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The Trouble with Destiny

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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.

263 pages, Hardcover

First published December 8, 2015

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About the author

Lauren Morrill

10 books954 followers
Lauren Morrill is the author of spicy adult and sweet YA romance, including Sister of the Bride (coming September 12, 2023) Meant to Be (Delacorte) and It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). She loves all things romantic comedy and specializes in kissing books. Lauren lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband, Adam Ragusea, and their two children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews
Profile Image for Sophia Sardothien.
155 reviews519 followers
February 10, 2015
Thank you netgalley for sending me this book in exchange of an honest review

Lauren Morrill, is one of my favorite contemporary books author. I extremely love her book Meant To Be I thought it was phenomenal and amazing. Everything about that book was spot on :)

However I did not enjoy The Trouble With Destiny as much as I hope I did. I thought that the plot really drags on a lot, nothing truly happened until 60% in. Though both in books the romance was predictable but with this one it took way too long to develop. As it did, it was heartwarming and spectacular.

I really did not like the protagonist but I don't exactly hate her. From times to times she really irritates me, to the point where I just started skimming the book. By all means I did like the secondary characters, I thought they were all extremely likable and relatable. Especially the protagonist's best friend, it made me to want to have a best friend like she did. Anyway it was really the protagonist herself that sorts of bugs me out.

Overall I'll give it a 3.4 stars, the ending was definitely astonishing but not so much for the entire book.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read a contemporary with a lighter romance. As for those who did read and enjoyed Lauren Morrill's previous work I'm afraid you'll be a bit a tiny bit disappointed with this one.


This book comes out on 5th December :) go give it a try and perhaps you'll would love it!
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
November 13, 2015
Lauren Morrill writes some of the most adorable and fun YA contemporary out there and when I started The Trouble With Destiny, it didn't take me long to remember why I love reading her books so much and why I crave this genre.

With a cast of fun and sometimes goofy characters, not to mention a cruise, a competition, old friends, an art geek, a football hero, and two funny and supportive best friends, this read was packed full of the good stuff.

Not only did it have a unique story line and setting, it was every bit as fun as it could be serious.

I highly enjoyed this read and it was perfect for a lazy afternoon where I just wanted a light, fun read that would leave me with a smile on my face.

*An ARC copy of this was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,174 reviews438 followers
December 31, 2015
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, having never read anything by the author before, but I actually really enjoyed it. The story takes place on a luxury cruise, named Destiny, where a talent show competition is taking place - the prize is $25,000. Liza, a drum major in a school marching band that's about to lose all it's funding, knows this is their last chance to save the group. The silly thing is, she won't tell the others in the group, worrying they won't be at their best for competition. As such, she's basically a basket case, overreacting at any small mishap. Her friends start to lose faith in her, and to top everything off, she having to deal with an old crush turning up.

I enjoyed Liza's character, though she was a little too neurotic for me at times. However, I understood why she was, and completely agreed that it wasn't fair for the marching band to lose its funding when the sports teams, namely the football team, are having money thrown at them. I feel like she could have dealt with the band a little better; if she trusted them, the whole trip would've been a lot easier from the get go.

I'm glad the the person who appeared to be the love interest, wasn't actually the love interest, cause he was a complete and utter jerk! I hated him, and am glad he got his comeuppance. From the start of the trip, I clicked who was the actual love interest, and loved the way their relationship blossomed. One thing that Morill did really well was develop real relationships, both romantic and platonic. The hatred between Liza and Demi was really reminiscent of teenage fallings outs, and I'm glad with how they were at the end of the story.

Normally with a YA contemporary book, I feel like I've been let down with how 'abrupt' the ending is, and I wasn't after reading The Trouble with Destiny. I actually felt it ended in a natural place, and don't really need any more to help the story. I really liked Morill's writing, and I think I would read more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Henz.
233 reviews87 followers
August 25, 2015
Hmmm Let’s see, if I was still 14 or 15 or basically a teen maybe I would love this book but I’m a 20’s girl and although I love Young Adult fiction, really I love them and in fact most of my Favorites are in YA contemporaries but this book was really not my cup of tea.

I find it very generic. It’s like I’m watching High Musical all over again, not that I didn’t like it back then but the drama in that Disney movie is somewhat similar to the drama I’ve been reading in this book. It was so cliché that I gave it too many eye rolls.

It has a very romantic setting, which is the Destiny ship so I was expecting it to be the fluffy version of Titanic but oh well. I guess I’m wrong. Overall it’s an okay read, if the target readers are in their early teens then I’m sure they’ll love and swoon over this book but I doubt the same goes for late teens and adult readers.

(ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley)
Profile Image for Selene.
596 reviews134 followers
February 8, 2017
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you NetGalley for my advanced reading copy. I look forward to reading this book!

I love a good contemporary romance book! This was an enjoyable and fast paced read. The main character Liza was not really my favorite leading character but I really enjoyed the other characters in the book. I found this book pretty predictable which in some ways I like of contemporary novels but in this case I wanted a little more struggle.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
February 16, 2015
To see review with Anderson gifs click here.

Note: I received a DRC from Netgalley this did not influence my opinion on this book. Although, I appreciate the opportunity.

I wouldn’t want to be on this boat.

It would sink fast. Way, way, fast. And it would be such a boring boat full of idiots. Who would want to be on a boat full of idiots? And a boring boat at that?

Annoying Book Comparison for This Book: It’s like an after school special meets The Love Boat with some Full House music sequences thrown in but without John Stamos to make the Olsen twins bearable.

Yes, I said The Love Boat as in that show Anderson Cooper’s mom guest starred on and with that annoying song that gets stuck in your head.


That’s what this book is about.

I was actually really happy to get a DRC of this book. Because it seems like it should be things I like: 1) Band, 2) Cruises, 3) Disaster Cruises.

The third thing is so not true. There is no Carnival poo boat incident much to my disdain. Yes, I wanted and expected a Carnival incident to happen on this ship because it would’ve been so much better than the boring book we got.

Because maybe Anderson Cooper would’ve made an appearance via helicopter.

Alas, Anderson Cooper fails to save this book.

I bet if he was there, he would’ve told Morrill that oboe players generally don’t march because the instrument costs as much as a small car and that it’s extremely touchy and a reed can easily be used a projectile weapon.

He would also tell her that marching season usually coincides with football season and that since the Super Bowl is generally in late January early February NOT March which is when this competition took place.

Also, Anderson Cooper would probably remark about how most cruise ships are ill equip to handle a marching band.

