When I went to London, I was extremely excited to explore the bookstores there. I *may* have created a list beforehand of books I wished most to pick up there. See, I wanted my London book haul to be special, so I wanted to pick up books that were either (a) a UK edition I preferred over the US edition, (b) written by a British author, or (c) set in London/England. When I stood in the bookstores with my list in hand, I quickly realized there was one book I wanted above all others: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. And it was nowhere to be found. *sobs*
Why did I want it so badly? Well, it was a contemporary set in London, and it had that *gorgeous* cover. I didn't know *much* else about it except the fact that it seemed to be pretty well liked by friends of mine. I don't read reviews of books I'm planning on reading, so yeah. So once I arrived home without a shiny, lovely copy of Meant to Be, I immediately ordered it.
Then it arrived. I started reading it and within 15 pages I knew I was in love and this would be an absolute favorite of mine. When I finished, my assumption was proven correct. I loved this book. Loved. It came to me at just the right time, because I desperately needed some fluff. And this is fluff at its finest. Don't expect a really deep, life-changing kind of contemporary - just tons of fun with some great characters. Honestly, I don't have a single complaint. I loved every minute of this book.
So our main character in Meant to Be is Julia, the type A, obsessive compulsive control freak, semi-sheltered, intelligent high school student. Immediately I fell in love. I saw so much of myself in Julia. We instantly connected because I understood her thought process perfectly. I just giggled along with all of her narrations. It was brilliant. She's a flawed character but so lovable. Just great! (And she's a bookworm and a swimmer like me, I mean, seriously.)
So Julia goes on a school trip to London and is stuck with students whose main priorities are shopping and drinking. None of her friends could make the trip, so she's pretty much on her own. Then she gets stuck with the popular and obnoxious boy, Jason, as her trip buddy - with the instruction that they're basically not allowed to leave each other's side. Can you feel it coming? Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen. It's hate-to-love romance at its absolute finest.
Jason made me giggle constantly. And though he exhibits the hot-cold attitude that might annoy me in other books, I could just tell the sincerity of his words and actions when he was actually being nice to Julia. Julia is on a mission to find her MTB, "Meant To Be", and Jason decides to "help" her along the way, despite him ardently insisting that there is no such thing. So they get up to shenanigans and there are some amazingly heartfelt and touching scenes. From tackling each other in a museum to awesome banter to dancing in a bookstore to that first kiss... their romance was absolutely amazing and I was addicted.
This book was just a wonderful, happy adventure. We saw some of the highlights of London, which I now know quite well. Lauren Morrill takes some of my absolute favorite tropes and made me fall in love with them all over again. And then there was the ending. It was just perfect. The. Freaking. Perfect. Ending. I honestly was sitting there squealing, and I had tears in my eyes because I was so happy. It gave me all the feels. All of them. It was just a great depiction of the perception of love in high school and the necessary disillusionment. While Julia's character growth in this novel wasn't monumental, and, like I said, it's not a life-changing story, it was extremely heartfelt and realistic, and above all, super super cute.
I can't praise this book enough. Honestly, it was precisely what I needed right now, and, yeah, absolutely no complaints. Lauren Morrill's ability to stay true to life, lift my spirits, and simultaneously make me fall so deeply in love with characters, means I will definitely be checking out Being Sloane Jacobs when it comes out in January 2014. I have great expectations! And definitely check out Meant to Be whenever you're in need of some more fluff in your life. Fluff doesn't get better than this.