I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse on August 27th 2013
Genres: Romance, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
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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...
Do you ever wonder where you would have ended up if you’d chosen differently that one time? “What if?” is a question we’ve all wondered once or twice. How different would our lives be today? This is why I enjoyed Just Like Fate so much; it explores consequences of two sides of a coin, while showing that no matter the road that leads, we end up where we’re meant to be. For Caroline, both roads are linked to her decision to go to a party, not knowing it will be during the last of her grandmother’s moments. A quick decision, really, and things end up so incredibly different for her. Told via alternating chapters, we see how neither of these roads are easy, each coming with their own set of problems and emotional obstacles. It may not be the next Great American Novel but I thought this book was plenty enjoyable and kept me fully entertained.
Even before it truly begins, the story grabs its hold in an opening filled with grief and heavy emotions. I could genuinely feel Caroline falling apart over her grandmother’s passing. At the same time, the family dynamics are introduced; there’s a sister rivalry and an adoring brother, as well as a parental separation that didn’t go over too well. I have a soft spot for books who do families well, and Just Like Fate has a great family focus with real issues that I thought were handled realistically, and characters involved who are easy to like despite their flaws.
As much as this book has a large familial subject matter, it’s ultimately a love story. On one side we have Caroline meeting a very sweet college guy who made me all warm and fuzzy, on the other, she finally gets the boy she’s had a crush on since pre-school. While I had a preference for warm and fuzziness (who wouldn’t?), it was interesting to see how the relationship with the apparent “love of her life” was turning out… not quite as she expected! In this way, get two very different relationships, though both with a lot of chemistry and emotional consequences. One was a tad quick on the “I love yous”, but for once I didn’t mind – partly because I felt their relationship was authentic. As the story progressed I was left wondering how the book would end. Was it going to be opposite endings from what we would expect based on the decision? Would it be a real tragedy no matter what she had chosen? In the end I was surprised at how satisfied I was with the conclusion. It was not completely unexpected, but it was simply a really good, even beautiful ending for such a story.
One complaint I have is regarding the numerous references to Electric Freakshow, a band Caroline is obsessed with. It is relevant to the story as it relates to one of their songs, plus it connects both realities, however the constant mention of the band and of their songs which seemed to be playing at all times could have been toned down.
This is a story about love, romance, grief, forgiveness and the importance of family support. It’s an easy read with a surprising amount of depth and plenty of entertainment value for your next lazy-day read!
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