Why am I mentioning Anderson so much?

It’s so not intentional. I guess it’s because he calls people out on their shit. And there’s a lot of shit to be called out on this one.

Which is a shame because it really has a lovely premises, you know if something happened other than silly teenage shenanigans that could only happen in the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedy series in the mid 2000’s.

Yes, it’s that cheese-a-rific which would be fine, you know, if it wasn’t so cringe worthy.

And I liked at least one of the character.

But no, not one of them.

Also, I hate to say this, but I really have to wonder if Morrill had any band experience. The drum major seems to have a lot more power than the drum majors at my school ever did. And the band director seemed to do nothing…in fact, I think he wins a Golden Charlie*.

Just like the character’s roles seem unrealistic, the characters themselves seem like caricatures. The main character is ridiculously anal, to the point where no one should’ve wanted to be around her. The love interests personalities were hot guy one and hot guy two. Both get involved in some crazy roll your eyes worthy hijinks with the main character. And one is obviously the jerk.

I just can’t recommend this book. I found myself skimming through it very early on. Which is a shame, because I know Lauren Morrill can write some good stuff. I think this is the first book of hers that really felt packaged and that’s a shame.

Overall Rating: Hmm, should I give it points for potential? Yeah, I’m feeling generous. A D for some good ideas, but it really had a horrible execution.

*For those of you who don’t know, the Golden Charlies are an award given to incompetent adults in YA. Their counterpart, a Golden Bella goes to incompetent teenage girl’s who don’t give a rat’s ass about their own lives.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
December 10, 2015
1.5 stars? I don't even know.

I feel like I'm missing out on the love everyone seems to have for Lauren's books, so I always request and I'm always disappointed.

I didn't like any of these characters. Liza is quite bitchy and mean to her classmates. I struggled to care about her situation and didn't find anything redeeming about her. There are loads of other characters, but they're so flat. Maybe that was done on purpose to show how Liza thought she was on her own, but there were some with such potential.

I kept reading because I was hoping that something would turn around for me. Sadly, it didn't have the spark I was expecting and overall, it felt quite juvenile. Obviously I'm in the minority, I think I just have to give up on trying her books.

**Huge thanks to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Erin Lynn.
335 reviews79 followers
December 15, 2015
FTC Disclosure: Delacorte Press allowed me to read and review an advance copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This review was originally published on my blog, The Hardcover Lover.

The Trouble With Destiny is the first book by Lauren Morrill that I've read. Yes, I've seen her other books in stores and online. Yes, I know people adore them. Heck, even I own a copy of Meant to Be. I just haven't found the time to read it yet because there are seriously so many books! I can say that I'm a little troubled after reading The Trouble With Destiny because things just felt a little off with the book. There were some parts that I really, really enjoyed, but there were also a lot of flaws that had me cringing because of the lack of research on Morrill's part.

Like I said, there are some really good things about The Trouble With Destiny. First of all, I thought that the plot was pretty unique. As a former band geek, I was thrilled to see that someone was writing a book about a school band. I also loved the competition aspect of it all. The band and other high school performing arts groups set sail on a cruise, and they have the chance to win $25,000? Yeah... count me in!

Overall, I enjoyed Morrill's writing style because she really makes Liza seem like a teenage girl. That's important in YA, and I liked that it felt authentic. Liza has her ups and downs during the cruise, and she expresses her thoughts honestly. She's annoying when she's angry or upset, and she's kind of endearing when she's excited about something.

There are some great characters in the book, and I was kind of upset that they really only seemed like secondary characters. I wish that Morrill would have included these two guys in more scenes because they really made the book feel like it had more to it than it really did. The first guy you should know about is Huck. He's Liza's best friend, and I really enjoyed him for who he is. He's funny and kind, and he's definitely the kind of person that I'd want as a friend. Another character who I adored from the get go was Russ, the football player who was forced to go on the cruise with the band as a punishment. (Seriously!) He's just adorable, and not what I was expecting from a football/marching band story, so that was a wonderful surprise.

I also said there were some bad things about The Trouble With Destiny, and it made the teacher in me so angry. I felt like Morrill didn't do her research when writing this book, and it really disappointed me. First of all, the book lacks parent chaperones. When a group this big goes on an overnight trip, chaperones are needed. It's a legal issue, and most schools require that there be one adult per ten students. Why? They are there to keep track of the students. They are there to keep them out of trouble. What does Morrill provide in this book? One chaperone who doesn't pay attention to anything going on with his band!

The book also lacks the presence of a school nurse. This is also a requirement for school field trips because students are not allowed to carry medicine - prescription or over the counter - on their person. The nurse needs to be there to give the kids their medicines at the right times, but he/she also needs to be there for those unexpected moments, like a scraped knee or the stomach flu. (Seriously... I'm speaking from experience because I got food poisoning on a band trip, and if it weren't for the nurse, I would have had to be flown home.)

The competition aspect also felt unfinished. Yes, there is a beef between Liza's marching band and a show choir group from their high school. Morrill goes into detail about that, by explaining the feud between former BFFs Liza and Demi. We see them play tricks on one another, and we see them try to figure out how to coexist on the same cruise. That's all fine and dandy, but in the first chapter, another group, The Mechanicals, is mentioned, and Liza refers to them as being a group from their rival high school. Because of this, I was expecting more, and the lack of anything else about them really made the mention of them seem pointless.

I also had a few problems with some of the novels characters. Like I said above, Liza can get annoying, especially when she's frustrated. I understand why she's frustrated, but seeing her freak out on her friends is a little disheartening. She's also really, really thick-headed, especially when it comes to following her heart. Another character who bothered me is Demi, Liza's childhood best friend and now enemy. She's just downright mean during most of the novel, but she does eventually redeem herself. I just don't know how honest it really seems, especially after so many years of feuding.

I did find the synopsis to be a little misleading, though. When I read the words "drum major," I was thinking that Liza's band would be competing as a marching band. I know it would be hard to do a marching show on a cruise ship, but I was thinking that maybe they'd hit up the stage in a block band or march in and then do a performance. (I told you all that I was a band geek!) I was bummed when I found out that they'd be competing as a concert band.

Overall, I kind of liked the book, but I kind of didn't. I wouldn't say it's one that I have to read ever again and I don't think I'll ever read it again. I am glad that I read it because it entertained me for a few hours, even if it pissed me off. If you're curious about The Trouble With Destiny, I recommend borrowing it from the library instead of purchasing it just in case you aren't a fan of how things develop in the novel.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
December 9, 2015
Lauren Morrill writes really cute books. Her first two novels were both winners for me, books perfect for when I’m looking to just take a break from reading heavier books. So I was excited to get to The Trouble With Destiny. While the book was enjoyable for the most part and definitely left me with a smile at the end, it was also my least favorite book by the author.

