Now that I've finished reading JUST IN CASE and it's time for me to write my review, I'm having a hard time thinking of how to describe it. I've had the pleasure of reading HOW I LIVE NOW, Ms. Rosoff's Michael L. Printz award-winning book, so I began reading JUST IN CASE with high expectations. I wasn't disappointed, not in the least, and have high hopes for the awards this book will garner over the coming year. It's just that, now that I need to put it in words, it's difficult to describe just who, exactly, the main character in this story is--David Case, now known as Justin, or Fate? I guess the book could be summed up, quite easily, by the words (actually, by the alphabet blocks) of eighteen-month-old Charlie Case: "JUST IN CASE WHAT?" Or, possibly, by the photograph of Agnes, the style-maven with the pink hair, entitled "ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH."
Regardless of how you describe the story, you'll find yourself quickly immersed in the life and times of Justin Case. A teen on the verge of sixteen, David Case is irrevocably changed on the day he saves his baby brother from falling out of an open window. For those of us who are privy to his story, we would see two lucky brothers, one narrowly avoiding a long fall to his death, and one heroic for his quick thinking. For David, though, this break isn't a lucky one. No, this is just one more example of how Fate has it in for him. How can he get away, escape, allude Fate, trick it? He begins by changing his name to Justin, follows it up by becoming even more quiet and withdrawn than he originally was, and finishes it up with a new way of dressing, walking, and talking.
When Justin meets Agnes, she immediately takes him under her wing--and uses him for her own purposes, although Justin doesn't realize it at first. Justin is too busy dodging Fate, avoiding certain death, worrying about the ways that Fate can trick him into an early grave. As Justin survives day to day, with the help of Boy, his imaginary dog, and Peter, his not imaginary friend and fellow runner, Justin is unable to see that Fate is still following him, hot on his heels.
JUST IN CASE is the story of David, who becomes Justin, who melds into a boy that simply wants to make his own choices in life, rather than having it mapped out for him in advance. It's the story of Agnes, who wants to fix Justin, but in the end doesn't even truly understand the ways in which he's broken. It's the story of Charlie, an abnormally bright child who wishes his brother could forgive himself. It is, most of all, the story of Fate, and Fate's wicked sense of humor.
Although it's hard to put JUST IN CASE neatly into a category, I can highly recommend it nevertheless. Once I started this story, I was unable to put it down until the very last word--and even then I was still entranced by Justin Case and his battle with Fate. This book is definitely one worth reading.
*Gold Star Award Winner!show more