Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just Like Fate - Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young






Summary


Goodreads:  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...



Notable quotes:

At two and a half she's all belly and bum; she stands like an adorable troll doll, beaming at me.


Because when it comes down to it, waiting for someone to die is like being told a tornado is coming.  You press pause on your life and brace yourself - but you don't know when it will hit, how bad it'll be.  You can prepare all you want, but in the end, you just don't know.



Thoughts

This book really hit me in a lot of ways that are purely personal, and have nothing to do with the book on its own.  I recently read a post by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, that talked about how reviewing books is never an objective thing.  It's extremely personal, and how we relate to the book is filtered through our own experiences and opinions.  I completely agree with her, especially when it comes to books like these.  This book hits on a lot of things that I lived through, and it does so very well.  It's realistic - I would say that one or both of the authors have experienced everything they wrote about, because it feels true.  It's the right mix of feelings. 

The book starts out with a bang - Caroline finds out her grandmother is in the hospital because she's had a stroke.  We know what is going to happen in the story, but the authors really throw you in instead of working up to the pivot point.  And let me just say that this story TOTALLY didn't go where I was expecting it to.  I think I thought this was going to be more of a fast-paced thriller where she has to choose which reality she wants to live in, and not the exploration of human relationships that it was.  And I absolutely loved that that's what it was!  I was pleasantly surprised by the ending to this book, and the message it sent.  I won't say why, not even a hint because it's the sort of book you need to not know anything of the ending for it to work well as a book.  It wasn't the message I'd been expecting, and it's a message that I think will stay with me for a long time.

It has everything I love in a book - a wonderful best friend, a large focal point on family (and not only bad things about family), and a believable romance.  While at first I found it unlikely college guys would be at all interested in high school girls, but as I was going to type that I thought back to my own past and that of my friends and had to retract my statement.  I loved Chris.  He's definitely one of my favourite book boys!  I love his banter with Caroline (and in many ways it makes me reminisce over some of the more ridiculous conversations I've had with my boyfriend.  Apparently the first time we met I talked to him about giraffes for a good ten minutes.  I know.  I'm special)

I also loved the sister relationship.  A lot of people didn't understand that when I was younger, it wasn't just that my brother and I didn't get along.  That wasn't what it was.  We well and truly hated each other, and in many ways Caroline's relationship with her sister was like my relationship with my brother.  Obviously things have changed now, and we have had a pretty great relationship for quite a few years, but it took some time to get us there.  This falls under the personal category - it's nice to have an author understand that complicated sort of relationship (although my brother's and mine were not nearly so complex!)  I don't want to say too much more about the sisters because spoilers, but...ugh this is so limiting.  Everything is spoilers!

I think that things felt like they resolved a little too easily...but at the same time they didn't either.  I think it was just that book was very different from my expectations, and it didn't linger in being angsty overly long, nor did Caroline suddenly become magically ok.  It was the perfect pace for this story and I think that also surprised me.  Can you see how little faith I have in contemporary YA?  I am slowly broadening my horizons here.  Luckily I've been reading really good contemporary YA, and not the monstrosities I've come across in the past.

Overall

This book was beautifully written and surprising in so many ways.  Maybe it wouldn't get a 5 star rating from everyone, but it hit me on such a personal level, it 100% deserves it.

8 comments:

  1. I just read this book and was pleasantly surprised by it. I loved how each choice had positive and negative aspects to it and everything was just...very complicated. And I liked the ambiguity of the ending. I'm going to write my review soon too. :)

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  2. Exactly - that ending was perfect! This book wasn't anything at all like I expected, which I loved. I can't wait to read your thoughts!

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  3. I really need to read this book! Great review.

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  4. I definitely recommend it! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. I am looking forward to reading this now! Especially since I love books that explore human relationships... connecting to a book is important to me :) Also, I am excited for that ending I keep hearing about!

    Ooh... and did you say there is fun banter? My favorite! (Giraffes? :D)


    I'll probably will now go hit up Amazon and buy Just Like Fate along with some other of your recommendations you gave a couple days ago when I asked for some on the blog :) Awesome review!

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  6. Yay - I'm so glad you're going to pick this up! Yeah I think I've really found my niche in contemporary YA - I was running into a lot of romancey things that I really disliked (I mean I like romance as much as the next person but some of these protagonists...I mean COME ON). I'm a huge Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen fan and they really nail everything I love about contemporary YA - these authors are definitely being added to a short list of contemporary YA authors I trust!


    I hope you love Chris as much as I do (this statement always feels very strange for me to think as that's one of my best friend's names)! I love their banter :) ...and yeah...giraffes... haha we spent the better part of tonight coming up with reasons the other person is weirder (I won the debate, obviously). I know I'm in my 20s and have been dating this guy for YEARS...but we are seriously juvenile haha

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  7. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsNovember 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Definitely, reviewing is personal, and you may like a book somebody else doesn't because of that. It dictates whether you like it or not. Recently I read Heart Beat by Elizabeth Scott, and I loved it, though personal experience obviously affected that for me, because it isn't an easy one. You try to separate yourself from it, but sometimes it's hard, but personally, I always prefer the ones you can relate to. The way it didn't string you along is also one of the reason why I liked Just Like Fate, the whole story wasn't about her grandmother dying, but the aftermath of it. Haha, giraffes! :P Contemporary YA is out of my comfort zone, but I seem to be reading more of it lately, though they are more complicated to actually review. Speaking of bordering horizons, have you read Splintered by A.G. Howard? So. Good. :)

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  8. I hadn't hear of Heart Beat but I just looked it up on Goodreads and it has a ton of great ratings/reviews! I'll be looking forward to it when it comes out since I think we are on the same page with contemporary YA (As I'm not all that comfortable with it either).


    Yeah I was really relieved that we just started out with the death and it's aftermath and not a build up to it, since the whole time I would have been dreading it and thinking about it since we already know that happens, and instead we are instantly thrown into the unknown! ''


    I've not read Splintered! I saw its sequel on so many TTT lists of books people are excited to read, so clearly I need to look this book up. I mean I think the sequel was seriously on 95% of the lists I saw!

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