When this book came out last year, I was curious of the hype that’s been going around the blogosphere and that alone pushed me to buy the book. Here’s the plot description taken from the book flap of the hardcover edition:
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. Julia also believes in fate, and that Mark, her childhood crush, is her MTB – her meant-to-be.
But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: 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 live a little 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.
People have been saying that if one likes Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss, then he/she would love Meant To Be, too. I guess this is one of the reasons why I’m confident that the book will be good. I even recommended this book to my sister even before I read it, since she enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ works. And true enough, she finished the book in one sitting and loved it.
It’s fun to read stories where students get the chance to have educational tours outside their home country. This is not unusual as I’ve joined something like this when I was in high school. However, in our case, it’s more of studying and only a few days of touring. The study tour destination was in Xia Men, China and a lot of Chinese schools have joined this program, so in turn, hundreds of us went there. Then recently, I’ve found out that there’s also an educational tour to Taiwan for three (3) weeks which, I believe, is more similar to the tour mentioned in Meant To Be. Approved applications of the chosen people between 16 to 27 years old from all over the Philippines will have the opportunity to visit various places in Taiwan.
Surely, going abroad with friends without parents gives you a sense of independence and perhaps a little bit of freedom. But that’s not the purpose of straight-A student Julia Lichtenstein in joining the educational trip to London. For her, it’s her dream to visit the place where everything about Shakespeare and his life originated. She plans everything well to make the trip worthwhile and memorable.
As I am reading through the book, it dawns on me that I can very much relate to Julia because I realize we are so alike in terms of personality. I keep nodding and agreeing with everything she does. Like her, I’m a rule-follower and a very-organized planner in which when something goes out of hand, it will ruin my day.
And, my gosh, her OC-ness when it comes to her handbag arrangement. I find myself laughing at her habit of rearranging her things when something is out of place. Because, well, I do that, too. I keep everything tidy and organized inside my bag as much as possible. Even my family notices that about me. It’s really funny reading about someone who mirrors my own personality. Somehow, it also feels that somebody out there understands me, that there’s already this connection we share with each other.
However, as much as Julia wants to stick to her plans, there’s Jason Lippincott who just ruins everything with his mischief. Julia may be pissed, but I guess there’s always a bright side. After having gone to a party, Julia starts receiving text messages from Chris. So, aside from Mark, her MTB, there’s this mysterious Chris and eventually, there’s Jason as well.
As the story progresses, Julia begins to be torn between these three guys. But of course, Julia expectedly goes after her MTB since childhood. Admittedly, I slowly begin to disagree with her choice because I happen to be enjoying more of her times spent with Jason.
With all that’s been happening in the story, as well as the places they have visited and “detoured”, they urge me more to visit London soon. Lauren Morrill elaborately proves in her story in Julia’s eyes why London is a more romantic city than Paris. Moreover, I just love how she weaves her story that at first, things are tangled up, but slowly become clearer as we near the end. Lauren Morrill evidently creates her characters realistically that we find ourselves loving and connecting with them easily. Surely, girls will undeniably swoon over Jason. I, myself, admit that. He could be a jerk sometimes, but we come to love his character more than the other guys. Who Julia will end up with may be obvious to some, if not most, but to those who don’t have any idea, read the book and you’ll find out who.
Overall, I enjoyed the book to the every bit of details. Meant To Be is full of surprising twists that will make readers feel giddy up until the end. The story is both sweet and cute, leaving us wanting to read more of Julia’s adventures with her guy. I have savored every page, reading it slowly and carefully word per word, trying to capture each moment and let it pause for a little longer. I didn’t want the story to end immediately. The book may or may not help us believe in meant to be, but either way, what I can say is that it helps us realize that love comes in most unexpected ways.