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Just Like That Hardcover – May 19, 2005


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Top 20 Books for Kids
See the books our editors' chose as the Best Children's Books of 2014 So Far or see the lists by age: Baby-2 | Ages 3-5 | Ages 6-8 | Ages 9-12 | Nonfiction

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (May 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803728409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803728400
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,026,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Hanna Martin, 18, is independent, opinionated, and fierce. Yet, even for her, taking a walk late at night, alone, along Lake Calhoun is definitely near the top of her list of dumb things to do, and that act has serious consequences for her. Deeply affected by an encounter with two teens shortly before their tragic death at the lake, Hanna uses her talent as an artist to explore conflicted feelings of guilt, disengagement, and secrecy; art becomes both obsession and therapy. Her best friends Maura and Kelsey react to her distress in ways that begin to unravel the skein of their long friendship. Her mother is astute and caring, but Hanna will not confide in her. When Hanna encounters Will, who was also connected to the fateful events of that night on the lake, their reactions to one another ring true: attracted, confused, hopeful. Qualey writes with quiet fierceness, giving her characters depth and the plot complexities that transcend the sometimes hackneyed trend toward grim realism in YA novels. Previous novels feature poignant characters and out-of-the-ordinary plots. With this new offering, Qualey does not disappoint.–Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Eighteen-year-old Hanna believes that she may have been able to save two teens before they died on a subzero Minneapolis night. Consumed with guilt, she visits the tragedy's site, where she spots Will, a boy who harbors his own shame about the deaths. Will tracks Hanna down, the teens find solace and a strong attraction when they share their stories, and, just hours after they meet, have sex, which is depicted in a skillfully authentic and nonexplicit scene. Then, Hanna is horrified to learn that Will is 14. Although she breaks off a romance immediately, she is drawn into his family, which, like her own, struggles with tragedy and secrets. Qualey's uneven novel is crowded with contrived connections, and Hanna's motivations aren't always clear, despite her strong first-person narration. Even so, many YAs, particularly those who share Hanna's prodigious artistic talents, will see themselves in the unhurried, absorbing portraits of sensitive teens who are learning to forgive their own mistakes and make choices for an independent life. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Marsha Qualey's first novel for adults, Venom and the River: a Novel of Pepin, has been released as an e-book by Untreed Reads. She is also the author of several young adult novels that have been on many "Best of the Year" lists, including the American Library Association's "Best Books for Young Adults" and the New York Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age." She's won two Minnesota Book Awards for YA fiction, and her novel Thin Ice was a finalist for the Edgar Award.

In addition to writing fiction, she also teaches at Hamline University (St. Paul, Minnesota) in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and is as a website editor and social media manager for Winding Oak, a marketing and web design firm for authors and illustrators of children's books.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend it to any teenager.
Sarah J. Hanna
Honestly, it took me over half a year to finish this book because near the middle, at least to me, it gets a little boring & slow.
Kassandra Nichols
Some of the characters also, were a bit two dimensional.
Alexa (Alexa Loves Books)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Just Like That explores the story of a teenage girl named Hanna. After breaking up with her boyfriend, she thinks she'll have a quiet moment to herself, sitting near the frozen-over lake late at night. She sees a slightly older couple, who urge her to come with them to be safe. She stays put. They warn her about the thin ice and depart. Shortly thereafter, a couple about her age drives by on an ATV, loud and giddy, teasing her. Lonely and cranky, she doesn't pass on the warning about the ice.

The next morning, she hears about their deaths on the news. She realizes she was the last person to see them alive - and that she might have been able to prevent their deaths. But she doesn't tell anyone that she was there, not even her mother, not even her two best friends.

And things start to change.

Soon, Hanna meets Will, someone else tied in with that night's events. She gets involved with him rather quickly. Just as quickly, she finds herself drawn into a family with hearts on their sleeves and skeletons in their closet.

Just Like That is highly realistic dramatic fiction in the vein of Sarah Dessen - and that is a high compliment coming from me. It is a must-read book for anyone looking for a poignant story with true-to-life, flawed characters. When I make my top books of the year selections in December, Just Like That is sure to be high on the list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on December 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the Associated Press, November 26, 2005:

"CEDAR GROVE, Wis. - The deaths of two children and a man who broke through frozen ponds in southeastern Wisconsin have led officials to warn of the dangers of skating or driving on early winter's thin ice."

Just like that, the horror of the headlines plunged me right back into the tense, cold memory of Marsha Qualey's JUST LIKE THAT, a story of broken hearts and frozen secrets:

"Snowmobiles and ATVs were illegal in the city parks, but that didn't ever stop people from tearing down streets and over the lakes when there was fresh snow. A sinewy cloud of breath shot out of my mouth as I swore at the disturbance. I stood up, ready to stalk away so I could be alone with my bad mood. A four-wheeler raced past me toward the lake. Its bright headlight cut a swath out of the darkness. There were two people on the vehicle. More happy lovers, no doubt. I'd ventured out tonight to purge my head of thoughts of romance and look what I'd run into. The ATV sped over a snowbank at the edge of the ice and rode the air for a few feet. When it landed, the passenger tumbled off. The driver immediately cut the engine. A girl laughed and shouted, 'I love you Derek!' I sat back down. The movement must have caught her eye because she called out, 'Friend or foe?' They laughed at her wit in a merry tenor-soprano duet. Before I could answer 'Foe,' they sped off again. Then they made a sharp turn and came toward me, angling away at the last minute and stopping with a spray of snow that missed me by inches. 'It's our one-year anniversary!' the girl said. 'Here's a present in reverse! Find someone and have fun!' An unwrapped condom landed on my lap.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
High school senior Hanna is having a bad day --- she's just broken up with her boyfriend, and no one seems to understand why she would dump such a perfect guy. Confused and sleepless, she heads out for a midnight walk on a brutally cold Minnesota winter night. As she sits by the lake feeling sorry for herself, she witnesses what she later realizes is the lead-up to a deadly accident, a tragedy she's convinced she could have prevented.

As artistic Hanna revisits the scene of the accident to sketch out her feelings, she notices another solitary visitor to the site. Soon she discovers that another person, Will, is hiding his own secret about that terrible night. United by their role in the tragedy, Will and Hanna develop an immediate physical and emotional attraction. Soon, though, Hanna discovers that Will is hiding more about himself than she had expected.

Before Hanna realizes Will's secret, though, she's already gotten inextricably involved with his large, emotionally intense family. Hanna, who is an only child being raised by her widowed mother, is attracted by Will's passionate, close-knit family, especially by his older sister Aerin, who is recovering from her own tragedy. Hanna's exposure to this new kind of family inspires her to seek out the truth about her own family roots.

Marsha Qualey's novels for young adults always seem to avoid the kinds of clichéd plots that can mar much fiction for teens. An examination of Hanna's guilt over the death of two teenagers could have deteriorated into a simplistic expose of survivor's guilt. Instead, though, Qualey delves into the complexities of Hanna's reactions; she explores the impact on Hanna's friendships, on her academic work, on her artistic expression, and on her close relationship with her mother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah J. Hanna on August 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was a wonderful book. I felt like I was right there in Minneapolis, in the cold winter. The author really brought home the feelings that come with betrayal and forgiveness. I would recommend it to any teenager.
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