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Just Like Fate

Just Like Fate - Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

Pivot Point, by Kasie West, is one of my top reads in 2013 and is a stand-out among books with a parallel lives focus. Just Like Fate is just like Pivot Point's wanna-be little sister.

Caroline's story heads down two paths when her beloved grandmother is near death. Caroline's family is visiting her grandmother in the hospital to say their goodbyes. Caroline's best friend, Simone, encourages Caroline to get out for a while to attend a party. Subsequent chapters are titled "Stay" or "Go." (BTW - thanks to the publisher for including Stay or Go at the bottom of each page, a huge help in a book like this.) "Stay Caroline" declines the invite and is present in the hospital for her grandmother's death, while "Go Caroline" attends the party and therefore misses her grandmother's passing. We're not given any reason why Caroline's life divides into parallel paths. It's certainly tied to the passing of her grandmother, but frankly, she doesn't seem to grieve very long, and she's soon consumed with silly, trivial boy problems.

Stay Caroline quickly gets involved with Joel, a guy she's had a crush on for a long time. He has zero charm, he doesn't treat Caroline well, and it seems that she's the only one who can't see what a douchebag he is. She allows Joel to manipulate her with ease, and when he disrespects or humiliates her, a mild apology and a kiss are all that's needed to get him back in her good graces. It was very hard to root for a doormat like Stay Caroline.

Go Caroline is a bit more likable, but her story isn't any better. Go Caroline meets Chris at the party she attends as her grandmother passes away. She does feel guilt for her decision, but her ridiculously fast-paced romance with Chris washes that all away. To further separate this story from Stay Caroline, Go Caroline makes an impulsive decision to live with her father, despite being estranged from him in the five years since her parents' divorce. It didn't make much sense and seemed like the authors did it just to give the two Carolines something different to do.

There are a few minor side stories: school bullies, the grandmother's lost necklace, and sibling drama, but none of it is of any consequence. Caroline's sole focus in both stories is on two guys - one who's a complete asshole, and the other who is barely memorable aside from his insta-love for Caroline. I'm still wondering what either guy saw in her.