmates, the tales of her family and friends back in Boston.But where this story fell short to me was the fact that I never really felt much of a connection between Julia and Jason. And having had a relationship pretty darn similar to the one these two have, I know that it’s hard. I never really saw what Julia saw in Jason, other than a pseudo-forced feel to it. They’re meant to be, okay, but the process getting there? I didn’t see it, I didn’t feel it, but I must admit, I didn’t mind the end result.Morrill definitely has a great future ahead of her as a contemporary YA romance author. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.VERDICT: Almost perfect in its wit and intellect, MEANT TO BE resonated with me for a number of reasons. With one little nitpick, this cute story of love and being “meant to be” is sure to warm hearts and create barrels of laughs.