Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Six years ago, names began showing up on people's chests when they turned eighteen. These names are "meant-to-be's" (MTBs), the name of the person you are destined to fall in love with. Agatha Abrams hates the idea of MTBs, so she spends the summer not-quite-dating her crush from work, Luke. But as the summer goes on, Aggy's mind can't help but wander to her MTB: Who is he and why hasn't he tried to find her? Aggy stubbornly continues to avoid anything to do with her MTB until his younger sister reaches out to her. Faced with the reality that she wants to know who this boy is, and with a little encouragement from her friends and family, Aggy and Hendrix begin to talk and learn more about each other. Aggy learns that even seeking out the person you're meant to be with is still a choice.
Although the premise of this book is interesting, the book doesn't fully live up to its potential. The idea of knowing who you're meant to be with creates a good dilemma for the novel's characters. However, the setting of the story makes it difficult to fully explore the consequences of this new phenomenon. The book is marketed as a sci-fi or dystopian novel, yet it's set in present day Illinois. The reader also spends most of their time reading about Aggy complaining about her supposed lack of choice instead of exploring the way society views love, marriage, and personal choice. Therefore, she ends up coming off as just being rebellious for the sake of being rebellious, even after her uncle explains that choosing to seek out her MTB is not her giving in to societal expectations. Overall, the book is a decent read, interesting enough to get through but not as good as it originally seems.
*Contains severe language, severe sexual content, and mild violence.