Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse (imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Genre: young adult, contemporary romance, "sliding doors" alternate reality
Format/Source: DRC from Edelweiss
Status: Standalone

Disclaimer: This advanced DRC was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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...

Huge thank you to Simon Pulse for giving me access to Just Like Fate. I don't remember what I was expecting when I requested it, but what I got was definitely NOT what I was expecting. Chapter two ends with the sentence, "'Simone,' I start, my decision made. 'I'm going to--'" And then chapter three finishes: "'--stay.'" And I thought, "YES. Good choice, Caroline. That's what I wanted you to say. So many times, people choose go. Good on you!" So I read chapter three, and then I come across...chapter THREE, which starts off, "'Simone,' I start, my decision made. 'I'm going to . . . go.'" I was shocked. I flipped forward a couple pages and realized every chapter had a stay section and a go section. It was at that point that I really understood what was going on. It was a bit of an adjustment to be sure, but after I got used to it, I really enjoyed the switch back and forth. Like with the choices I make in my own life, I found myself at times preferring one of Caroline's paths over the other, and then switching as the consequences of each path developed.

So in Caroline's STAY choice, we get to see her as a family girl. She and her sister Natalie set aside their sisterly beef and try to get to know each other. As a sister, I can remember that exact moment in my relationship with my older sister. It was tough because it stemmed from one of the worst fights we ever had, kind of like Caroline and Natalie, but it was a beautiful moment, and after that, she and I became best friends. Are Caroline and Natalie best friends? Maybe not yet. They've got some work to do, but I liked the direction of their relationship. Tragedies have a way of either bringing people together or tearing them apart, and Just Like Fate definitely explores that through both storylines.

Also in STAY, Caroline's romantic partner is Joel, the childhood friend she's been lusting after forever. *sigh* Oh, Joel. I wanted to like him, I really did. But considering the reader meets Caroline's GO beau first, poor Joel is left wanting in comparison. He seems nice enough. He sympathizes with Caroline and talks to her about their somewhat forgotten friendship, and it's just...nice. They kiss, which was pretty steamy. But I was just kind of bored with Joel. At least until the point where I started wanting to punch him in the face. 

As far as the GO story is concerned, we meet Caroline's guy pretty quickly. Chris is charming and funny, which Caroline desperately needed at that moment. He's sweet, thoughtful, kind: all traits that Joel lacks. Since Chris and Caroline meet each other during the novel, they obviously don't have a shared past and both are guilty of keeping secrets quiet until inopportune moments.

Meanwhile, Caroline, displaying the runner quality everyone attributes to her, moves in with her dad and stepmom. The GO section focuses on her relationships with them, her brother, and her new classmates. Also Chris, obviously. Meanwhile her relationships with Natalie, her mom, and Simone deteriorate quickly, which makes sense to me because when someone makes the choice to move away, it feels like abandonment no matter which way you spin it. Although the paths vastly differentiate early, it is cool to see how each choice leads to small climactic moments of resolution with each person in Caroline's life (lifes?). So both have a moment with Natalie, Simone, Mom, Dad & Debbie, etc. I won't say anything about Chris and Joel because I want you to be surprised. 

Just Like Fate is fantastic. Not only will I be looking up all of Cat and Suzanne's books and devouring them, but I'm now really into this sliding doors concept of alternate realities. I find it fascinating. It's like a giant "Screw you" to Robert Frost's oft-quoted poem, and that's kind of funny (even though I like both Robert Frost and "The Road Not Taken"). I really, really recommend this book. It comes out on Tuesday the 27th. That's THIS Tuesday. Do yourself and find a copy, even if it's for nothing more than to meet Chris, who is guaranteed to be your new book crush. Go read it!

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About the Authors:
Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.

As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters, and is on Twitter @seecatwrite, or Facebook at authorcatpatrick.

Author Links:

Originally from New York, Suzanne Young moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She currently resides in Tempe, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration.

Suzanne is the author of several books for teens, including THE PROGRAM, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, and A WANT SO WICKED. Friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @suzanne_young.

Author Links:


  1. The synopsis sounds similar to Pivot Point by Kasie West. I've read Suzanne Young's The Program which I loved and highly recommend, so I guess I'll have to check this one out as well. Lovely review, Mary!

    1. Honestly, I haven't really looked at the plot to Pivot Point, which is terrible of me since I just met Kasie West. But if it's similar, I will definitely be checking it out. Also will be picking up The Program. JLF has sold me on Cat and Suzanne for life! Thanks for commenting, Holly! I'm glad you like my review! :)