Sunday, July 12, 2015

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Blog Tour Review


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.

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About the Author:

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

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Review by Michelle:

Fate or freewill: a question for the ages. One with no definitive answer and hundreds of different theories. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fascinating and entertaining look at how one simple choice can affect your entire future. So very different from anything I have read before, it is full of food for thought and imparts a strong, sweet, memorable message. Maybe in Another Life is a smart and fun, thought-provoking and completely unpredictable ride that you will want to devour in one sitting.

Like reading two completely different stories in one book, we follow Hannah Martin as she returns to her home town and makes one seemingly innocuous choice that has the ability to change the trajectory of her future. Two totally different sets of circumstances can occur based on this decision and both are explored from that point forward. Although one situation seems preferable in the beginning, the farther along and further ensconced in each different path, it becomes hard to tell for sure which scenario is preferable. It is almost like reading a book that follows two close friends with many of the same supporting characters, but with very different experiences, outlooks, and directions in life.

Not only do we follow the progression of Hannah's life along each adjacent course, but we also explore the shoulda, woulda, couldas. If you could go back and change once decision, would you? If you could do something differently in your past, how would it change life as you know it today? Can you regret and lament over the bad choices without affecting any of the good that has somehow came from those unfortunate decisions?

I loved experiencing both sides of the consequences of one single choice, but I was hanging by a thread, dying to find out which scenario actually transpired. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the answer to this question and I think you will be too. A conclusion that never once occurred to me, it brings about a great deal of self reflection considering both personal beliefs and the possible course or courses of your own life.

Not just an interesting and exciting premise, this book doles out its fair share of feels as well. Neither course was perfect, each had its own set of heartbreaking trials and tribulations. Both sets of circumstances were realistic, with true to life ups and downs that alternately brought tears to my eyes or a grin to my face. Many times I feel like books are either one or the other, light and fun, or heavy and tear-jerking. Both the grief and the joy in this story was tangible, a great mix of dismay and sorrow and humor and gratification.

I am a big believer in fate, everything happens for a reason, and things will turn out how they are meant to be. The question then becomes, how do our choices influence what we are destined for? A premise that Maybe in Another Life explores in a new, intelligent, unique, and intriguing way. The first Taylor Jenkins Reid book that I have read thus far, it will in no way be the last.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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