Word Spelunking

Meant to Be (The Saving Angels, #1) - Tiffany King My rating is more 3.5 stars...Today’s review is a bit long. I had a lot to say and wanted to make sure I said it clearly…I bought this book for two reasons- a) it has a captivating synopsis and b) it has so many great reviews- so I had very high expectations when I started this book. Some of those expectations were met, some were not.In Meant to Be, by Tiffany King, we are introduced to Krista Miller, a seventeen year old high school senior who has just moved to Santa Cruz with her adoptive mother after her father’s death. Krista is a smart, reclusive, incredibly sensitive teenager who has dreamt of the same guy her entire life. Upon moving to California and starting at a new school, Krista meets her literal “dream guy” Mark, and a girl named Sam who also has her own “dream guy”. Together, the four teenagers set out to discover their origins and destiny. And what they find is both surprising and potentially dangerous.First, let me start off by saying that the overall storyline does not disappoint. King has taken a well used idea and added her own creative and original twist, creating an intriguing storyline. But, I found the beginning of the book to be very slow and hard to get into; the story didn’t really grab me until about half way into the novel. But once my attention was captured and the real action began, I found myself eagerly turning pages and rapidly reading to see what happened next. As for the main characters, I liked them well enough, but I didn’t find myself connecting with them very much. And I really wanted to, especially with the main character Krista. I was surprised at my lack of connecting with and genuine affection for the main characters, especially since they are very much outsider types of characters, which I tend to gravitate towards. Their outsider status seems organic enough given their situation (which I won’t spoil for you), but at times it also felt like its used for clichéd reasons, such as making fun of Krista and Sam’s rich, private school peers. I was definitely not a spoiled, rich, private school kid myself and I can understand Krista and Sam’s contempt for their school peers, but at times I almost felt the need to defend the rich kid stereotype simply because the obvious contempt was shoved in my face so often. I definitely got the sense that I was suppose to believe that the four main characters were morally superior to their peers, which they may very well be, but I think this notion lacked subtlety. I would have liked to have gotten to know the characters better, especially Sam and her “dream guy” Shawn, who were both likable. Instead of simply referring to Sam’s antics or Shawn’s funny stories, it would have been nice if King had actual shown how funny and engaging these characters could be. I think my biggest issue with the characterizations of the four main characters, is that I can’t discern whether or not I’m suppose to view them as regular teenagers with exceptional abilities placed in an extraordinary situation or as somethings or someones simply inconvenienced by their teenage façade. Of course, this is just the first book in a series, so this vagueness could very well be intentional. The romantic aspects of this book, mainly the relationship between Krista and Mark and Sam and Shawn, are intense and very much written on an epic level, as in fate or destiny epic. In the first half of the book, I found myself comparing Krista and Mark’s “love at first sight, we believe we’re soulmates” kind of relationship to that of the infamous Bella/Edward from Twilight relationship…which, in my mind, is not a good comparison. I tend to find such intense, codependent romantic relationships in YA lit, which involve teenagers, to be overwhelming and unhealthy, so I had my doubts at first. But, as the novel progresses and the secrets of their pasts and origins are revealed (again, I won’t spoil it), Krista and Mark, and Sam and Shawn’s relationships are given more depth and I found that the destiny/soulmates/love at first sight aspects were more believable. Yet, while I can fully appreciate the way King has tried to give more depth to the clichéd teenage romance and while the codependent aspect of the romantic relationships has its integral purpose to the storyline, I can’t help but feel as if this is a romance that I’ve read a hundred times before.I have my issues with Meant to Be but I walked away from this novel with the belief that it has a great deal of potential. The characters do grow and evolve by the end of the book and they definitely have the potential to develop even greater in the next books. The creative and original storyline are captivating, and King has created and given enough fresh, intriguing twists, turns, and information by the end of the book to leave readers wanting more…this reader, will definitely be giving the next book in the series a chance.

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