Posted in YA

Meant to Be – Lauren Morrill

11721314Synopsis

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

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. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be 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 break a few rules 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.

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My Review

Julia is off on a school trip to London for 10 days. It’s the city where her parents took their honeymoon and Julia has wanted to experience the London magic since hearing stories about the city and since finding her mother’s Romeo and Juliet book. She’s completely accident prone but she’s definitely one for following the rules and hates to break them. She takes books wherever she goes and always has her pocket Shakespeare in her pocket. She also has a MTB (Meant to be) in the form of Max Bixford, her childhood crush. He just hasn’t acknowledged her in years, but she’s determined he’s the one for her.

Jason is nothing like Julia’s envision of a MTB. He’s a jock who teases Julia, calling her Book Licker, he flirts with any girl in a skirt and is a total rule breaker. And now Julia is partnered up with him during the ten days – nightmare! But maybe this could be a good thing?

During their trip, Julia is slowly conforming to the ways of Jason. He presses her to have fun and be a rule breaker instead of being a stuck-up book worm and when she ends up getting drunk at a party he takes her to on the first night, and begins texting a guy she met – albeit she can’t remember him – Jason is there to help her find him.

This book reminded me of Bound Together, as Julia was alone on the trip without any friends, much like Zoe, and Jason was the misunderstood jock, much like Matt. Although they were both in different cities, they both were partnered together and grew closer and both Matt and Jason blew hot and cold, making both the girls confused over their feelings for the guys.

During the book, there were times when I loved Julia and times when I just wanted her to let loose and have fun and stop being so prissy. Albeit, her dislike for Jason turned her off following his plans, but I did like that she let her guard down sometimes and the chemistry between them was hard to miss, even through the bickering and the ‘cultural’ hours they went on – like the London Eye and at Stratford-upon-Avon. Boy did I love the rain part! Swooooon.

With the texts, I really thought Jason was sending them to Julia, but alas, I was totally mistaken, and was completely laughing when it was discovered who the texter was. It was a good twist to the ending, seeing I was adamant it was either Jason or one of his friends doing it to embarrass Julia. Thank god I was mistaken, because I loved the confession from Jason at the end of the book. For someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in MTB’s and love, it was a sweet declaration.

Mark – well what can I say about him? He seemed so lovely when he ‘saved’ Julia – I suppose you could say – but the more time spent on him, the more he became an absolute prick. I disliked him as soon as he mentioned the plane ‘gossip’. It just proves that even if you were best friends once upon a time, years can change anyone and it definitely changed Mark into an asshole. Jason repeatedly told Julia about him, but once you have a vision of how you want your crush to be, you don’t like anyone telling you otherwise. It was great to see the jealously steaming from Jason when Matt was mentioned and when the three of them went to Hyde Park. Boy was that totally awkward.

I loved all the texts, and after finding out about the phones at the end of the book, I literally went back and read them all again from SF. Seriously, if you read this book, take note of them, because everything will become clear with them at the end.

This was my Lazy Sunday book, and by God, I fell in love with it. I’m a sucker for bad boy/good girl loving so this definitely gets my seal of approval. It was a cute story about finding yourself and love, no matter how unpredictable it can be.

Posted in Romance, YA

Bound Together – Eliza Jane

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Zoey needs an escape from some personal drama, like her mom’s depression and taking care of her four younger siblings. She finds the perfect distraction in a frenemies-with-benefits arrangement with irritatingly hot football captain, Matt, during their class trip to Paris. There’s no chance of falling for someone whose only ambition in life is to stay in their hick town and one day take over his parent’s tire store. But far from home and personal responsibilities, his cocky grin and easy attitude start to grow on her as they explore the seductive city of Paris together.

Once they’re back at home, Zoey finds herself texting him for a secret rendezvous whenever she needs an escape. Though she’s been explicitly clear she’s using him for one thing, whenever Matt picks her up, he acts more like it’s a date-date rather than a backseat playdate –making sure she has eaten, or stopping to color with her little sister before they go out. Despite her best efforts at keeping their arrangement physical only, Zoey begins to realize – with fear and disgust – that she’s falling for him. When things fall apart with her mom, letting Matt see her real life takes more courage than she has – but if she’s brave enough to let him, he might be just the one person who can help.

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My Review

Zoe doesn’t lead a normal lifestyle. With a dad that works all the time, a depressed mother and four young siblings, she’s more of a mother to them than a sister as she does everything for them. At the end of the day, she is absolutely knackered and that’s why she can’t wait to go to Paris, to see how they cope without her at home.

Matt is the popular jock, the captain of the football team, he’s rich, had a popular girlfriend, whom he dumps and goes to all the parties. Thing is he’s faking being happy but feels like he has to keep up this cheery persona around everyone; at home and at school.

Zoey and Matt are both hiding behind a facade. They both have things happening in their life’s that they don’t want anyone to know about and that’s why Paris is an escape for them both.

They both get partnered up on the trip to Paris, to do an assignment together and Zoey isn’t happy about it at all. Zoey is a goth girl, more into keeping to herself and Matt is a popular jock, known by everyone. They have nothing in common. But in Paris they both get to know each other and they both feel at ease being together; they don’t have to act fake.

Sticking together throughout the trip, they form their own little bubble; just the two of them. They both feel something spending time together, hence the frenemies-with-benefits, but they know everything must return to how it was before Paris when they fly home.

Except things don’t change, minus Zoey trying to ignore Matt when they get back, he slowly worms his way into her life, no matter how much she tries to stop it. She doesn’t want to fall in love with someone who wants to stay in their town, when she wants to get far away.

So they make a deal. Secret meetups to hook up and when Zoey wants to stop it, Matt tells her they can have one phone call each then they can stop all contact. Can they really stay away from each other though?

I loved both the characters of Matt and Zoey. They seemed so different yet so in tune with one another. Matt suffers from migraines and Zoey turns into mother mode to help him out whereas Matt is so kind and lovely to her siblings, even going as far to help her mother out.

It was a breath of fresh air to see someone like Matt admitting he doesn’t want the popular status that he has to keep up, trying to be happy when he’s clearly not and it doesn’t feel like him at all.

Zoey doesn’t like anyone seeing the real her – someone who keeps the family running – so it takes courage for her to let Matt see that side of her, especially as he witnesses it firsthand. But she accepts his help even though she wants to be the strong one.

They both show their weak sides to one another, Matt with the migraines and telling Zoey about his brother’s death and Zoey with her family. It was really nice to read them help each other out and be tormented over their feelings for one another, finally succumbing to them later on.

The only problem was the ending. I felt that Eliza could have added a few more chapters to their journey but then maybe it was the perfect way to end it. Other than that, I did enjoy this book. It gave me a few laughs in places and a few gasps and squeals. All in all, a great read to pass the day.