Expected publication: December 8th 2015 by Delacorte
Format read: ARC via Publisher
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.
So it's pains me to say that The Trouble With Destiny is one of those books that are amusing, but definitely would have benefitted from more copy edits. Morril's premise is charming: type-A drum major Liza Sanders manages to get her entire school band onboard Destiny, a luxury cruise ship with a $25,000 prize for a spring break talent show prize.
Liza believes that the money is key to saving their financially-strapped band, and is determined to do whatever she can to help them win. But the harder she tries, the more complicated her life becomes...
On paper, this is an incredibly cute premise. A luxury ship! Teens trapped on said luxury ship! Competition, backstabbing and drama! Morril's remarkable and enviable knack for writing cute boys!
But in practice, the book just isn't as well-written as it could have been. Morrill has all of the surface elements in place, including a good timeline, a compelling proverbial wrench being through into the competition, and the beginnings of an interesting backstory between Liza and antagonist Demi. But that's as far as the book went.
Morrill doesn't elaborate on any of the plot lines, offering only cursory explanations for things like Liza's background, band abilities and her friendship with the other members of the band. There's also some serious plot holes in place, including the idea that a school would allow require one adult chaperone for an entire band, and the idea that none of these students would even think to communicate with their parents back home, especially after they go through some shaky circumstances.
(Morrill partially explains this lack of communication with the fact that phones are out of range/don't have reception for awhile, but... internet? Email? Hell, ship-to-land calls?)
It also doesn't help that Liza's voice reads very young. I'm actually not sure why Morrill went so young with Liza; her characters in Being Sloane Jacobs were fairly spot-on, age-wise. But Liza comes off more like a thirteen/fourteen-year-old verses a burgeoning high school senior, which meant that it felt a little weird when she started talking about making out, and people seeing her naked.
While the book coasts to a fairly charming ending that readers will enjoy, I'm not entirely sure I would read the book again. However, I will definitely be back for Morrill's books in the future.
About the author:
Lauren Morrill grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock and roll and lives in Macon, Georgia, with her husband and their dog, Lucy. She is also the author of Meant to Be. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours on the track getting knocked around playing roller derby.