Before I get to the review for this one I wanted to say something about the rash of parallel life books that seem to be out in the YA world right now. I was talking to Christine of Oh, Chrys! on Twitter a little bit back when she was reading Pivot Point by Kasie West. She was telling me that she wanted more science. Being a big fan of the parallel life books I suggested that she read Parallel by Lauren Miller because that one had more science to it. She said she heard the books were both similar which is true, but only to a fault. Christine suggested that I write a post on what I told her about so before I get to the review of Just Like Fate I’m going to tell you what I told her.
Not all parallel life books are the same! That is very important to remember. I 3 parallel books in a pretty short time span and all three brought something new to the table.
1) Pivot Point (review): The clever paranormal version of this subject matter. There were powers involved in this amazing book and it is the only one in the group that is a series!
2) Parallel (review): Standalone which is very rare in YA these days. It deals more with the scientific reasons to parallel lives but isn’t so heavy on the science that you fall asleep. Fantastic book.
3) Just Like Fate: Today’s review. A take on parallel lives that is more the ‘flip side of a coin’ thing. It is the more contemporary of the lot in my opinion and seems to have a grass is greener quality to it. Also a stand alone.
So there you have it, my input on parallel life books. Now on to the review.
Title: Just Like Fate [Amazon]
Author: Cat Patrick [website] and Suzanne Young[website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Stars: 5 of 5
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape–both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. 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 and live her life.
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 a few 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…
I have read a string of parallel life/alternate reality books lately and I think that I need more of them in my life. I’m completely enthralled by the possibility that one decision can change everything. Ever since watching Sliding Doors years ago I have been fascinated by this theory and Patrick and Young have just added another reason for me to love it. Them seamlessly wrote a story about choices and what can happen to life by doing something as simple as saying yes or no.
Just Like Fate is the story of Caroline, a simple girl that never really fit in with her family and is scared to face her problems. Since her parents’ divorce Caroline have been running from her problems and not dealing with them. She has always had her grandmother there to help her pick up the pieces. But when her Gram gets sick and Caroline is faced with her inevitable death she has a choice given to her. She can got to a party with her best friend and not deal with her current situation or she can stay and be at Gram’s beside. Each decision takes Caroline on two very different journeys that alter her life. But no matter what sometimes you can’t out run fate so matter which path you take to get there.
I really really loved this book. It was my 3rd parallel life book in the past couple of months which could have made it seem monotonous. But Patrick and Young managed to take a currently popular concept and make it their own. There was no bells, no whistles, no talk of science or paranormal powers. It was straight up “what would happen if I choose…”. It was a character driven story. It was Caroline’s story about her fear of facing things, of dealing with things.
And did I ever love Caroline. She was so totally relatable, in both “worlds”. I understood why she was afraid to face problems because the truth is we all are and we all deal with problems differently and not having her grandmother there for her terrified her so why would she want to deal with that. But I also got where her family was coming from in terms of calling her out on her crap because at some point she had to grow up and stop running. But what I really liked was Caroline’s relationship with her brother Teddy and her relationship with Chris. Oh how I love Chris. I barely knew him and I loved him. He really helped Caroline in a way that she didn’t even know she needed. In a way Chris helped her to stop running and to face her problems. He was sweet and charming and lovable and the completely opposite of Joel who I didn’t like at all. Compared to Chris Joel gave Caroline more problems instead of helping her fix them. He really got on my nerves, that’s for sure, but he was an important part to the story so I let it slide.
Basically I have always been a fan of Cat Patrick and now I’m a fan of Suzanne Young(review for The Program is coming soon!) These two authors crafted a very clever tale about fate and what it takes to get there and that no matter what path you take you should end up where you belong. The weaved an intricate story about growing up and standing still and figuring out who you are and what you want and how to stand up for yourself without running away and brushing things under the rug. Highly highly recommend this one. You wouldn’t be disappointed!
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