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…
This the first of the “Sliding Doors”/parallel lives books I’ve read. It reminds me of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. I always went back and read the different possibilities.
Following a stroke coupled with cancer, Caroline’s beloved grandmother is in dying in hospice. One night, her best friend Simone asks her to go to a party. What could it hurt, just a few hours away? She needs a little time for herself, right?
Caroline decides to go.
And she decides to stay.
From that point, she leads parallel lives told in alternating chapters. The Go Caroline misses her grandmother’s last moments, moves in with her father and stepmother, meets a new boy.
The Stay Caroline goes back to live with her mother (she had been living with her grandmother), repairs her relationship with her sister, and gets the guy she’s always wanted.
For plot purposes there had to be a Go choice made, but I find it hard to believe Caroline — or anyone as close to a dying person as Caroline is — would choose to go to a party as her grandmother lay dying. I can understand wanting to get away from the reality of the situation, especially since she doesn’t get along with her family, but a party? She couldn’t try to talk her friends into something a little more…calm? Her friends don’t really seem like they would have gone along with that anyway though. I don’t like them very much. They don’t seem like very good friends, the kind you can rely on.
Other than that one issue, I like the Go Caroline chapters — and the character herself — better than the Stay Caroline. She seems like a stronger person, even though going is presented as her running away from things that are hard. There may be some truth to that, but it might just be that she’s running towards a better life, too. You don’t have to stay in a bad situation just so that others won’t perceive it as running away. There are different ways to get where you’re going, as this book shows.
It doesn’t hurt that I LOVE Go Caroline’s boyfriend either.
I like that the chapters alternate between Stay and Go. I don’t usually read chapter names or headings, so it was a little difficult to remember to do that at first so that I would know right away which plot I was in. I have read that the physical book has the word “Stay” or “Go” at the bottom of each page, but I read this on my Kindle and it’s only notated at the beginning of each chapter.
I look forward to reading more books of this type, because I really like the concept. I hope I like them as much as I like this one.