Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
August 27, 2013
(* won this from Angie @ Beneath the Jackets)
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…
First sentence: “There are exactly sixteen minutes left in math class when there’s a faint double knock on the classroom door, and we all perk up.”
When you have to make a decision (small or big), do you ever ponder about the outcomes? Do you ever think how different your life would be if you picked the other one? Just Like Fate presents that option for Caroline. Caroline’s grandmother is dying. Caroline has to make a decision – to STAY at the hospital, sharing the last moments with her grandmother or to GO to a party with her best friend, missing the chance to properly say goodbye to her grandmother. When she makes her choice, we are presented with two different outcomes.
Here are the main differences between the two universes and my thoughts.
I think Just Like Fate is a good read. I didn’t dislike it; I liked that it was light and easy to read, but I thought a lot of things should’ve been flushed out more. For instance, the main problem I had with the book is the lack of emotional connection to the plot and to Caroline. Right off the bat, I didn’t sympathize with Caroline. Don’t get me wrong, I liked that she was flawed, but she was rather horrible, especially with how she dealt with her differing situations in both parallel universes. How am I supposed to care about Caroline and her grandma’s relationship when 1. Caroline is extremely unlikeable and 2. we never see that interaction between Caroline and her grandmother in the first place to sympathize for her? (I know we don’t get that interaction because y’know, her grandmother dies.)
Usually, when I read YA books about death of a love one, I bawl my eyes out because I connect with the main character and their struggles. Just Like Fate did not do that. I don’t feel like Caroline’s grandmother’s death had a huge impact on Caroline. Her grandmother seems forgotten, despite how important her death should be in the story, in favor for the “romance” with trivial boy problems. I feel like we only scratched the surface of the story and the characters. If the story focused more on exploring the relationship between all the characters (specifically Caroline, her siblings, her parents, and her best friend) instead of on the romance parts, then I would’ve connected with the story better.
Nevertheless, it was a good, light book, albeit flawed in how the characters and plot was developed.