Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on July 7th 2015
Page Count: 342
Genre(s): Adult, contemporary, romance, coming-of-age
Format: Paperback, purchased
Would I recommend? YES, YES, YESSSSSS. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone, especially someone who is at a difficult time in their life, is at the crossroads, and/or needs a good comfort read.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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.
OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I should probably warn you guys: I literally just finished this book so I may or may not be a complete mess of feels. Expect lots and lots of rambling in this review.
“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.”
I bought this book on a complete whim. Well, I guess I had heard about it once or twice from other bloggers, but it’s not one of those really really hyped-about books, you know? I mean, I guess I’m not too experienced in the whole “Adult Fiction” thing, but if it was really popular then I would be seeing it everywhere. And, the point is, I only just saw it in the bookstore yesterday.
Gosh darn it, I don’t know how to talk today. SEE, THIS IS WHAT BOOKS DO TO ME!!!
ANYWAY, I went into this book knowing pretty much nothing. Heck, I didn’t even read the synopsis when I picked it out at the bookstore. I just saw it, thought “hey, I’ve heard of this one before,” scrolled through some Goodreads reviews (which were ALL 5 STARS, mind you), and purchased it. Which turned out to be a really great decision.
I’ve also been trying to get more into adult fiction lately, so this worked out perfectly. I still haven’t quite worked up the courage to start on The Shining yet.
I honestly can’t tell you one thing about this novel that I disliked. I really do try to find things to critique when reading a book (okay, that sounds kinda harsh. But we are book bloggers, after all.), and I couldn’t find ONE. SINGLE. THING. The writing style is amazing, the characters are realistic and fleshed out, and the concept was super unique and intriguing. I didn’t get bored at any point during this novel.
But, I rated it 4 stars. Which isn’t a bad rating, mind you. It’s a great rating! But since all I’ve done in this review so far is gushed about my feelings, why isn’t it a 5-star read? Why doesn’t it instantly go to my “favorites” shelf?
I honestly don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out for the entire time I’ve been writing this review (which is probably like 20 minutes), but nothing that really makes sense has occurred to me. The closest thing I can come up with that may or may not make sense in this situation is this: Maybe I just didn’t read it at the right time. Maybe I should have listened to the reviews and read it when I needed a great comfort read, or when I was making a big decision in my life. Or, as Ms. Taylor Jenkins Reid would put it, “maybe in another life.”
See what I did there?
I find myself way too amusing for my own good.
Anyway, I decided to create a list on all the things I absolutely LOVED in this book in attempt to get you to read it. That’s what positive reviews are for after all, right?!
Things I Loved
- The concept is so interesting! Seriously, please read the synopsis because I’m really not in the mood to explain it all. Maybe In Another Life was such a thought-provoking, eye-opening, intriguing read that kept me deeply interested the whole way through.
- The writing style is so gorgeous! I was literally scrambling for my quote notebook throughout the entire novel. One of the quotes that particularly stuck out to me was: “Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.” And, “When you sit there and wish things had happened differently, you can’t just wish away the bad stuff. You have to think about all the good stuff you might lose, too. Better just to stay in the now and focus on what you can do better in the future.”
- It dealt with themes like soul mates and fate and love and acceptance and a lot of other beautiful, wonderful things. The only other book I’ve read that deals with these themes is Volition by Lily Paradis, which I absolutely loved as well.
- It’s the perfect comfort read. In the future whenever I fell stressed out or depressed or alone or really any negative feeling at all, I imagine I’ll want to take this book out for a reread. It’s an adorable love story, a coming-of-age novel, and an eye-opening, uplifting novel that really puts a smile on your face all in one.
- As well as being a comfort read, it’s also actually really deep. I mean, it would kind of have to be a deep novel if it talks about soul mates and destiny and stuff like that, but the synopsis makes it sound like a light, fluffy contemporary. Which it really isn’t. While I didn’t get too emotional while reading this, I can imagine people who have gone through similar circumstances as the main character would. It really makes you think about how the smallest decisions make the biggest impacts and the meaning of life and other fun stuff like that. It’s deep stuff, guys.
- Absolutely amazing friendships! Hannah and Gabby are now one of my favorite duos of ever. While I didn’t necessarily love each of them individually, I adored the relationship they shared. They stuck with each other literally through the worst possible circumstances you can imagine, and I loved how they were always putting each other over their husbands/boyfriends. Seriously, I want a best friend like that!
- The characters were so darn relatable! Especially Hannah. I mean, while I’m not quite stressing out about having no home and no job and no steady relationship, I can see myself stressing about those things in the future. Dang it, me and my anxiety! And also, cinnamon rolls. While for me it is pretty much every food of ever and not just cinnamon rolls, I do see where Hannah is coming from.
- It’s really, really inspiring. Like right now, after just finishing it, I basically feel like: “Yay! Maybe I’ll never get married! Maybe I’ll just move around the world with a dog named Charlemagne and my best friend and open a cinnamon roll factory and get obese from just eating cinnamon rolls!” Dreams do come true, guys. Talk about inspiring.
I realize this review was probably way too much rambling and not nearly enough reviewing, but my list should give you a general idea on why you ABSOLUTELY NEED TO DROP EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND SPRINT TO THE NEAREST BOOKSTORE AND SPEND $20 ON A SNINY HARDCOVER COPY OF THIS BOOK. Okay? Okay.