Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Just Like Fate - Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
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...
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.
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.
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.