If fate were trying to kill you, how would you escape its deathly grasp? If your solution were to change your name, disguise yourself by dressing and acting differently, and protecting yourself by obtaining an imaginary dog, a greyhound named Boy, then you might be David Case.
David is 15, and lives in a suburb of London with his parents and his baby brother, Charlie. One day he saves Charlie from jumping out of a window to his certain demise (Charlie was wanting to fly like the birds), and rather than feeling blessed and fortunate, he instead snaps and decides that Fate is out to get him, and his best bet is to hide. So he changes his name to Justin, buys a new wardrobe at a local thrift shop, takes up running as an after school sport, and falls in love with an eccentric older woman named Agnes. (She’s not much older, but maybe 20 or so.)
With Boy’s reappearance, Justin felt calmer, more connected to reality. That his reality encompassed an invisible dog and the occasional presence of the voice of doom seemed less significant than his ability to sleep at night, rise in the morning, and interact meaningfully with other human beings during the day.
I haven’t read Rosoff’s other book, “How I Live Now“, though I’ve heard wonderful things about it, and if it’s anywhere close to as good as “Just In Case“, it’s definitely worth a read, and I’ll take the time to check it out. What I loved about this book was it’s quirky voice, and how the characters interact with each other. For example…Justin fears that Fate is trying to kill him, and will do anything to escape. Well, Fate is trying to kill him, and has a voice of its own in the book. Justin’s imaginary dog, Boy, is incredibly important to Justin, gives him comfort and solace. And it appears that Boy isn’t entirely imaginary…a few other characters can see him as well. His little brother, Charlie, has grains of wisdom to bestow on those around him, but unfortunately, he can’t talk yet, so no one benefits.
I won’t tell you any more about this story, because I don’t want to ruin it for you. I loved it, and I’ll probably read it again. I would recommend it for any adults who enjoy young adult fiction, and any young adults who enjoy quirky stories as well.