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The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Pub. Date: December 8, 2015
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Delacorte!)
Summary: With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Lauren Morrill made a name for herself with her 2012 release, Meant to Be, and further solidified her place in YA with her follow-up novel, Being Sloane Jacobs. Her latest novel, The Trouble with Destiny instantly caught my attention: cruise ship + band shenanigans? How could I possibly pass that up??

Drum major Liza is keeping a secret from her band. A big secret. A monstrous, gigantic, whopper: their school is cutting funding for the music department. Liza launched into action, taking it upon herself to come up with a plan and then she discovered Destiny, a cruise ship that just so happens to be hosting a talent show…with a grand prize of $25,000, more than enough to keep the band going.

Unfortunately for Liza, she’ll be competing against the Athenas, a show choir headed by Demi, Liza’s ex-bestie. She’s also not thrilled about Demi’s football star ex-boyfriend Russ being sent along as the band’s errand boy. What she is thrilled about, however, is a chance run-in with a boy she used to have a wicked crush on when she was 12. Lenny has certainly grown up in the five years since she last saw him.

Things go from bad to worse once the ship breaks down (possibly helped along by a bowling ball incident…) and Liza’s increasing frustrations and worries reach their breaking point. With her beloved band’s future in serious jeopardy, is there any way she could pull off a miracle?

In my review for Being Sloane Jacobs I mentioned the the book “definitely was fun, but it fell a bit flat.” I’m going to sound like a broken record, but The Trouble with Destiny was no different. This one was an easy, breezy read with twists you could see from a mile off and featured an ending that was a bit too sitcom-y for my tastes. Overall The Trouble with Destiny was simply a middle-of-the-road, okay read and I’m wondering if that’s Lauren Morrill as a whole. Being Sloane Jacobs had that same ‘fun but pretty average’ quality to it and I’m a bit disappointed. Enjoyable while it lasts, but without anything that’ll really latch on and make an impression.

There’s the Mean Girl group, the Flamboyant Gay Best Friend, the Dumb Jock, the Hipster (complete with camera.) I could go on. Rather than feature characters, The Trouble with Destiny features caricatures. I’m all for light reads, but the twists were anything but: it’s clear from the start who Liza will end up with and the kiss-and-make-up scene repairs years’ worth of anger and bullying in a matter of sentences. I could practically hear the swell of music in the background. All it lacked was the roll of end credits.

Although I enjoyed the story while reading – and got through it in a single sitting – this isn’t a book I’ll find myself thinking back on in the months to come. I’m sure I’ll read Morrill’s next work, but I won’t be expecting an earth-shattering, life-changing novel. That said, she’s certainly found her fans and this one was a quick and easy read. I just wish I had gotten more out of it.

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