Contemporary

You + Me = Meant to Be

Meant to Be by Lauren Merrill

The Skinny: Julia is on the trip of her life, 10 days in London to sight-see, learn, and experience the life of her favorite, Shakespeare. But when she is paired with Jason, the attention-hogging boy who torments her constantly, to spend the week with, her hopes of a perfect trip are shot. Jason is aggravating, annoying, a rule breaker – and possibly the very best thing that could happen to her. After a night of rule-breaking and sneaking to a party with Jason, Julia begins to receive text messages from a boy she can’t remember meeting. As Jason begins to help her with her flirting, she find herself falling for him, which is confusing because she knows she is meant to be with another boy.

BFF?: I’ll be the first to admit that in the grand scheme of things, I was kind of a goody-goody in high school. Not purposely, like I was scared to get in trouble and always wanted to mind the rules, but because I just had no desire to do anything overly bad. So you’d think I’d totally like Julia. But truthfully, I didn’t. I enjoyed reading the book with her as the speaker, but sometimes I wanted to shake her, to tell her she’s being a prude and a snot and to get over herself. When she was breaking the rules and lightening up with Jason, I really liked her. I wanted her to be that Julia instead of the overly organized, has to have a plan for everything Julia she tried so hard to be. I would totally be best friends with that Julia!

Readability: Meant to Be was SUCH a cute read and was so fun to read! Although Julia annoyed me, her voice was exceptional and truly that of an uptight teen.

Crush Level: 7
Throughout the book I kept thinking “Okay, why am I supposed to like this Jason character? He is kind of a jerk to Julia.” But then I realized this isn’t a book where the guy has been pining for the girl forever. This is a book about two people who barely know each other falling for the other. When I realized this I suddenly felt differently towards Jason, little things he did suddenly didn’t bother me so much. Although he still goofed off and ran hot and cold, I could begin to see him as being a really good guy.

Bonus Points:

International Field Trips

I ALWAYS wanted to go on our school’s Europe field trip when I was in high school, but alas, it never happened. Julia’s class trip to London was a little less restrictive than I imagine ours’ were, but it was still fun to visit the city vicariously though her!

Secret Admirer

When Julia begins to receive text messages from the illusive Chris and can’t remember who he is, Jason offers to help her flirt with him via texting. I loved how giddy Julia was over this secret admirer, who kept begging her to meet him and all the funny stories she made up because she couldn’t. But when she does meet him… wow, totally great.

Czech Republic

When I was in 3rd grade I read a book about Czechoslovakia and it was my favorite country. Then in 9th grade when I took geography I learned that this country didn’t exist any longer and had split into two countries. Jason mentions something about Czechoslovakia and Julia corrects him about it being the Czech Republic. Cracked me up!

Commencement Speech: I originally received this book as part of our November Selective Collective and am SO glad we were able to get it! There are just some books that make you want to hug someone, to share the happiness you feel at the end of it. Meant to Be is one of these books. I think what made it so special to me was that there wasn’t insta-love, or long unrequited love that’s suddenly requited. I think Meant to Be shows us what love can really look like – two people who on paper aren’t meant to be can be meant to be. Julia and Jason seemed to balance each other out, which I love in a couple. Their back and forth quips, their annoyances with each others’ flaws were so believable.
My only fault with the book was that I felt the trip wasn’t very realistic. The students are given essentially “free time” to wander London, which leads to quite a lot of shenanigans. I just remember on our school trips, at night chaperones sat outside our hotel rooms just in case someone tried to sneak out. This “fault” wasn’t really so bad that it got me out of the book, but I kept thinking the entire time how my high school would have handled this trip. Other than that, this book was perfectly sweet and cute, having just enough depth and heart to make it so much more than a fluff piece but still leaving you with that wonderful fluffy, warm feeling.
Yearbook Quote: “I don’t have a problem with sex. I just don’t happen to be having it. And if I were having sex, I certainly wouldn’t be getting it on in an airplane bathroom. Who wants to get down and dirty in a place so . . . cramped and dirty?”
Superlatives: Best class trip EVER.
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6 thoughts on “You + Me = Meant to Be”

  1. Haha yes! I loved the Czech Republic quote. That’s something I would totally say haha.
    I agree – The whole “free time” thing would NEVER happen. I get that they were able to sneak out (kind of), but seriously – there’s no way they’d let high school students wander Europe alone!
    I absolutely loved it though. I liked that it wasn’t crushing on someone forever. I really like when the hate relationships turn into love!

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  2. ‘ There are just some books that make you want to hug someone, to share the happiness you feel at the end of it. Meant to Be is one of these books. ‘ – NAILED IT.

    I felt EXACTLY the same when I had finished Meant To Be.

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  3. I get what you mean about Jason. He was such a goof sometimes, and I know that if I would around someone who acted that way in public, I would get embarrassed. Not ashamed of that person or anything, but to have all that attention. Not something I would ever like.

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