Literary Criticism and Significance
Just in Case is Meg Rosoff’s follow-up to her extremely successful first novel, How I Live Now, which won the 2004 Guardian Award, 2005 Michael L. Printz Award, and 2005 Branford Boase Award. Just in Caseitself won two prestigious awards, the 2007 Carnegie Medal and German Jugendliteraturpreis, and was shortlisted for the L.A. Times Book Prize, Booktrust Teenage Prize, and Costa Prize. Overall, critics agreed that Just in Case proved the runaway success of Rosoff’s first young adult novel was no fluke.
Booklist called Just in Case an “explosive, challenging story” that balances powerful questions on a foundation of solid friendships.Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberg also appreciated Rosoff’s “poetic plunge” into a wide range of philosophical issues. In KLIATT, Claire Rosser described the novel as “exceptional,” although, due to its complex subject matter, perhaps more appropriate for older teens and adults. Kirkus Reviews deemed the book “magically real” and “stunning.” Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, called Just in Case “magical and utterly flawless.” APublisher’s Weekly review found the book “intriguing,” with a powerful, almost “allegorical” message about the nature of fate. In The Guardian,Diane Samuels described the novel as “intrepid” and bold, with its own unique take on the passage from innocent childhood to dark adolescent angst. Samuels commended Rosoff’s writing for “seamlessly” blending philosophical questions, everyday reality, and the realm of the imagination. Although Samuels did note that Just in Case sometimes feels episodic rather than offering a fluid narrative, her review concludes completely in favor of the novel and the author’s skill. As Samuel says,Just in Case is full of life and packed with unanswerable questions; “at once great fun and rather disturbing,” the novel always keeps the reader on his or her toes.