Monday, August 05, 2013

Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

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Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Just Like Fate
Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young
Genre: Romance, YA
Publication date: August 27th 2013
by Simon Pulse

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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...
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review-

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!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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28 Responses to “Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I’ve definitely had those “what if” moments — being a Libra, it’s all about weighing all the possibilities (which is why I obsess over choices!). I’m not always a fan of these books, though. However, I like that it’s not just a love story, that there’s a strong family element to it, too.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this, Giselle. I’m excited to get to it after yours and Jenni’s reviews. It sounds a lot like Pivot Point which I enjoyed. I read Young’s The Program and she does romance really well, so I’m looking forward to meeting both guys. I can already tell that I’ll enjoy the college boy too, so I can’t wait.
    Fabulous review, Giselle! πŸ™‚

  3. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I have been seeing some really great reviews for this. It’s definitely a book I want to read. I love alternate reality books and I love when books really focus on family. I think I would really enjoy this one. Fab review babe!! 12 DAYS!!!!!

  4. Riley

    So this is basically Pivot Point without the supernatural elements? I’m a little skeptical about this because I’ve heard good things about Cat Patrick, but Young’s book The Program’s entire concept of mental illness was just… really offensive to me.
    Otherwise, though, this sounds like something I’d like. And the girl on the cover is adorable. Freckles!

  5. Christianna

    I love that this book actually focuses on family so much! It makes me wanna pick it up more. I feel like so many books leave family out of the picture, which sometimes works better, but I like when family is a plot tool as well! Thanks for the great review!

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    Glad you enjoyed this Giselle, while the concept isn’t new I am glad the author brought fleshed characters to the tale and that you felt their emotions. Wonderful review πŸ™‚

  7. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    I’ve definitely wondered “What If…?” on many an occasion. I love the idea that this book takes…showing both sides of a choice and that we end up where we should regardless…what a comforting thought! Add great characters and emotion and this sounds like a winner.

  8. Savannah

    Loved your review. I’m super excited to read this book. I have read her other books and have like them. Not sure about the annoying reference to a band. I might just tune that out.

  9. Trish @ Between the Lines

    I love the what if’s. The more the reviews I read for this book, the more I feel it is one I’d really enjoy. And I don’t think the band references will over bother me but thanks for pointing it out.

  10. Jenni

    I totally agree about the Electric Freakshow mentions, those were a little over the top for me as well. I think you came out of this one liking it a bit better than me but like you, I was really entertained through. I just lacked a connection to anything on the Stay side of things so I found myself trying to rush through those to get to the Go side.

  11. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    Huh. This one and its premise seem a lot like Pivot Point but with less of a paranormal bent. Especially –> “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.” A love story about alternate choices. And the importance of family. And grief. Sounds like a fun read, and I’m curious to know how the writing between the two books also compares.

  12. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I think I really like this new trend of YA books being about alternate realities (I like it in theory so far, since the only one I’ve read that fits this trend is Pivot Point, although I think I’ll like it in actuality once I’ve read a few more of these types of books). The story sounds like it’s based on a really sad premise, the kind that just might tear me up to read about it. I’ll be interested to see how it is handled. It definitely does sound like a great lazy day book!

  13. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    Yay I’m so happy you enjoyed this one, I totally agree with everything you said! I loved seeing the two alternating realities come together, and whether or not they’d both have the same consequences or not, and the romance was so adorable! The entire time I had the fuzzy feels and I was like awkwardly flailing on the ground and ahh the “I love you”s did come a little quick, but it was so hard to care about that because ahh! I really loved this book lol πŸ™‚

    Fantastic review, Giselle!

  14. ShootingStarsMag

    First review I’ve read of this one. I like that the characters seem to be done well, and the authors deal with family dynamics enough to be realistic. I’m not sure I’m interested in the focus being mainly on romance though.

  15. Danielle

    I adore these types of books and this one sounds awesome. So glad you enjoyed it and that the romance was good! Lovely review Giselle!

  16. Aman

    These butterfly effect books are turning out to be my favorite genre (types?) this year. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this one, I would go for the other guy too (the crush one sounds pretty meh), but I can’t wait to see who she ends up with and more importantly which reality she picks. Great review, Giselle!

  17. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    This is such a fantastic review Giselle, you have me really curious about the book! I think what makes me so fascinating about alternating scenarios is that life is not always how it panned out and we always wonder “what if?”.

  18. Kelley

    Hey! I just read this book and am going to review and I loved it – your review is amazing! I totally agree on the ending not being a huge surprise, but surprisingly made me very happy. As well on the I love you’s with Chris – soon but for the first time in awhile I did not feel like this was pushed – it felt real. Really loved the book —
    One question and this may be dumb – but is Electric Freakshow a real band? I saw all the mentions and I have been looking for that song to no avail so either it’s fiction and i’m on a wild goose chase or i’m searching really poorly..
    Thanks!

    • Giselle

      No I don’t think they’re a real band. I didn’t search for hours but I asked a friend who’s a music/band fiend who also read the book and she said it was not πŸ™‚

  19. Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    Wow! The concept of this book is really interesting since it explores the whole “what if” aspect of life. I feel like the changing POVs from different realities could have been really confusing, but it seems like it was executed very well. I wasn’t really interested in this book, but it’s totally caught my attention. Great review Giselle!