Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Will we or won't we? and If I let him take me home, will it mean more to me than it means to him?

I look at Ethan and then I look at Gabby.

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.

My fate will find me.

So I decide to ... 

This novel was fantastic. I shouldn't be surprised, because I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid's other two novels too, and I also love books that follow two parallel storylines (sort of like a "choose your own adventure") ... but I'm still thinking about this novel, a few days later now.

Official synopsis:
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 Liferaises 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 don't want to spoil the endings (yes, two endings) of this book but I will say - wow. I had an idea in my head that they would converge somehow, yet they do not, although some things are similar in both parts.

I'll also say that this was very similar to the movie Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow, in that in one scenario, she's on time for her train, and in another, she is not; what she found when she got home influences how the rest of her life turned out, versus when she misses the train, she never found that certain thing (trying to avoid spoilers about the movie). 

In this instance, our protaganist, Hannah, is back in her hometown of L.A. and out dancing with some friends. Her best friend, Gabby, wants her to leave with her and Gabby's husband to go look at a fun light exhibit near a museum. Her high school boyfriend and old love, Ethan, wants her to stay there and keep dancing with him. This is where the book then separates, and Hannah's life becomes drastically different; in the first scenario, she ends up experiencing a hit and run, and has to go to the hospital, whereas in the second scenario, she and Ethan spend three blissful days together, and the story goes on from there.

This book definitely made me think about life and the choices we make. People talk a lot about "soulmates" but really, you may meet your significant other though a random series of events, or perhaps the choices you make; you may have more than one "soulmate" in the world and note ven know it. The endings really floored me (as I mentioned earlier) because, even though Hannah is happy in both, (SEMI-SPOILER) the man she ends up with is different in each; and you can't help but wonder, what if  ... although in this case, both what if's have been played out for us.

5 stars out of 5.
(Click here to purchase this book)

*Disclosure: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


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