Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Just In Case - Meg Rosoff

This was Rosoff's second YA novel (the first was How I Live Now).  An American author, married to an Englishman and settled in London, she has the gift of getting inside a teen's head.

David Case is 15, and he has a baby brother, Charlie, who is 18 months old.  The day he sees his brother perched on the windowsill of his bedroom preparing to leap off into the unknown, he knows he has only a split second to save him, which he does.  When he grabs him, Charlie shouts "birdie fly!"  because, as you know, before you can speak properly you can converse with birds and animals - and once you learn to speak properly, that lovely skill disappears.  And a bird had just flown by, telling Charlie it was easy to fly, and lovely to do.
David knows that he only just saved Charlie.  But what if he hadn't?  What would fate have decreed for him then?  And in fact, what has fate in store for him now?  He's frightened, because fate is going to intervene in his life at every turn, and he will have no control over it.  Unless........ unless he disguises himself so that fate cannot find him.  And so he changes his name to Justin.  That's Justin Case (see book title), and Justin is taken in hand by a girl photographer who sort of adopts him in a charity shop and chooses clothes so unlike his own for him that he believes he is now truly hidden from fate.  When he has his first sexual encounter with her he believes that not only has fate lost track of him but also that he has found the love of his life.  Neither is true and there are bigger things out  there for Justin to deal with.
Easy to read, It only took a day to finish. It's a great book for adolescents I think, but it's also a great read for those of us who have left adolescence far behind, or perhaps those parents who are looking at the adolescence of their own child and wondering how the hell to cope.  Clever concept, and I really enjoyed it.