Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs
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’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!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Liza // Character Obsessions: Music, saving the band, duty, romance.
Liza is a very one-track minded character. She seems to be wholly absorbed into whatever she’s dedicated herself to — first the band, then to her crush — and she sort of forgets what’s going on around her. As painful as that was to watch at times (I felt bad for her!) I really enjoyed her growth throughout the book and ultimately stood behind her!
Kept Me Hooked On: Music in books. I’m SO glad the music came to life in this book! I was beginning to think that it was impossible to hear that soundtrack playing as the book went along but now my faith is renewed!
Left Me Wanting More: Self-awareness. Poor Liza just had a really hard time seeing things outside of her bubble. I’m so glad she started to shake this off towards the end of the book though!
THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was such a fun book. It was just adorable and I absolutely loved the music connections!
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