What I Liked
– The cruise setting
The Trouble With Destiny was set around a cruise. You can’t pay me enough to ever set foot on a cruise ship, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy living vicariously through my books and characters. I loved the whole atmosphere of the cruise and all the shenanigans the characters got into. It wasn’t always fun, and I’m convinced I would never survive a cruise trip, but there were moments when the characters seemed to be really enjoy themselves that made reading the book worth it.

– Band dynamics
I loved the idea of the band as well because it made for some really interesting dynamics between the characters. They were all pretty much goofballs, with varying personalities. Together, they were a crazy bunch, but they made for very entertaining characters. Their interactions were my FAVORITE part of the story!

What I Wanted More From
– Liza
For the most part, she was a well-fleshed out character, but I never felt a deep connection with her as a protagonist. She was obviously very passionate about her band and it turned her anal at times – she loved being in control and taking care of the band, which aren’t bad qualities to have when you’re in a position of leadership, but here’s the thing, I felt like her controlling nature was the only characteristic that came through The Trouble With Destiny. I definitely warmed up to her better towards the end, but I wouldn’t call her a memorable character.

– Romance
The romance in The Trouble With Destiny was honestly strange. I was never 100% sure who the love interest was which made for a rather frustrating experience at times. I mean, I had suspicions, which turned out to be right, but it just took too long for Liza to realize who she might have feelings for. I liked the guy that she chose because he was a sweetheart throughout the whole book, always unexpectedly there for her, but not even he could really redeem the romance for me. I wouldn’t call the book a love triangle per se, but readers who struggle with shaky romances might want to skip this one.

So in the end, The Trouble With Destiny was a book I had a mixed reaction to. The book was entertaining, which was what I expected it to be, but parts of it let a lot to be desired and it’s definitely not Lauren Morrill’s strongest book. Her writing is very readable though so I’m not entirely giving up on her!

Profile Image for Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm.
1,256 reviews106 followers
December 29, 2015
Liza was hell-bent on winning the $25,000 spring break talent show prize so she could help produce funding for her high school marching band. Aboard the Destiny cruise ship, she did everything she could to help her team, even though there were a lot of hindrances - like her old camp crush, or her new crush who happened to be her enemy's ex-boyfriend.

Okay, so here's the thing. I was once a majorette in our high school drum and lyre corps (for about a year only), so I know a thing or two about being a drum major. Just like Liza, I also provided commands to my ensemble and led my marching band to places, told them what piece to play and so on. But the difference between Liza and me was, I wasn't that competitive. Nor a bitch. I wasn't into head-butting other drum majors or making snide remarks and petty accusations or throwing tantrums when the other band was winning, or when my ex-bestfriend display her wealth under my nose. Just no.

Liza was that. Liza was full of angst and anxiety and apprehension. Liza wasn't going to win any awards from me even if she asks me to. All too soon, I realized Liza wasn't the kind of protagonist I envisioned her to be. I even thought of not finishing the book because it was a little dragging already and I wasn't liking the flow of the story. Too many times my kid caught me shaking my head and rolling my eyes. Nevertheless, I still completed the book and somehow liked how it all ended.

NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,492 reviews697 followers
November 18, 2015
Initial Impressions 10/15/15: Okay, that ending was SUPER cute! Sometimes music doesn't come across well in books because, well, you can't hear it. Lauren Morrill did a really fantastic job of making this music come to life. I could picture the band performance (and all of the music at the end) and really hear it in my head. It made me grin from ear to ear!
I love love love the hate-to-love romance. Morrill totally nailed in this in MEANT TO BE and I loved how it developed in THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY as well. It was handled pretty realistically (since I can count many crushes-gone-wrong form my own high school days) and I thought it was also incredibly fun.
There was a bit of a lull in the middle for me -- maybe just because I was taking so long to read it? -- but I started to lose my way with the story of the band. I think it's hard for me to watch a character who feels the need to take charge and stay in control and watch her pull herself down so I think I just felt bad for Liza as she was making things harder for herself by fighting for control! But like all adorable contemporary books, it all worked out in the end!!

Full review originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 11/18/15: I’ve been a fan of Lauren Morrill since 2012 when I first read her debut MEANT TO BE and the adorable contemporary novels have just kept on coming! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was no exception to Morrill’s previous works and it was so much fun from start to finish.

Naturally, THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY immediately pulled me in with the premise of Liza and her group of band nerds entering a performance contest to save their school music’s program. You don’t even have to finish the phrase “music nerd” before I am totally on board that ship and ready to set sail! I was a choir geek in high school (I’m not in an organization anymore but I think I’m still pretty geeky when it comes to choir) and I had an absolute blast with all of the music references, performances, and technical terms throughout the book. Lauren Morrill really did a fantastic job of bringing that music to life as well which is something that’s always so hard for me in books! Music is such a mood-setter and so important to a scene that it’s hard for me as a reader to listen to that song playing in my head while still absorbing the rest of the text but THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY had some really amazing musical moments that stuck with me throughout the pages. I was so happy to finally see a book that was able to accomplish this and it sort of brought back that hope for me that I can hear the music used in books.

Liza was a fun character to read about! Similar to some of Morrill’s other heroines, Liza is hell-bent on perfection and success although instead of academics or sports, Liza’s obsession is her school band. It was a great addition to have that noble cause of saving the school’s music program as a driving force as well so Liza’s ambition had so much more emotion attached and reason to be driven to win instead of just winning for the sake of being the best. It also really affected the other students as well and it was really great to see that side of Liza show when she’s working hard to save the band not only for herself but for her fellow band members also. This blind determination was a bit hard to watch sometimes, but not in a way that was too cringe-worthy. Mostly it was just hard to see Liza so hard on herself when small mishaps occurred and when she sacrificed the happiness of herself and others to achieve her goal. I did like that the story wrapped up well with her eyes open to this fact and Liza ends up learning how to let some control go and allow others to help.

