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Published July 7, 2015: Washington Square Press
This book was received in part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge. This did not affect the 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.
Do you believe in infinite possibilities? Do you believe in soul mates? Do you believe in fate? Hannah does! And so do I. MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid follows Hannah as she lives out two different lives, divided by a spit second decision made at the stroke of midnight. In each reality she believes she’s found the person she is meant to be, the life she is meant to lead, and the man she is supposed to lead her life with. Reid has you rooting for a reality: crying, laughing, cursing, swooning. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So much lovely writing. So. Much. Stunning. Writing.
The reason I like this book (and to honest, didn’t have expectations for it) was the same POV for different perspectives. What if I went home with him and had the best hotdog in my life? What if I got hit by a car and met my other soul mate? In the novel Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher, there’s this quote about people having a million soul mates and having the chance to run into them and all the what ifs. MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE, I believe, really explores that concept. And it was dynamic and fireworks and slow love and fast love. Two loves—two utterly different loves spun out of a split decision.
And how in the world did the author- in such a short amount of time actually being commenced in the book- make me feel like I know them all so incredibly well? My hat is off to you, ma’am. Seriously.
The two great loves are Ethan and Henry. The ex-love from high school and the nurse who helped her after her accident. Readers can’t help but to root for them both, their separate stories and the outcomes they hope to elicit from the romance. Want to know the best part of this book though. And (SURPRISE!) it’s not the love. Although it really is fantastic. It’s the self-discovery. The ultra-femin-ity where the female realizes she needs no one but herself, some good friends and the sun above her to be happy. Goodness I love gender equality. Especially in books.
Reid hit the nail on this head with this novel. Love and loss. Forgiving and forgetting. Equality and limits. Wanting and needing. Breathing and learning what it means to actually live and have a gorgeous life. Hurt and healing.
This book screams summer. Nothing is super heavy, but there are major issues to solve. But the real reason? MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE screams new hope and renewal. To me that’s what summer is, even more than spring. It’s about going back over your wounds and making yourself better (maybe it’s softer and kinder, or gaining the ability to be yourself) for the new year. Readers will fall in love with the stories in this book just as much as a I have.