Published: August 27th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Format: eARC, 304 pages
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One decision changes everything in this Sliding Doors meets Anna and the French Kiss novel that explores split realities of romance and family loyalties.
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 ...
The blurb describes Just Like Fate as Sliding Doors meets Anna and the French Kiss, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. The sweet romances and complex relationships that define Cat Patrick’s writing are present in full force in this novel, as is the intriguing question of how one single decision can change someone’s life.
(Sweet) Caroline is a character that I slowly warmed up to – I initially had a difficult time understanding her, especially in the reality where she went to the party instead of staying with her grandmother (having been faced with a similar situation just over a year ago). But the more time I spent with her, and importantly, as I got to see how she conducted herself through her two different realities, the more I liked her. She’s confused and hurt, and a bit like a ship lost in a storm – any port will do for her.
In one reality that port is the college student Chris, who I immediately liked, and in the other, it’s Caroline’s high school crush Joel, who I basically hated throughout the book. But I don’t think this was a love triangle in the traditional sense of the word (especially since there are technically two versions of Caroline, two different realities), and I thought it rather unfair that I ended up judging them against one another, especially because Caroline never got the opportunity to do so. But I couldn’t help it: from my outsider’s view, the decision looked clear cut! That is, until the authors changed the rules of the game on me, and Caroline (and I) were left wondering whether we actually knew these boys at all.
My favourite aspect of the book are the familial relationships that take centre stage. In one reality, Caroline becomes closer to her mother and sister, and in another, finds solace with her father and stepmother. In both, however, she realises that she can’t keep compartmentalising her life, and that her happiness is dependant on her friends and all her family members. I love Caroline’s brother, who is undoubtedly her biggest supporter in both realities. The other breath of fresh air is her best friend Simone, who could have easily been painted as a shallow and uncaring party girl, but instead became a realistic source of support and painful truths for Caroline.
Emotional, thrilling, sweet and absolutely engaging, Just Like Fate is a must read for fans of Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young’s writing. I think the message and delivery of this novel is just gorgeous, and I see many re-reads in my future.
Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.