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Seventeen-year-old Paige suffers from a paralyzing fear of making the wrong decision, so when presented with the choice between two life-long dreams Paige is forced to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety. - (Baker & Taylor)

Sliding Doors meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in a sweet, smart holiday romance about a girl who decides to stop letting her anxiety stand in the way of true love.

The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That's about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she's destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)That's why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she's paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family's romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in -- in the form of a slippery grocery store floor -- and Paige's life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she'll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety -- and learn that you don't have to be "perfect" to deserve true love.
- (Scholastic)

Author Biography

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.
- (Scholastic)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

It's nearly Christmas, and 17-year-old Paige needs to make a decision. Should she spend the holidays with her best friend (and longtime secret flame) Fitz and his family in their mountain cabin or tour New York City for a week with her mother? A high-school senior and aspiring travel writer, she longs to see the world outside Arizona, but her heart is like a compass needle, always pointing toward Fitz. Beset with anxieties and occasional panic attacks, Paige experiences that week in two alternate-universe first-person narratives, flipping from one to the other, chapter by chapter. Fate One records her adventures in New York, while Fate Two follows her to the mountain cabin. Throughout the novel, the dialogue flows well. McDowell creates a compelling portrayal of a young person immobilized by anxiety and panic disorders and lets readers know that help is available. At the same time, she offers an enjoyable story that consciously plays with the familiar trappings of rom-com holiday movies. A wry, amusing love story with one or two happy endings. Grades 7-10. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—The walls of Paige Collin's bedroom are covered with travel posters. She imagines grand adventures that take her away from her small Arizona town. But Paige is unable to make decisions, large and small, leading to meltdowns as she minutely examines each new possibility. Luckily, she has great friends: Clover, who introduces her to the 8-ball app, which takes decision-making out of her hands by creating random choices; and Fitz, who guides her through the meltdowns. She is also madly in love with Fitz. Unfortunately, Fitz bounces from girl to girl, confirming that Paige has been relegated to best friend status. When opportunity knocks, providing Paige a choice of a holiday trip to New York with her mom or a visit to Fitz's family vacation home, she is stunned again by indecision. In one swift moment however, she slips on a wet floor, hitting her head, and suddenly the two possible scenarios play out. Told in alternating chapters, she goes on her trip to New York, and also heads up to Flagstaff for her visit with Fitz. Each scenario plays out to the end, providing Paige insight into her friendships, love, and the realization that the havoc her anxiety causes can be controlled with help. VERDICT Written in the rom-com style that Paige and Fitz love the most, this book will delight readers who love watching romance at work, knowing that the two protagonists are meant for each other, and wondering: Will they ever realize it?—Connie Williams, Petaluma P.L., CA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

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