The romance was super cute in this book. I’m not sure if you’d exactly call it a triangle but I can see how it might feel like that for some. When it comes down to it, it’s more of a “they don’t know we know they know” kind of a situation where the wrong people are in the dark about who likes who and delightful cute contemporary confusion ensues! I thought it was really well done albeit a bit predictable but I really enjoyed the direction the romance went! It has not one but TWO of my favorite romance tropes and I won’t fully explain how those happen so you can discover for yourself but I really appreciated how each, let’s say, potential romance played out. I totally loved the ending and couldn’t have been happier with how it resolved! My only minor complaint is that because of the way the romance plays out, there aren’t AS many swoony moments in the beginning but still really fun!

The friendships were also so well done in this book. It was great to see Liza have strong friendships, build new ones, ponder old ones, and realize that things change over time and that’s okay. We’ve all had friend break-ups, new best friends, and people pop up from our pasts so it was fun to see all of these things happen to Liza and relate to how she handles each one. THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is lovely cute contemp so naturally, these resolve neatly and leave the reader with warm fuzzies!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was a really cute book and overall, I really enjoyed it. There were a few lulls in there for me but the book was also jam-packed with adorable moments, hilarious slap-stick comedy, and beautiful growing moments. Another very solid book from Lauren Morrill and I’m always ready for more!
Profile Image for Mary.
994 reviews426 followers
December 1, 2015
I'm really disappointed. This whole book was underdeveloped, both the plot and the characters. Also, I was so distracted by the extreme weird inaccuracies. For instance, going on a major field trip with 70 students and only 1 chaperone? NOPE. Legally, schools can't do that. I believe there is actually a ratio of students to adults that must be met, and one air-headed teacher for an entire band is not it. Also, band (both concert and marching) was a huge part of my life for TWENTY YEARS (with many as an observant sibling, nine as a concert band student, and ten seasons of marching band). If ever there were an expert on band, I would probably be it. And that fact that Liza, the drum major of the MARCHING band, conducts the CONCERT band? Nope nope nope. Mr. Lenny's-dad, do your effing job and conduct them, you lazy a-hole (if you think I'm being harsh, he literally spends the entire book trying to hook up with the faculty advisor for the Athenas).

As for the characters, all were flat and woefully one-dimensional. Liza is like Cady from Mean Girls. She plays it off like she's the only one who knows what she's doing, but she doesn't support her friends, has narrow focus, and is just plain mean. I wish she had a Janis Ian to give her a verbal smackdown (her friend Huck tries, and is probably one of the better characters [Russ being my other candidate], but he's just not present enough). I don't understand why even likes her because she's so horrible and rude to him throughout the entire book. Demi is annoying in her role as a typical former best friend turned mean girl/queen bee, and Lenny is just...whatever.

Finally, everything felt unfinished. The resolution came too quickly and felt insincere. Liza goes from basically bullying all week (even though he was never anything but kind to her) to kissing him in a swimming pool; , and everyone decides that is an ass. I'm not disputing that he is, but everything was rushed.

As a side note, I was extraordinarily bothered by one particular scene. Liza is talking to Lenny in the steam room of the ship's spa, and the two of them are wearing towels. It's weird, yes, but I was willing to go with it. What I can NOT just go with, however, is that Lenny's dad (I seriously can't remember his name. It started with a C) gets upset with Liza about the situation (even though as previously stated he's basically been MIA the entire book), "grounds" her, and gives her detention.... but we never see him get upset with Lenny. Yes, it's Liza's pov so maybe he did have a private conversation with his son, but I am very very bothered by this. First of all, it's a misunderstanding. Liza and Lenny were not having a sexy moment, and it could have been easily explained. Secondly and more importantly, I think it sets a bad example by shaming and punishing a girl for the supposed sexy moment, but the guy gets off scot-free. SO. VERY. MUCH. NOPE.

I like Lauren Morrill. She's super nice and is a very talented voice in ya contemporary. I liked Meant to Be and REALLY liked Being Sloane Jacobs. I think Trouble with Destiny was a misstep so it won't keep me from reading her future books, but I certainly can't recommend this one.

Many thanks to Random House/Delacorte for sending me an arc!
Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews939 followers
January 3, 2016

The concept of The Trouble with Destiny was intriguing, but unfortunately the execution didn't quite live up to the brilliance of the premise.

When drum major Liza Sanders learns her school is going to reduce funding for her beloved marching band, she knows she has to act fast. Her solution? The luxury cruise ship Destiny: which is hosting a talent show with a $25,000 prize.

Plotwise, there is an extreme amount of disbelief you have to suspend to truly enjoy the book. On the cruise, the teenagers are allowed to go wherever they want without adult supervision, provided they turn up to any scheduled practices. This just felt extremely unrealistic and unlikely (I mean, what school would allow their students to roam free like that?)

The main problem with the book is Liza herself. She is selfish, conceited, and doesn't care about anyone but herself, and that makes her narrative really hard to enjoy. There's a scene where Liza's bandmate drops her music during practice, and Liza immediately snaps at her, saying:
"Dammit, Nicole, get it together! Do you have any idea how much your neuroses are screwing us up?" The whole room goes silent. No one can believe I've snapped at Nicole, who is one of the most talented and reliable musicians in the band.
It's instances like these where Liza constantly lashes out and says mean things for no reason that make her a difficult protagonist to root for.

To finish it all off, there's also a poorly developed and extremely predictable love triangle. The love triangle dominates over the plot to the point that Liza forgets all about the competition and all she can think about are the two boys.

In the end, this just didn't click with me. I was looking forward to the talent show and cruise aspects of the story, but those were shadowed by an abundance of annoying and unnecessary teen drama.
Profile Image for Stefani Sloma.
399 reviews117 followers
December 6, 2015
This is a hard one to review. It’s cute – for sure. But is it original? No. It’s pretty much got every stereotype in it – from the love triangle to the evil-cheerleader-ex-best-friend to the drama fueled fight with her current best friend. It was rather predictable since I guessed how everything was going to turn out from pretty much the first page. Liza, the MC, isn’t really likable because she’s pretty judge-y and high-strung. The book is kind of…generic? I hate to use that word, but it was.

However, don’t get me wrong – there are A LOT of teen girls I know who would be gaga over The Trouble with Destiny. It’s got the romantic setting and the cute boys and the drama. Maybe I’m just a bit too old for this one. It was still an okay read. My main issue with the romance isn’t even the love triangle – even though it’s not quite your typical love triangle. It was the fact that it took so long for the romance to play out. I won’t give too many details that might spoil it, but you kind of just wanted to slap Liza in the face and yell, “OMG. Come ON!” I wanted some more swoony moments between Liza and the boy.

