Selective Collective, Young Adult

Selective Collective: Meant to Be – Round Table

Our November book is Meant to Be by Lauren Merrill. And let me tell you: this book is LEGIT! This week it’s my turn to host our Round Table Discussion.

1) Julia’s dad said that Paris being the city of love was for people without imaginations. Are there any cities that you have visited that you would consider to be a city of love? What made it so for you?

My husband and I love New Orleans.  We were married there and make it a point of going there at least a couple times a year, especially around our anniversary.  I honestly don’t remember when we began taking trips there together.  Being from Louisiana, New Orleans is a destination for a lot of us who like to have a fun and diverse experience.  There are really so many different things that people can do, including walking through the French Market and eating at Café Du Monde, perusing the art in Jackson Square, taking in the numerous museums, riding a riverboat and taking advantage of the many horse-drawn or walking tours.  And of course, there’s always Bourbon Street.  Everyone is so friendly, even though most of the people you will meet in the above mentioned places are tourists.  It’s an important city to me.  I have numerous memories there, including bar-hopping on Bourbon Street, but also getting married in the Italian Plaza behind the Loew’s Hotel on Poydras after a breakfast across the street at Mother’s.  There are few places better than New Orleans, at least for this southern girl. – Daphne @ Gone Pecan

2) Julia and Jason get into some pretty harsh arguments throughout the novel. Compared to other relationships in YA literature, do you prefer the love/hate relationship they had to relationships that are perfect from day one?

It’s not a matter of preference but a matter of how the author develops the relationship. Some of my favorite literary couples fell in love through a healthy dose of passionate debate, discussion, and disagreement (think Ron and Hermione, Anna and Etienne, or any of Melina Marchetta’s couples). I’m a huge fan of old, black-and-white romantic comedies (called screwball comedies), which are all written with the premise that banter and debate can be a form of passion (and foreplay). But, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sweet, loving couples or fierce love-at-first sight couples too. I know the bantering and bickering doesn’t work for every reader, but it makes sense to me, and when done well can be just as or even more romantic than those flowery descriptions of couples who see each other just once and and are already in love! – Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks

3) Do you feel that Julia’s “breaking the rules” seems to help her as a character or hurt her?

I think it was good for Julia to break a few rules under the guidance of frequent rule-breaker Jason. It was really interesting watching Julia take a step out of her ordinary life and actually look back at herself to perceive herself at the outside world probably sees her, and no one put it better than Jason: “Book Licker”. Julia’s clearly always been very cautious, meticulous, and safe. She broke a lot of rules in England, all of which helped her learn a little bit more about herself and see that it’s okay to make your own way in the world. She started to figure out who she was at the time and where she really wanted to be. It allowed her to take risks, including falling for Jason and I think it really helped her grow as a person. 
Trust me, I’ve been there! I feel like I was a lot like Julia when I was a teenager and sometimes you just have to break some rules to have a little adventure. You don’t always break the right ones and sometimes the consequences are harsh for the decisions you make, but each instance brings you one step closer to discovering another piece of yourself and how you really want to live your life. It’s part of growing up and I think Julia went to England as one person and is coming back feeling quite a bit different about herself. It doesn’t mean she changed who she was: she still loves Shakespeare, being organized, and correcting people – but now she can see other pieces of herself that were hiding behind the rules and I think she comes out of the trip just a little bit more relaxed and less stressed about how she wants the rest of her life to turn out. – Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide

4) Since they were kids, Julia has idolized her MTB. Although not uncommon, does her idolization of what she thinks her MTB is prohibit her from friendships with others on the trip? Especially Jason?

I don’t think Julia’s fantasy about her MTB kept her from forming friendships with others on the trip. There were certainly roadblocks, but to me those appeared to be related to typical high school cliques and cattiness and Julia’s overall nerdiness (however adorable I found it).  I think that blind devotion to her MTB and total unwillingness to see anyone else in a truly romantic light is what actually made it possible for her to become friends with Jason. He was clearly intrigued by her from the start, but she was blind to that. Had she even noticed those tiny hints of affection, she may have run in the other direction, but instead they slowly built this funny banter and without Julia realizing it, they became friends. In fact, the biggest complications came from the does-he-or-doesn’t-he romantic stuff (until it all worked out, of course). And personally, I loved the idea of this “perfect” MTB who, in truth, cannot live up to the image Julia invented, while the imperfect guy is the one who ended up being just the right fit. That’s how love is; sometimes it surprises you. – Tee @ YA Crush

5) This school trip to London seemed to be fairly lax when it came to the rules and allowing teens to traipse around London alone. Do you feel this school trip was realistic? Did your thoughts on the trip deter you from getting into the book?

The trip seemed realistic to me considering I have nothing to compare it to other that my lack of international trips.  L  When I was in high school my mom wouldn’t let me go on the French class trip to Paris (I’ll give her that one since I was only 14 then) or my senior trip to Cancun.  She refused to let us leave the country before we were 18 and now I just don’t have the time at work to take off of the cash to pay for such a huge trip.  As far as the lack of rules deterring me from the book?  Absolutely not!  I loved the book and didn’t have any trouble separating the lack of rules. . . or at least for the most part.  I do have to say the sneaking out the hotel completely was a bit hard to comprehend but I got over that pretty quickly.  I think my mom would have called me about 10 times more than Julia’s also. . .even if I went today – Maggie @ Gone Pecan

Check out the other members of the Selective Collective and see what fun things they have going on!

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6 thoughts on “Selective Collective: Meant to Be – Round Table”

  1. I especially love the last question because I am the mother of teens and I did have the thought that the trip seemed unrealistic, especially the lack of other chaperones. Think about band trips, there are always other parents coming along. Anyway, as Maggie, said, you just have to move past that and focus on the characters. I was (and still am) a rule follower so I totally loved Julia!!

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