I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Delacorte Press on December 8, 2015
Source: the publisher
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.
It always makes me sad when I have to give a book 2 stars. Mostly because below 3 stars is usually a DNF for me, so it’s rare that I have to actually rate and review a book that was a 2-star read. It’s happened a handful of times, though, and the reason I review these rare 2-star reads is simple: Though I didn’t enjoy them as much as I’d hoped to, I was still pulled in enough that I couldn’t bring myself to DNF. In those cases, I like to review, so I can explain my thoughts and feelings. And that’s the case with The Trouble with Destiny. I wanted to love it, since I really enjoyed Morrill’s Being Sloane Jacobs. Sadly, I had many issues with it.
The biggest issue I had with this book was the characters. I’m super character-focused, so if I don’t like the characters, I have trouble enjoying the book. I always try to keep an open mind while reading, but this book made it difficult. Our main character, Liza, was whiny and bossy. I loved how determined she was to win the competition and save her beloved marching band, but she definitely went about it the wrong way and she ended up being in her head the whole time and basically ignoring the thoughts and feelings of everyone around her. There’s nothing wrong with being focused and determined, but it felt like she lost sight of her true goal and the more she tried to get back on track, the more she sank (Sorry, couldn’t help it!).
I could NOT stand Demi. She just barely redeemed herself in the end, but it was done in a unrealistic (in my opinion) way. First of all, I’m SICK BEYOND WORDS of the mean girl trope in YA. Mean girls aren’t mean girls – they’re bullies! And no one seems to want to acknowledge that. Second of all, I’m even more sick of the “_____ is my ex-best friend. We are now mortal enemies” trope. From my experience, when you stop being friends with someone, you completely ignore them and forget about them. You don’t attack them and bully them. But maybe that’s just me. And then the resolution with their friendship at the end was ridiculous. Yes, I’ve had epic, massive fights with friends and then we’ve made up. But it’s not that simple and things don’t just go back to how they were. You need to talk out what happened and resolve the underlying issues. I get the miscommunication they experienced and how each felt ditched by the other – That was realistic. But Demi was SO nasty to Liza, the things she said and did SO horrible… No, I could forgive the miscommunication but not the nasty bullying. You don’t just go back to being friends after that. But again, that’s just me.
The Russ/Lenny thing was one of my least favorite love triangles ever. I mean, it kind of broke some of the stereotypes that surround love triangles, which was nice, but it was just poorly done and pretty predictable. I knew almost immediately how it would end. Also, I didn’t like Lenny at all and I got more of a friend-vibe from Russ. So there’s that, too.
Characters I did like? Huck and Hillary. Huck was hilarious, epic and had good taste in karaoke music. We didn’t see a lot of Hillary, but she seemed like a great friend.
Character issues aside, the things I DID enjoy about this book? Morrill’s writing. Her writing flows and pulls you into the story. The plot really intrigued me and that’s what kept me reading, more than anything. I really wanted to see what happened with the cruise ship and if the marching band would win the competition in the end. The pacing was fairly well done, as well. It’s a short, easy read.
I have a lot more thoughts on this book and I could discuss them all in great detail. But, as always, I hate thinking that my reviews might discourage someone from reading a book. I might not have enjoyed The Trouble With Destiny, but someone else might love it. I will NEVER tell someone NOT to read a book, though I won’t go out of my way to recommend it. So if you were excited for this book, give it a chance. You might love it! I truly hope you do! If you’re a fan of Morrill’s other books, you’ll likely love it! And if you like cute, easy reads, then this one is definitely for you! If you DO read it and DO love it, let me know in the comments – tell me why you loved it!