Just Like Fate
Caroline’s grandmother is dying, and she has a choice to make. Does she stay by her side on what might be the night she dies, or does she go to a party with her best friend. Most of the time, this choice would be simple, but for Caroline, it is complicated by her strained relationships with her sister and mother and her all-consuming need to escape, even for just a few hours, from the reality that her closest confidante and friend --- and the person she has lived with since her parent’s divorce --- is about to die. JUST LIKE FATE follows the two lives Caroline would lead --- one if she stayed with her grandmother and one if she left and went to the party. Though it is sometimes difficult to tell which storyline we are following (the handy markers at the bottom of each page, stay or go, do help with this problem), the struggles Caroline goes through with her family and her relationships are well thought out and relatable.
"The idea that things will eventually all work out the way they are supposed to is a comforting one (regardless of whether or not it is true in real life), and JUST LIKE FATE’s subtle approach to that idea makes the novel unique and, ultimately, uplifting."
In one storyline, we follow Caroline as she begins to reconcile with her estranged sister and mother and starts to date her brooding long-term crush, Joey. In the other, her departure from her grandmother’s deathbed causes even more friction between Caroline and her sister, but also leads her to meet Chris, a cute college kid with whom she strikes up a relationship. There is, of course, friction in both Caroline’s relationship with Joey and with Chris, but the drama between her and Chris is far more contrived, which makes her relationship with Joey all the more compelling. Joey is the guy she always thought she wanted, but the reality of being his girlfriend is complicated by the fact that he has his own issues. The way Suzanne Young and Cat Young explore Caroline’s feelings about Joey is spot-on. He is the dream guy who you find is flawed in reality but want to hold on to even though you suspect holding on might be a bad idea.
However, the most interesting relationship in the novel is the one between Caroline and her sister because in each storyline, they slowly come to understand and truly love one another. That is the other wonderful thing about JUST LIKE FATE; the way the stories begin to intersect as the novel progresses. In the end, Caroline finds herself exactly where she needs to be, even though in each story she made different decisions and different mistakes. The idea that things will eventually all work out the way they are supposed to is a comforting one (regardless of whether or not it is true in real life), and JUST LIKE FATE’s subtle approach to that idea makes the novel unique and, ultimately, uplifting.
Reviewed by Erin Allen on August 22, 2013
Just Like Fate
- Publication Date: August 27, 2013
- Genres: Youth Fiction
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- ISBN-10: 1442472715
- ISBN-13: 9781442472716