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Magan: Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick

Book Review of Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne YoungJust Like Fate by Cat Patrick (website | twitter) + Suzanne Young (website | twitter)
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Target Audience:  Young Adult
Keywords: different life scenarios, death of a grandparent, divorced parents
Format Read: ARC received at TLA from the publisher. (Thank you!)
Other Books I’ve Reviewed by These Authors: The Originals

Summary: Called out of class, Caroline finds out that her grandmother is in the hospital. She’s been Caroline’s rock since her parent’s divorce and in two different scenarios, Patrick and Young explore what life would be like for Caroline if she chose to go to a party instead of staying with her grandmother at the hospital or if she stayed by her side.

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One reality: Caroline’s grandmother is dying. No one knows how much time she has left.
Two scenarios: Escape the sadness and family drama to go to a party with her BFF, Simone, or stay with her grandmother.

STAY vs. GO

Have you ever thought about a pivotal moment in your life and realized that if you had gone down another path, absolutely everything might have ended up differently? For me one of those big moments is if I had actually dated my long-term crush/best guy friend in high school. Or maybe the moment when I liked this other guy and he and his dad made a bet about how many phone numbers he could collect while we were at camp. (Let me add: it was church camp.) Thanks to social media, I have been able to keep up with where both of those guys have ended up throughout the years, and let me just say, I’m really glad things have worked out the way they are. (And yes, I do realize I sound stalker-ish.)

Just Like Fate is a beautiful exploration of how Caroline’s choices and decisions in the past have shaped how she moves forward. One particularly excellent portrayal is in regards to her family. Her parents are divorced, and both are remarried. Caroline barely speaks to her father, and her mother’s remarks always seem to be a little underhanded. She remained close with her brother, Teddy, but is somewhat estranged from her older sister, Natalie. Her youngest sister, Juju, is too young to grasp the majority of what’s going on. Natalie and Caroline have a ton of friction between them since Caroline decided to move in with her grandmother during the divorce because she couldn’t handle the change. Natalie feels like Caroline always runs away from problems and never sticks around to solve anything. Caroline sees Natalie as a goody-two-shoes who is judgmental and stuck-up. Teddy is the glue that tries to hold everything together, but as a college student he’s got his own life to live.

When the situation arises with her grandmother in the hospital, Caroline is once again faced with a tough decision. Does she do the hard thing and push through all the family drama to be by her grandmother’s side, or does she go to a party with her best friend, Simone, and forget about about her problems? Both scenarios and outcomes are laid out before the reader in alternating Stay and Go chapters. My reading time was a bit spotty when I first began Just Like Fate, not allowing me a good chunk of time to get into the flow of the story. Once I was finally able to push aside my responsibilities and focus, I felt like I could really connect with Caroline and the flow of the story.

With the two different scenarios comes different obstacles and characters. Joel is the boy that Caroline’s always wanted to date; she’s loved him from afar for quite a long while. Then there’s Chris, the college guy who is incredibly funny and sarcastic. Both seem appealing in their own ways until Caroline is confronted with having to make some decisions. (This seems to be a common theme, doesn’t it?) There are some pretty big ups and downs with Simone as well that felt very realistic; they have to figure their way out of some uncomfortable situations and Caroline has to learn how to talk through things instead of turning inward. While I definitely loved the guy aspect that strung my romantic side along, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the bigger questions: Was it possible for Caroline to mend the broken relationships with her father and sister? Could she become a stronger woman if she had to confront life instead of always fleeing? Despite how we react to a situation, do we arrive at different conclusions?

Just Like Fate was an engaging, fast-paced read. I’ve very much enjoyed Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young’s individual work in the past, but I certainly hope they’ll consider writing more together in the future. For now, you should definitely be pre-ordering this book so you can gobble it up as soon as possible.

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August 28, 2013 - 11:22 am

Alexa Y. - For some reason, I wasn’t particularly keen on this book when I first heard of it. HOWEVER. After reading your review, I think I might actually have to read it! I love how this book tries to show what would happen if Caroline lived out BOTH scenarios. It would be interesting to see what would change and what would stay the same! I’ve had plenty of situations where I think of what-ifs in my own life, so this book really intrigues me for that aspect alone.

August 26, 2013 - 11:48 am

Rachelia (Bookish Comforts) - This sounds like such an interesting book! I think there are definitely decisions in life that we think about how our lives would be different if we took a different path. Adding this to my TBR list now, great review!

August 15, 2013 - 4:04 pm

katy - I’ve been wondering about this one! It sounds really interesting and I like Patrick and Young separately, too. It kind of sounds sad, but I think I might like the “what if” and I can relate a bit to being a runner. Chris sounds nice, too! I might put this one on my TBR!

August 15, 2013 - 9:01 am

Rachel @ hello, chelly. - “Despite how we react to a situation, do we arrive at different conclusions?” –> This message is probably what resonated with me the most as I read. But I felt like the book was trying to say that it’s the different journey that shapes you (regardless of what the outcome is). And I really really liked that. Actually I liked a lot about what the book had to say about life and choices. Plus I kind of adored Chris <3 haha. Anyway, great review! I def plan to buy this one.

August 14, 2013 - 11:19 am

Andrea @Cozy Up With A Good Read - Wow, I didn’t realize that this was what the book was about. It sounds amazing and I love how these two authors come together to explore two different paths and how strongly it could affect Caroline’s life. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!

August 14, 2013 - 11:02 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - What a fantastic explanation and review of this book! I wasn’t totally ‘wowed’ by it, but I really, really enjoyed it and I also really loved how the ending was done.
I LIKED that Caroline had some serious flaws. It didn’t make me hate her — it actually kind of made me like her more because you could see her changes and I really felt like I grew to like her even more by the time the book ended.
I also love that this was split time lines without really making it sci-fi/paranormal.
Awesome review! 🙂 So beautifully said!

August 14, 2013 - 9:01 am

Bookworm1858 - I love the way you captured the plot of this book-I think I kind of just rambled in my post but yours is so orderly and I feel like it gives a great impression of the book. Though this book wasn’t a favorite, I enjoyed the way it explored this question you asked: “Could she become a stronger woman if she had to confront life instead of always fleeing?”

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