I did really enjoy the musical aspect of the book though. I was in band for a couple of years and then I transitioned to color guard, so I could really relate to those scenes. I think the author did a great job of bringing those scenes to life while not getting overly technical – it’s hard to represent music well in books because it can be difficult to picture and hear, but the scenes when the band is playing had me bobbing along – especially since my band actually did a Pirates of the Caribbean theme one year.

The bottom line: A fast, fun contemporary that read a little young for me – maybe I’m getting old when it comes to cutesy books. But I enjoyed the musical side of the book and when the romance finally did play out, I was definitely grinning. I still liked this reading this one overall.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great
December 17, 2015
Liza is a drum major for her school's marching band and she is privy to a secret about the fate of the band. If they don't raise a lot of money, the band will be cut due to the new school budget. So, they enter a contest on a cruise ship with the hopes of winning the grand prize. But things aren't smooth sailing aboard this cruise ship. Liza has to keep her eye out for ex-best friend, Demi, who is part of a dance team also vying for the grand prize and then she runs into Lenny, her childhood friend, who she has a crush on. To complicate matters further, there's also Russ, the super popular quarterback, who is helping the band out during this trip as punishment in order to make up for some wrongdoings. There's many hilarious moments that ensue, especially as Liza realizes who she has feelings for during this trip. Lauren Morrill's The Trouble with Destiny is a cute story that is perfect for younger YA readers who want something fun and light.

Read the rest of my review here:
Profile Image for Bee.
815 reviews209 followers
November 13, 2015

I don't know guys. I was just so bored reading this. It was predictable, kind of cheesy, full of drama,... It felt like a bad Disney Channel teen movie. That's all I can really say right now. I didn't like the characters either. Some might enjoy this one if you're looking for a simple, cheesy, cutesy YA contemporary, but unfortunately I've come to expect more of the genre. So yeah... That's my two cents on this one.
Profile Image for Sara (Freadom Library).
462 reviews241 followers
February 6, 2017
I received an e-ARC of this book from Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review was originally posted at https://freadomlibrary.wordpress.com/

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This was a really predictable. Most of the time I don’t mind when there’s a bit of predictability in my stories, especially when it somehow still catches me by surprise, but this book was like a giant cliche. The pace was slow and it had the general plot points of drama, mystery and secrets. There’s a lot of miscommunication but in the end, everything gets wrapped up in a little bow.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
It was very simple and straight forward. Nothing to write home about. It was a bit wordy and would sometimes get sidetracked, there would be something talked about and in the same paragraph something completely different would be mentioned. It had the tendency to be a little young but overall it was easy to read.
Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I have to say that this is where the story both made it and broke it for me. Liza, the main character, was so annoying. She spent the whole book under the pretense of helping her band members but really she was just thinking about herself. Along with being self-centered, she was rude and incredibly bossy. She was a nervous wreck and really disturbing to read about. Obviously I didn’t like her at all. But this is where things get tricky. Huck, her best friend, is amazing, way too good for her to be honest. He’s playful, funny, honest, open and strong. I would’ve much preferred to have him be the narrator. Then we have Demi, who is your basic mean girl and the enemy of our main character. She’s snobby and stuck up. Everything about this book is cliche.

Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,232 followers
December 11, 2015
An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

I loved Lauren Morrill's debut, and her sophomore novel was cute, but I have to admit that I was completely underwhelmed by her newest novel. It was cute, but it's that kind of cute where I'm cringing at what I know is coming because you can just tell that a disaster is on the horizon. I almost put it aside at 30%. To be completely honest, I almost put it aside several times with no intention of picking it back up, but I just kept hoping that it would redeem itself, especially considering how much I enjoyed her previous novels.

It's just…this book felt glaringly familiar. As in, I'd seem pretty much this same premise in Meant to Be. It's like she took versions of the same characters from her first book and rewrote them into this book. But instead of gallivanting around London, they were cavorting on a cruise ship. Same kinds of hijinks. Same bad decisions. Just more cringeworthy.

I didn't hate this book. It just wasn't nearly as fun as I'd hoped. Especially since I'd been anticipating it for a year. And it felt like the focus of the book -- the competition for $25k to save the band -- was lost along the way because of the romance drama.

Because of the similarities to Meant To Be, this book was extremely predictable. Not that her first book wasn't predictable in its own right, but it was still cute enough to keep me entertained, and I was able to look past it. The same can't be said for The Trouble With Destiny.

I really wanted to love this novel, especially with that adorable cover. But I barely made it to the end…and I was cringing all the way. I'm not giving up on this author just because of one disappointing book, though. She's got another contemporary novel slated for release next year, and I'll at least give it a try.

GIF it to me straight:
Profile Image for Gisbelle.
770 reviews218 followers
August 2, 2015
My thanks to Delacorte

Point of View: Single (Liza)
Writing: First Person | Present Tense
Setting: N/A
Genre: Young Adult | Realistic Fiction

It turns out this book was more heavy on the silly teenage romance than I had expected. Generally, I'm all for fun and light romantic young adult books, but this one is probably more suitable for readers much younger than myself. Anyway, it wasn't bad or anything, it was just not completely the right book for me.

First of all, it was very predictable. I mean it was a no-brainer to see who was the bad guy. Everything was in plain sigh even the author tried to add some red herring to over it all up. I need more a complicated plot than that.

Another point is that the main character wasn't very likable. For most of the book, Liza was sort of mean to almost everyone else. I didn't like that she kept saying that Russ was dumb. I know sometimes he did act that way, but it's still not cool saying that behind someone's back.

Besides, this book was full of drama. Way too much if I dare say so. I'm so NOT a fan of silly teenage drama.

Anyway, this book wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't the best either. If you are all for giddy, silly, and cutesy teenage romance with so much drama than the reality TV shows, then go nuts! This book is totally written for you.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
November 30, 2015
Three stars: An enjoyable read, but the romance was lacking.

