July 18, 2013

Latest Read: Just Like Fate

Here are the basics ...
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Publication date: Aug. 27, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick and like the rest of her family, she's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party. The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both. Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted. Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: In the past year, I've read five books dealing with parallel lives, alternate realities and seeing the future. And of those books, I loved how Just Like Fate handled the whole "sliding doors" effect best. I think it's because there wasn't any paranormal or science fiction twist to it like I had assumed. Maybe it's just my own reading experiences but that seems to be the most obvious way to approach it.  Instead, Just Like Fate was a poignant look at a girl faced with two choices - to stay or to go - and the aftermath of those decisions.

In a nutshell, Caroline has a choice to make. Her grandmother, who means the world to her, is extremely sick and since being admitted to the hospital, Caroline and her immediate family (who she is basically estranged from) have been by her side every night. So when Caroline's well-intentioned best friend asks her to go to a party to get her mind off things, the question is - should she stay at the hospital or go out for one night? The scenario was one of the many things that struck me about the plot. It's so simple! It's a choice anyone could be faced with and you almost never consider all the potential outcomes. You just do it. But here we get to see the ripple effects of each choice.

Gosh, there are just so many things I felt the author did right. Caroline isn't perfect by any means, but that's what I loved about her. She's flawed and makes a lot of questionable choices but they're understandable. It's so easy to run from your problems, either literally or by giving in to something (or someone) not good for you. The book isn't trying to preach about what's right or wrong and the "consequences" of her choice reflect that. Each potential path brought good and bad into her life. It's not all black and white, even when we wish it could be that simple.

I was so moved by each of Caroline's relationships and how they were handled. First and foremost, her grandmother and their bond (have tissues handy!). Caroline's struggle to fit in with her family. She goes through ups and downs with her best friend. There's also two guys and I'm only going to mention the one I fell for - Chris, a college guy she randomly meets. During almost every scene he was in, I kept thinking - WHERE ARE GUYS LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE. Their chemistry and banter put a smile on my face and provided a nice balance to the turmoil Caroline feels.

(Potential) reservations: If you prefer your alternate realities with a dose of science fiction, you won't find that here. It's pure contemporary.

Do I recommend?: I highly recommend! I could not put it down. I really enjoyed the writing and the ending? I thought it was so smart. Put this on your TBR list people - it comes out in a couple weeks!

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I agree!! I actually liked that Caroline was far from perfect. It made it interesting to se her choices and why she made them and it also left me feeling like she really changed for the better in the end.
    I liked that this wasn't paranormal/sci-fi! I was confused at first and then I realized that both choices weren't actually happening, but it was just taking us through both possibilities. It was really interesting!
    Glad you liked this one as well!

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  2. I adore that this book is purely contemporary! That makes the whole alternate reality thing even more interesting to me. I'd like to see the consequences of Caroline's choices, and to find out what she ends up deciding for herself. This honestly was not a book that caught my eye initially, but your review is convincing me to give it a chance!

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