Just Like That by Marsha Qualey

September 30, 2012
By Anonymous

Just Like That

              Marsha Qualey

In just one short month, Hanna had managed to break up with her boyfriend, make some bad decisions with a boy she barely knew, lose her two best friends, and the worst, she may have been able to prevent two deaths, but she didn’t. Just like that, in the snap of a finger, her life turned into a complete mess.

Hanna knew it was a bad idea, but just like any other teenager, she did it anyway. She found herself walking to Lake Calhoun at midnight, in 10 below zero degree weather. Hanna retreated to the lake in search of a quiet place to think, but what she finds is just the opposite. This walk around the lake changes her life forever.  

The question most of you are probably asking is why would she even take a walk at midnight in the first place. Have you ever had those days where you just need to be alone? Well, that was the type of day Hanna was having, so a quiet walk in the park didn’t seem like such a bad idea. She wanted a place of solitaire, somewhere to go clear her mind and relax. After all, earlier in the day she had broken up with her boyfriend Spencer, that she had been dating for almost a year. This was another problem though, Hanna didn’t even feel anything when she broke up with Spence, wasn’t she supposed to be sad and depressed?

As Hanna sat on a bench next to the lake, trying to straighten things out, she was suddenly interrupted. What Hanna didn’t know was that this moment was going to change her life forever. Two teenagers about her age sped by on a four wheeler, their screaming and laughing could be heard throughout the park. They looked so happy, a couple on their anniversary is what they had said when they stopped to talk to Hanna. Their conversation with Hanna was very brief and they continued driving around, this time riding on the frozen lake. Hanna couldn’t help her jealousy, everyone seemed so happy together and she was stuck in a dreadful mood. Marsha Qualey perfectly described Hanna’s feelings with this quote in the book (pg. 20) “Sometimes other peoples happiness is contagious. Most times, I suddenly realized, it just sucks.”
Days later Hanna soon finds out that those teenagers from the park were found dead. This turns Hanna’s mind into a state of chaos; she was the last person to talk to them before it happened. Could she have prevented their deaths? How did they die? Who can Hanna trust with her secret, or can she even tell anyone at all?

“ We were best friends, and at that level of friendship you don’t tight-lip this major a story one hundred percent. I’d have to share something.” (p. 99) But Hanna would soon come to regret that thought. Her friends had leaked one of her biggest secrets that she had trusted them with. They betrayed her, she thought “What’s the point of friendship if you can’t trust a friend.” (p. 118) And that was it, Hanna came to realize that she couldn’t trust these girls anymore, their friendship was over.
The one person Hanna finds comfort and trust in, is the person she knows the least about. This mystery boy is Will, someone Hanna has seen around a lot recently. Her and Will connect instantly, maybe a little too fast. Before meeting Will, Hanna had no one to confide in, she thought just maybe he was someone she could trust. Hanna and Will had a lot in common, including one major thing that had brought them together in the first place. Together they make some bad decisions, but these decisions benefit them in the long run. What Hanna and Will discover turns their lives upside down and they come to find out you can’t always trust everyone in your life.

Everything can, and will, change, just like that. This theme is portrayed throughout the book by everything that is happening in Hanna’s life. Hanna doesn’t expect anything to happen, all she did was go for an innocent walk around the lake and left with no idea of what was coming. Quickly her life is altered forever, and she has to adapt to change or find a way to fix all of her problems. She is forced to deal with many of these things on her own, and for that matter, she becomes a strong character. The theme is something everyone can relate to and find evidence of in their own lives. You never know what’s going to happen next or who will stay or leave in your life. Be prepared for the worst and don’t always expect the best, I believe Hanna learned this lesson after everything she went through. It is a lesson and theme that everyone can learn from.
This book kept me on my toes and always wanting to read more. It is a very good book for young adults and it really keeps you interested. The theme of this book was very easy to relate to and sometime, in everyone’s life they will experience a change just like in this book. I often found myself being able to connect to the main character, Hanna, and her friends. It’s easy to understand and a great book that’s definitely worth reading.

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