Liza does a mental check, she has everything packed and ready to go. As drum major, it is Liza's responsibility to make sure her bandmates, instruments and music make it safely aboard the cruise ship. You would think that spending spring break on a cruise ship would be Liza's idea of a terrific break, but it isn't. Liza knows that if her band does not win the $25,000 talent show, the school will cut the band program. Liza is the only one amongst the band who knows how desperately they need to win this competition. Unfortunately, they have some stiff competition coming from their own school in the form of the Athenas. The Athenas are a sparkly dance team, led by Liza's former best friend Demi. The last thing Eliza has on her mind is romance as she bears down on the competition, but when she is reunited with her first crush, sparks fly. Will Liza find love and save her band?
What I Liked:
*The Trouble with Destiny is a quick, light and enjoyable romantic YA contemporary. It was a read that I picked up and whipped through in a couple of hours. I liked the setting, the adorkable band and the romance. Even though I had some issues, it was for the most part, a nice little read.
*I enjoyed the camaraderie of the band. Having played in the high school band back in the day, I could totally relate to the friendships and working together with friends in order to achieve a common goal. I loved watching the band members look out for one another as they competed. They all had each other's backs. Loved the band.
*I wasn't sure about the whole cruise ship setting, but I was pleasantly surprised. It worked. I ended up liking it. I was especially surprised when Liza makes an unexpected friend with one of the passengers who is in her golden years. Sofia was a scene stealer.
*I was not thrilled when the whole mean girl theme reared its ugly head early on. Liza is going head to head in the competition with her former best friend, Demi. Demi is popular, pretty and driven, and she is used to getting her way. There are plenty of cheap shots and nasty moments between Liza and Demi, but then there is a twist. I was pleased at how things went down, so even though the mean girl thing is annoying, it gets better and ends well.
*The romance was a bit sticky. It was easy to predict once things starting rolling what was going to happen. I was able to pick up everything before Liza clued in. It takes far too long for the true romance to blossom, but when it does it is sweet and adorable. It did leave me smiling in the end.
*This is a stand alone, so everything is tied up nice and neat with a big happy stamp. No unfinished business or cliffhangers. Again, this is a book you pick up when you want a quick, light stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
*I struggled a bit with Liza. She is extremely driven and anxious. I get that future of the band is riding on the competition, but I didn't like the way that Liza refused to share the truth with her friends, and how she took everything on her shoulders to the point of being neurotic, and costing her everything. I kept thinking she would open up and share her burden, but she continues to drive herself crazy. I liked her, and then I didn't because I felt like she didn't stand up for herself either.
*The romance was messy. Liza spends her time running after one boy, who is clearly giving her mixed signals. I couldn't figure out why she would even waste her time on someone who was so easily led around by another girl. There is also the potential for a love triangle, but it never really solidifies. I ended up liking the romance in the end, but it takes a long time to get to the good stuff.
*The biggest stickler for me with this book was the absentee parent theme or absent band director if you will. Mr. Curtis, the band director, never takes and interest in his band. You would think as the director he would be responsible for looking after the band and helping them to achieve their goal. Nope. He is absent for most of the book, and he never bothers to attend the rehearsals or the performances. He does make one big dramatic appearance near the end, but then he conveniently disappears again. It is completely unrealistic that a group of sixty high school age kids goes on a cruise with one teacher as a chaperone, who doesn't even participate. Not to mention his job is on the line, and he doesn't seem to care.
*I was disappointed that the book spent so much time focusing on Liza and her neurotic behavior, and then it glosses over the big important competition. I would have loved less drama and more of the competition and the good parts of the romance.

The Trouble with Destiny was a light, entertaining YA romance that I enjoyed. I liked the band, the friendships and even the romance. However, I struggled with some of the unnecessary drama, the absent band director, the mean girl, and the romance. It is a good read, but it could have been better. Still if you want a quick read with a bit of romance, pick this one up.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.

Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

Profile Image for Deniz.
1,145 reviews100 followers
December 1, 2015
3.5 Stars

If I would have to describe The Trouble With Destiny in one sentence it would be:
A easy, entertaining cute & fluffy that's predictable in all the best ways.

Predictable is THE word for the story line. It's extremely predictable. It goes from A to B to C. None of the twists will surprise anyone. But nonetheless it's enjoyable. It's cute and fun. So exactly what it does promise.  A bit of angst, some lovey-dovey stuff, a dash of swoony and a whole lot of fun topped off with the HEA. Talking about that- it was a wee bit to happy clappy for me. I mean everything got solved. BUT ignore my cynical heart over here. It was cute and fun as well,  so I didn't mind much about that.
FUN is the second word I would use for the story line. This is a string of fun and funny situation cleverly woven to a cute story. There are many good moments, I can't recount my favorite. In fact I think this would make a great rom-com film actually. But it is a wee bit rom-com cliche as well.
But as the blurb states: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey...
And the journey is well worth it.

I think the trick to a sassy cute & fluffy is not to over complicate or over indulgence, it's being fun and light and to the point. Morrill get's it right in this one, in my opinion. Her writing style is contemporary and easy, yet very enjoyable. Again just right for this genre.

The characters started off super cliche.  The mandatory gay friend as example, the jock, the geek, the queen biatch... And some things stayed very cliche. The villain for starters- so cliche, so so so cliche. But most of the characters got deeper and more interesting as the book progressed. I really like the group of friends, I even loved the oldies (again a bit on the cliche side but I couldn't care less, I adore them)
Though this is very light hearted Morrill did a great job at the character building. I feel like I know the group of friends and their dynamic.
This is told from Liza POV. So we look at everyone through her rather opinionated eyes. Liza is a bundle of angst half the time- ok most of the time. But she is endearing and relatable. More importantly she is not annoying. I love how she slowly changed her views on things, how she realised certain things she was totally stuck on, but mostly how loyal she was to her friends.
Russ was cute. SO cute. I love how one gets to discover more and more about him as the book progresses and how he keeps on surprising Liza. The jock has more depth that even I expected.
Lenny on the other hand was too cliche and predictable. My least favorite character. In fact he was just ...meh.
Demi was a good antidote to Liza. And while I like how that particular thing got resolved, I felt it was way too fast, so a wee bit unbelievable. Still it's great to discover her other side as well. Seriously cool.
All in all the characters while rather predictable at times also have surprising depth.

The Trouble With Destiny gave me exactly what I expected. Which left me uber-happy. I needed a good cute & fluffy fix. And this delivered 100%. I read this in one setting. And honestly I couldn't think of a better way I could have spend my Saturday morning.
Cute & fluffy perfection.
Profile Image for C. Maria.
315 reviews50 followers
August 12, 2015
I liked this. It wasn't mind blowing but it was ok.

I didn't liked that the main character was so clueless and I so hated Lenny from the beginning. I like the other characters they were fun and they felt real. I like the story and even the title of the book has a double meaning. I liked it but I would had loved it if the romance and all the mess wan't resolved in the final 5 pages I would have loved some development with their relationship. More of Russ, more of them...
Profile Image for Lexi Herondale.
190 reviews
February 11, 2015
This was so good. Yes, it was cheesy and yes, it was predictable, but that's a cutesy contemporary for you and it was just what I needed at the moment. I really liked Liza and the other characters, they sort of reminded me of my own friends.
I will definitely be checking out the rest of Lauren Morrill's books.

