I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Simon Pulse on August 27th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
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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...
The fangirling I did when I saw these two authors had written a collaboration! As a huge fan of Suzanne Young (past reviews here, here, and here), I already vowed to read all her books but Cat Patrick is another author I adore (past review) so I was super excited to see what they could do together!
Caroline is incredibly close with her grandmother, and moved in with her 5 years ago when her parents were going through a messy divorce. To say the situation with her siblings and parents was still messy is an understatement, but as the family rallies around her grandmother as she lies dying in hospice, tension erupts. One night Caroline is faced with the choice to stay, among the awkwardness, tension and fights or take her best friend up on an invite to a party and take a few hours to unwind during the stressful time. Here we follow both paths and see just how much your decisions in life bring you right back on the path to fate.
Stay: I thought this path would be my obvious favorite as I wanted Caroline to stay with her family and her grandmother in what turned out to be her final moments. At first, this really did seem to be the happier choice all around, but the authors couldn’t make it that easy for us, right? Caroline’s grief somehow brings her closer to Joel, the long-time crush. Sure, he sometimes says and does the right things, only when he needs to, but it never felt sincere or honest. There was all this secrecy and insecurity that led to a lot of anger and misery within herself.
Go: Now obviously this choice was wracked with guilt to go along with her grief. Caroline is shown as more of a runner on this path, running away from her problems. I did like the dynamic it opened up with her father and his wife. But most of all, this choice had Chris, and he is the reason I loved the ‘GO’ chapters the best. He is so sweet and adorable! He’s also funny and considerate, an all around good guy. And he makes Caroline feel wanted and special. Guys, he was even afraid to ruin a special moment with kissing! (That sounds weird to say but you’ll totally get it when you read it) And when he calls her his ‘sweet Caroline’… *melts* I just loved this guy to pieces! He’s one of my new favorite book boyfriends, for sure!
“You’re the only girl I want,” he says. “I love you.” He pulls away to laugh softly, looking surprised at his own words. His eyes are wide and vulnerable, as if a word from me can crush him. “I’m totally in love with you,” he murmurs.
Both paths really showed the grief Caroline and her family were going through. It was heartbreaking but also heartwarming to see the moments when they did come together to support one another. I love when a story has a strong family dynamic and it was so important in this story, as it should be, and much appreciated. Of course paths eventually cross and oh how I loved how everything ended! It was all so perfect!
A wonderful story of grief, guilt, family, love and fate – I highly recommend this one!
We may be drawn to our fates like magnets, but whatever we pick up along the way means something. Mistakes mean something.
**A huge THANK YOU to Jen @ Jenuine Cupcakes for getting me a signed ARC!