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MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill

MEANT TO BE

By Lauren Morrill

Age Range: 13 - 17

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-74177-4
Publisher: Delacorte

A paint-by-numbers romantic comedy of errors.

Ultraorganized, rule-following scholar/swimmer Julia’s dreams of a perfect English-lit class trip to London are dashed when she is assigned to uber-immature slacker Jason as buddy for the entire time. Jason couldn’t possibly be any further from Mark, Julia’s Meant To Be back home, in looks, brains or character. Surprise, surprise: Numerous pratfalls, fights, mix-ups and unexpectedly revelatory conversations, and one awesome kiss later, it turns out that if not her, then at least the plot’s, MTB is, gasp, Jason. Julie’s heart follows a well-trodden path that only readers who have never encountered the genre before will find at all astonishing. What those who do know the formula will find striking is the doggedness with which sweet-at-heart Jason pursues bitchy Julia. Morrill drops plenty of clues for discerning readers that indicate Jason’s basic decency and attraction to Julia. Julia, meanwhile, ignores all of them and maintains such an unbending attitude of intellectual superiority that she becomes profoundly unlikable, despite many narrative attempts to mitigate this with episodes of clumsiness and cluelessness. The author has a good ear for comic dialogue—“I’m just saying there are other fish in the sea, Julia,” her best friend counsels via Skype. “Big fish. Tasty fish. Tuna fish!”—that bodes well for future, less formulaic outings. Physical comedy, particularly as presented in Julia’s present-tense voice, is far less successful.

For neophytes only. (Comic romance. 13-17)