Book Reviews

Review — The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Book title: The Trouble with Destiny
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR (Random House Children’s)
Release date: December 2015
Format: Egalley, 272 pages
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Delacorte and Random House!

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Synopsis:

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…

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.

I went into The Trouble with Destiny expecting cute romance and a tense competition on board a cruise ship. I got a love triangle (that wasn’t all that bad), barely any competition (does bitching out the rival Queen Bee count?), and a cruise ship that was so absolutely chill and passive about the fact that it was breaking down.

The plot. Was so unrealistic and illogical. The lack of adult supervision was pretty unbelievable. All the kids were just allowed to roam around the ship doing whatever they wanted. Also, the fact that the school needed the $25,000 to keep the band going, but could afford to send everyone on a cruise? Like, what?! And… I was expecting some more focus on the competition itself, but we only ever saw the marching band and the choir club, the Athenas. Um… weren’t there other schools competing? Where the heck were they during all of this? Aaaaaand — the blurb states that the Destiny “breaks down”. Well, the ship’s problems were pretty much forgotten, so the possibility of being stuck out at sea on a sinking ship and having to be rescued was pretty much tossed out the window. There was no ticking clock, there was no sense of danger.

The characters. Liza was okay. I didn’t like her, I didn’t hate her, though she was annoying sometimes and her behavior questionable. She had some fire to her but became a pile of goo at the thought of boys, sadly. Her ex-BFF and rival, Demi, felt like a typical bitchy Queen Bee we’ve seen everywhere before in high school TV shows and movies. The love interests were serviceable and did what they needed to do well; you rooted for one, you wanted to smack the other. I’d say it was Huck, Liza’s best friend, who gave this book a lot of color. He was really funny and I enjoyed the scenes he was in, though, in the scope of things, Huck didn’t really make this story stand out. The adults (of which there were three, I think?) were useless.

The romance. I disliked how Liza’s entire game was thrown off by a crush. She became completely incompetent at leading the band in their practices because she was distracted by the romance. (Like, whoa, she had some major mood swings.) The love triangle was predictable, though there were a few pretty funny and super awkward moments that gave me a good chuckle. Was I very interested in the romance, though? No. I expected there to be romance, but not for it to completely take over the book. Like, completely take it over.

Final thoughts. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s got some humor, it’s a quick read, but it’s not going to blow your socks off with characters, plot, or themes. I’d say the writing is geared more to the younger teen crowd. (Especially with that truth or dare game, that was a blast from the past!) The Trouble with Destiny isn’t a bad book, I did enjoy it and read most of the book in two sittings, but it’s a story we’ve all seen dozens of times before. The most original aspects were the marching band and the story being set on a cruise ship, and, unfortunately, the book didn’t focus on those awesome things. ♦


Have you read The Trouble with Destiny?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a cute, fluffy contemporary you’ve recently read?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!

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