Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BOOK: Just in Case by Meg Rosoff

Just in Case by Meg Rosoff, 243 pages

Book Awards Challenge V: Carnegie Medal 2007

Justin dried his neck and ruffled his damp hair with a tear-off paper towel. He felt cleaner than he'd felt in his entire life. A pound's worth of soap and hot water was all it took to cleanse the grime from his soul, remove the sludge from his brain and reveal the face behind the mask. p97

David, who later changes his name, saves his toddler brother from an accident, and recognizing his mortality, thinks fate is out to get him. Oh, sixteen year olds and your awakening awareness! Justin begins to be very scared of fate, who does some narrating, a la The Book Thief's death narrator. Rosoff, who wrote the delightful How I Live Now, writes so smart. She doesn't spell everything out, she trusts in the intelligence of her young adult readers. I was charmed, especially in the beginning. The toddler brother was one of my favorite characters, and I particularly loved Rosoff's take of what goes on in a child's mind.

I loved the beginning. It started very strong, and was when I realized Rosoff's strength - her respect for her readers to read between the lines and make their own conclusion. Great set-up to the story.

I got a bit confused in the middle part of the book. It seemed to drag on, as Justin fights his desire to live carefully with his want to live normally. However, I was also very tired that week, and reading in fits and starts. I think this book demanded a bit more of me which I did not have to give. Even within my confusion, I recognize that this is great writing, and an intelligent read. There are layers in this story (is Justin just doing the usual young adult questioning his place in the world and hearing fate, or is he actually hearing voices?), tons of great characters. People make mistakes, they are flawed, and they have different motives than we project on them.

The end was great however, and I was pleased. Rosoff is an author that's a keeper. I like her style.