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me a free ebook copy of this book.
Profile Image for alexandra.
230 reviews1,504 followers
September 3, 2020

this book started off slow, but ended up being a really fun read! i was a little annoyed by how dramatic and childish some of the actions seemed, but i grew to like it. in some ways, it reminded me of a disney channel episode. the narrator was annoying at times, but others she was... bearable.

Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
January 15, 2016
1.5 stars

I really, really hate to have to do this. Lauren Morrill’s a wonderful person, who I see at Atlanta book events pretty regularly. I loved both Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs. I was in marching band for two years of high school. Where could a romance about the drum major of a marching band possibly go wrong? Well, let me tell you a bit about the trouble with The Trouble with Destiny. Warning: There will be untagged spoilers in this one.

To start with, there’s the premise: the marching band is going on a cruise ship for a week to try to earn money to save the high school band with the $25,000 dollar prize. That, in and of itself, is a bit unbelievable, but I was willing to roll with it. Sure, that would be monstrously expensive and difficult to arrange for spring break, and it’s actually the concert band since they can’t march on the ship, but hey whatever I’ll sail along. That alone would have been fine. A bit unbelievable but it’s not a showstopper. I mean, hello, I love celebrity romances and they are zero percent believable most of the time.

To talk about the good, The Trouble with Destiny was entertaining. I read big chunks of it at a time without getting bored. I was vaguely invested, mostly in the romance. The Trouble with Destiny did have me turning the pages, and I think that people who don’t know much about the way high school band works or read too widely will enjoy it.

The first thing that got to me as I was reading were the inaccuracies regarding band. As I mentioned already, it’s the school’s marching band, ostensibly, that’s going. She refers to them in chapter one as the Holland High marching band as they’re preparing to get on the ship. It’s no wonder that one of the mean girls is confused.

Then her expression turns smug. “So what are you guys going to do for your showcase? Like, march back and forth across the stage?”

“It’s concert band, Missy. We sit in chairs,” I deadpan.

Listen, Missy’s right about this one. The arts losing funding to sports is a serious issue, but the money isn’t being pulled just from the marching band. It’s what Liza cares about, I guess, because she’s drum major, but the two are actually different. In The Trouble with Destiny, there’s also a changed role of drum major from real life. In this book, the drum major is responsible for running practices, conducting during concerts, and basically everything. Drum majors are actually only for marching band, not concert band. I feel your confusion so hard, Missy.

Later in the book, the director gets mad at Liza for not being focused and goes off on her for not being able to handle the responsibility of doing what is, in the real world, his job. The band’s director, Mr. Curtis, literally does nothing. Sure, it’s an extra spring break trip that was her idea, but he obviously signed off on it and Liza seems to respect his opinion. Mr. Curtis doesn’t attend practices (which band directors do), nor does he ever conduct the concert band (which band directors also do). They also do not kick kids out of the public school band because they suck at their instrument and randomly make them the conductor—WTF was that, I would like to know.)

Leaving the band behind, there’s the cruise ship. I was willing to sail on along with that, but it got even more believable. Early on, the ship undergoes some sort of power failure, and it’s running on generators for basically the whole week. It even stops at a port and leaves unrepaired. This is SO not how cruise ships work IRL. The ship would either have gone back to the port it left from or stayed in the next one until it was repaired, rather than limping along on generators acting normal until a part was brought to it (unless it literally could not sail).

The next thing to bother me was the humor. This one’s a matter of personal taste, but I just really don’t go for embarrassment humor. I don’t laugh; I cringe. It can be almost physically painful. So many horribly embarrassing things happen in this book, pretty much all to Liza. I mean, she accidentally gets drugged up and almost eats someone’s waffle leftovers off the hallway floor. WHY?

The characterization is weak, at best, despite the fact that Lauren Morrill’s impressed me with that element in both prior books. Liza’s voice is okay but clashes frequently between the show and the tell; she and others describe her differently than she ever really acts in the book. Everyone else is really lacking in development, which is part of why her voice never coalesced for me. She and others comment on her close friendships, but she doesn’t seem to really give a shit about anyone but herself.

Speaking of Liza’s best friend, let’s talk about Huck. For the first time in a Morrill book (to my knowledge), we have a character that isn’t both white and straight. And it’s *drum roll* a gay best friend character! We’re really rocking the boat here with the diversity, I know. As is the case with token gay best friends most places, Liza ignores him unless she needs to unload her own drama. She treats him like shit and he’s just like okay with it at the end of the book. He doesn’t get any sort of romance of his own or talk about any boys that aren’t Liza’s love interests ever. What representation.

Then there’s the hackneyed ex-best friend mean girl rivalry with Demi. Liza’s horrified that the show choir from her school, in which Demi stars, is also on this cruise ship to participate in the competition. I’m mostly shocked that the most popular girl in school is in show choir in a school that’s shutting down the arts program. I mean, I think show choir is cool, but I also think marching band is cool so. Demi and Liza are monstrously catty to one another throughout the whole book, have one brief conversation where they realize they misunderstood ages ago, and are totally cool again. Voila! Friendship arc!

The love triangle was the most interesting part of the book to me, but it too was not well done. Liza immediately becomes obsessed with Lenny, her director’s solely so he has an excuse to be on the boat, and first kiss from a theater camp when they were like twelve. He’s all hot now and she becomes focused on winning him over Demi, who is also interested obviously. Meanwhile, Demi’s ex Russ clearly has a crush on Liza.

I’m down for love triangles and love squares and whatever, but this one is just so clunky. I was very much feeling the Liza/Russ overcoming her prejudice of football players thing. But then. There’s this weird scene where he hugs her to celebrate a thing and then Lenny kisses her and then Russ punches Lenny and they fight and Demi runs away and Lenny goes after her and dear god what is this melodrama. Later there’s a series of awkward scenes in the cruise ship’s spa, all of which were over the top and pretty much the line where I was kind of enjoying despite the issues to where I was no longer happy.

Despite the fact that I was primed to be on the Russ/Liza ship, I couldn’t even board in the end. Liza literally confesses that she likes Lenny, discovers he’s not a good guy, and then realizes omg I liked Russ all along. That is not remotely satisfying, like at all. I’d assumed she’d figure out Lenny sucked on her own; he actually had to tell her he sucked for her to cotton on. Russ has legitimate reason to be majorly over his crush of a couple days but he forgives her like “lol no probs.”

