on July 7, 2015
Published by Simon and Schuster, Washington Square Press Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life, Romance, Contemporary
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From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results. At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan? In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate? Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.
I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The concurrent storyline concept is what piqued my curiosity with Maybe in Another Life. I was curious to see how, or if, an author could essentially tell two different stories about the same characters within one book. Taylor Jenkins Reid DID IT and did it incredibly well! In the alternating chapters we see the consequences of Hannah’s decision to stay with Ethan, and the consequences of her decision to go home with Gabby. The good, the bad, the happy, the make-me-cry-and-make-my-nose-run consequences. Each choice sets off a VASTLY different chain of events for Hannah and the rest of the characters and I loved watching each and every single character face their respective challenges, past mistakes, and uncertain futures with such raw, realistic human emotion.
Maybe in Another Life not only made me feel EVERY emotion along with Hannah and her BFF Gabby deep in my gut (seriously, it was like Taylor sucker punched me right in the gut). It made me think about the idea that what if there is another me somewhere out there who’s affected by my choices and actions.
“Every second of every day, the world is splitting further and further into an infinite number of parallel universes, where everything that could happen is happening. There are millions, trillions, or quadrillions, I guess, of different versions of ourselves living out the consequences of our choices.”
Can we go back to the feels? The above quote in its entirety has a little more to it with the last two lines rendering me a crying, snotting mess EVERY SINGLE TIME I read it, or think of it. Like now for example…
I can’t pick a favorite outcome no matter how hard I try. And believe me, I’ve thought about each ending for the past four days trying to decide. Each ending placed Hannah where she was supposed to be and who she was supposed to be with based on the consequences of her choices and each one was just as perfect as the other.
Maybe in Another Life was a unique, thought provoking story that will stay with me for a long time and one that I’m so glad to have read!