Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: Just Like Fate

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Title: Just Like Fate
Author: Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Stand Alone
Released Date: August 27, 2013
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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...

My Thougths:

"I'm saying that our mistakes - one mistake or many of them - don't define us. They don't derail us. We end up were we need to be in the end." He pauses. "But hopefully having learned something from our stumbles...having grown into better people because of them."

Just Like Fate is a thought-provoking contemporary story about choices and decisions, how to deal with the consequences that will soon come after and learn from the mistakes along the way.

Caroline’s grandmother was slowly dying at the hospital after she had a stroke. Meanwhile her whole family was in a problematic state; her mother was slowly falling apart, like her. Her brother, Teddy, was putting on a brave face for everyone. And she and her sister, Natalie were untimely butting heads, again. So when her friend, Simone, offered her a few moments of escape from the heavy atmosphere at the hospital, she has to decide if she will stay or go. In alternating chapters between go and stay, we will see the consequences of both of these choices and how it will affect Caroline’s life.

All of us make choices every single day of our lives, both good and bad ones. But once we made our choices and go through with it, we can never see or know what will happen if we choose otherwise. But in Just Like Fate, we will see both of Caroline's options in alternating chapters. It’s one of the things I find unique and interesting about this book. 

Caroline’s character might not be the most likable person in the fictional world but she’s definitely realistic in her own way. Her sister, Natalie, says that she's a runner. Not the 10K marathon kind of runner but the running-away-from-bad-stuff-and-problems kind. The first time she ran away from her problems was when her parent got divorced. Caroline can’t handle all the fighting and shouting that she decided to stay with her Grandma, for good. To be honest, I really don't like Caroline at the beginning because she's irresponsible and oversensitive but as the story progresses, I saw how she developed into a better and more mature version of herself in both of her choices.

And speaking of choices, I ask myself a few times if Caroline could really choose to go into a party knowing that her beloved grandmother, who took care of her for almost five years, can die any minute. Was the problem with her sister, enough reason for her to go away to a party and disregard the situation at the hospital? The logical part of me says she won’t do it. She loved her grandma so much that she will stick with her no matter how impossible her sister is. But the other part of me says we’re all human and we make mistakes and stupid decisions especially in times when we are overwhelmed with our emotions and problems. I’m not making excuses for Caroline if she decided to go, I’m just thinking in general that stupid and selfish actions/decisions are real and it can happen. 

After I finished it, it made me realize that asking about whether she will choose to stay or go is just a waste of time on my part because both choices are not perfect. Both have good and bad parts, happy and sad moments. The real lesson in here is that it doesn’t matter which road she choose; what matter is the learning and experience she acquired after she travelled that road. 

And also, I don't know if this is accidental, intentional or it might be just my imagination running wild, but I feel like this book also shows the idea of soulmates. You see, there was this guy who Caroline met at the party and he was very charming, funny and just swoonworthy. His name was Chris and I thought, Caroline would have never met him if she stayed that night but she still met him in the end. It was nice to think that no matter what we do in our lives, if we are destined to meet that certain someone, it will happen no matter what the circumstances are. 

Overall, Just Like Fate was an awesome contemporary read that has just the right balance of family drama and teen romance. I will recommend this to everyone who wanted to read a unique contemporary novel.  

My Rating
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange of honest review. (Thanks, Hardie Grant Egmont!)
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