Then there’s the ending which is a hot mess of a couple more things. The competition happens (see spoiler in band section for some of the tomfoolery), but is interrupted by a warning siren (so that the Russ and Liza can have time to get together in a public venue) while one of the groups is in the middle of performing. After the ship has sailed, a guy comes out and announces that it was a false alarm and they’re ready to announce the winner of the competition. Apparently that group that was performing is shit out of luck and doesn’t get to finish. Very realistic.

Finally, the book ends with a montage that’s almost directly from the ending of Clueless (which is probably intentional since they also matchmake the two chaperones—yeah, there are only two—at the start to distract them). The band and the show choir attend the shipboard wedding of an older lady who has given Liza advice throughout the book. Liza ends up catching the bouquet because it’s really cute to end a YA novel where the couple has really only known each other for a week with an implication that she’ll get married next. Um yeah, okay.

Lauren Morrill has talent. She can do ships and characterization. They’re just not much in evidence here. Maybe read or reread Meant to Be instead. I just don’t really understand how this book happened, so I’m going to pretend and it didn’t and you might want to do that too.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews748 followers
December 18, 2015
The Trouble with Destiny was so much of a different read than I was expecting it to be. When I was first introduced to the characters, I thought I knew which way things would plan out, which characters would end up together and I believed myself to be a good judge of character too, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, Morrill really turned things on their head for me in this book, but I think I much preferred the character developments and story that Morrill gave us then what I thought was going to happen.

Liza knows this competition is her bands for last chance, the $25,000 is exactly what they need to keep their band going, if they don’t win the competition, the school will be making major cuts and Liza knows her band will be the one most affected. But the heat of the competition, being stuck on this cruise ship in order to compete and not getting enough band practice is really taking its toll on the band members that Liza knows she can’t bring herself to tell everyone the truth. Where I thought at first this was the best possible decision Liza could make, as the story progressed I could see that hiding it from everyone and at the same time trying to keep the band in check was becoming too much for Liza, so much that she was turning into somebody nobody knew, not even her best friend and snapping at band members wasn’t helping either. Then there was Demi and her show choir the Athenas who they have to compete with too, with her sabotaging the bands practice and making things worse there was only so much that Liza could deal with. I really did want Liza to go on and win the competition, not only so that the band could continue, but with all the effort Liza had put in, she deserved it. At times Liza could push people too hard or would misread things that were right in front of her, but under all that she was a decent person and I really wanted her to succeed.

Of course when Liza bumped into her old friend Lenny and former crush on the boat, it brings back all these old feelings flooding back and from the way he’d turned out now, Liza is ecstatic to see him. Lenny was adorable, I liked how when things would get tough for Liza, Lenny was there for her. But this is the part of the book that I liked the most Morrill throws in some neat, yet subtle character developments which really threw a spanner into the works, it had me double checking myself at times and really questioning characters at times. But the fun of events that Morrill implemented were great to watch unfold, as the character that I ended up liking the most (seriously he was the sweetest, he was totally under the radar until one point) and the way things ended up I couldn’t have wished for a better way. The Trouble with Destiny for me was a really cute read, it’s one of those books perfect for curling up with during these cold winter months, but what I loved a lot about it too was the fact that Morrill was able to weave in great underlying messages that our characters were able to take away and help them to make the right decisions. I think these take away messages will appeal to a lot of readers too.

This review can be found on: The Readers Den
Profile Image for Shane.
Author 32 books657 followers
December 16, 2015
The Trouble with Destiny was a cute story with funny moments as well as parts that made me sympathize. However, while it was interesting, in the sense that it surrounded a high school band and took place on a cruise ship, I wasn't thoroughly in love with the story or even connected with the characters.

I had a love-hate relationship with Liza for the most part. At the start of the story, I understood her intentions and commended her for going to whatever lengths to make sure the band stayed in tact. But then a certain boy ended up on the cruise and it brought forth a side of Liza that seemed so silly and immature. I get that these characters were teenagers, but some of the things Liza said in her mind made me roll my eyes and I often wanted to shake the hell out of her, especially when this boy would act a certain way around Liza's former best friend. I wanted so badly for her to open her damn eyes and see what he was really about.

I also didn't like how she acted with Russ. He was trying to help the band and prove to Liza that he was a good guy, but she'd often shun him and dismissed his efforts. All because she was caught up on this stupid crush with the other boy. Like there were so many signs to show her why she needed to stop that nonsense but she overlooked them, being the headstrong and naive girl that she was.
Anyway, I liked Russ. He was funny and nice. And I liked that he wasn't the jock people thought he was. He definitely showed how you should always get to know someone and not judge them based on what you see or what others say.

Other characters I liked were Liza's best friends and the random people she came across on the cruise that in some way offered an insight that made her change her perspective about certain things. And it was good how Liza realized that she pressured the band members at times, and that she was able to step back and allow them to breathe and do what they did best without her dictating, giving her best friend the opportunity to take over.

There wasn't a lot going on, aside from Liza's crush, a silly misunderstanding, a snotty popular chick, and the big issue with keeping the band going. So if you're into dramatic teen stories set at sea and high school bands, then do give this one a read. Even if you're looking for something quick and light, The Trouble with Destiny might be the story for you. Not bad.
Profile Image for Shreeka.
319 reviews
December 17, 2015
Okay, I wasn't expecting to give Lauren Morrill book a 1 star rating. But I just did. I had actually been waiting for this book's release for so long. It's not that I'm a Lauren Morrill fan but I loved Meant to Be, and thought Being Sloane Jacobs was an okay book. But boy, I did not enjoy this book at all. It was just...too cute, and I don't mean it in a good way. It was like one of those cheesy teen Disney movies that I used to watch when I was a kid. And maybe I would have liked it if I'd read it like 5 years ago or something. But I'm not a teenager anymore and this book was too 'kid-sy' for me, with it's cliche love triangle, cliche mean girl villain, and a very cliche ending. It was like eating too many sweet candies that makes you gag at some point.

I'm a little shocked at just how simple and cliche this story was, because I don't remember 'Meant to be' being that way. But it does still hold a special place in my heart because it was one of those books you read in your teen years that you just don't want to let go. I hope Lauren Morrill comes up with something better and less cliche next time. ( And I just realized I used the word cliche 5 times in this review. Wow I must have found this book REALLY cliche.)
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