When I began this book, I was furious with the author. That’s a terrible way to start a recommendation. I think the author chose a terrible way to start his book! And, of course, I can’t spoil your experience of reading this book—because you should—by revealing what that is. When you’ve finished, let’s talk. I think Just Like That will be one of the best book club selections ever. The discussions will be lively.
Set in the timeline and parallel to the characters of The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now, there are two main characters in this book. One is Meryl Lee Kowalski, whose parents drive her to boarding school after an aching loss in her life, one that numbs her. The other is Matt Coffin, who is hiding, and doing a good job of it until things unravel.
In that sorcerous way he has, Gary D. Schmidt leads us to care deeply about these young people. They are learning what it means to care about people while addressing seemingly hopeless challenges. As was the case with the two earlier books, the reader turns the final page thinking, “That’s one of the best books I’ve ever read … I don’t want it to be over.”
There are plenty of gasp-worthy moments, the plot moves quickly, and unexpected revelations create a compelling story. How will the two narrative threads come together? You will laugh and you will find tears leaking down your face. You will want to know each of the minor characters better because the author does such a good job of making them real and multi-dimensional. But mostly, you will add this book to your list of favorites. I have.