Monday, June 15, 2015

Maybe in Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid (+ Giveaway)

Maybe in Another Life book cover
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss || e-galley
[I received this novel from the publisher. This in no way affects the contents of my review.]

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. 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. 


Have you ever had a moment where you looked back at the choices you’ve made in your life and wondered “what if…”? I know I have, and that is a large part of the reason Maybe in Another Life was enjoyable. There is surprising pleasure in imagining the possibility of a different life, had one made a different decision in a given moment. Taylor Jenkins Reid explores that in her latest novel by showing readers how Hannah’s life would have turned out – with both possibilities playing out.

Told from Hannah’s perspective in chapters that alternate between her two lives, Maybe in Another Life is fascinating. Readers will find it easy to slip in and out of both lives, particularly because Reid plants similarities between them (in encounters, elements, statements, experiences). There’s a decided comfort in knowing that, in spite of certain things being very different in each of Hannah’s lives, there are still a few parts of it that remain constant. I enjoyed ferreting out the similarities, and weighing out the differences; I went back and forth on which choice Hannah should have made, and which consequences were easier to swallow. Reid has created a novel that perfectly puts into words the constant fickleness of our own selves, particularly when our own minds are warring over which we more predominantly believe in – fate or choice.

I fell in love with Hannah from the start. She knows she’s made some bad choices, and she’s been floating around aimlessly for the last decade, but she’s determined to start turning her life around. Her sense of humor, courage and kindness really won me over, and I both related to her and wanted to be her friend immediately. Add to that an adorable rescued pup named Charlemagne, an extremely awesome best friend in Gabby (their banter was amazing!), Hannah’s family (both by blood and by choice), and some sweet romance, and Maybe in Another Life became even more special. Readers will find it easy to root for Hannah, and to cheer her on as she slowly but surely finds her way – in both lives.

Maybe in Another Life, as with previous Reid novels, tackles relationships from a fresh perspective – this time based on two lives that Hannah could be leading. I enjoyed being challenged to think about fate and choice, and the roles both these concepts play in our lives. And I think Reid executed this conflict that many of us have faced so, so well. Reid has filled Maybe in Another Life with her usual array of memorable characters, capturing moments of humor and clarity and romance in their lives. Though it’s certainly different from her previous novels, Maybe in Another Life is pretty damn good and worth the read.



Thanks to the lovely folk over at Simon & Schuster, I get to give away an ARC of Maybe in Another Life! This giveaway is open to US/CN residents. All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below!

28 comments:

  1. I've never read a book with parallel lives. I've seen summaries before, but I've never picked them up for some reason! This looks so interesting. It's crazy how just one decision can alter the course of your life forever! You review is great; can't wait to read this one!


    -Grace :)

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  2. I've hear great things about this book! Plus, I feel I can really relate to her story! :) I have my fingers crossed I'll win, but I think I'm going to read it no matter what!

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  3. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    I LOVE the concept and her writing!

    I have a US address but rafflecopter might show my location
    outside US because I’m doing a semester abroad

    thank you so very much :)

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  4. Edelmira BaldonadoJune 15, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    I'm definitely interested in reading this book. Thank you for this chance !

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  5. I am intrigued by the idea of parallel universes! I've heard great things about her books.

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  6. This book seems interesting! Great review, Alexa! :)

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  7. I adore her other books!

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  8. I love Sliding Doors kinds of stories and this one sounds great!

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  9. This book has a feel of Sliding Doors and I loved that movie

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  10. I've definitely had those "what if" feelings and wonder how things might have turned out differently.

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  11. I want to read it because I read her first book and loved it!

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  12. I want to read Taylor's new book because her writing is unique! In a good way of course!

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  13. I want to read this because I love books that explore this concept. I wonder what if all of the time.

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  14. The storyline is extremely interesting. I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I would had made different choices. I know life wouldn't be as good as I have it. I married my soul mate and we have three healthy and beautiful children.

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  15. It really is very interesting! I like how TJR tackles it in her story as well.

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  16. I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy of this one, Kim!

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  17. Absolutely agree. I've enjoyed all three of her novels!

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  18. Oh yes, that one is great! You definitely need to read this one and After I Do as well.

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  19. "What if" is such an interesting concept to think about! I love that TJR tackles it in this novel.

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  20. Oh yes, it definitely has that same vibe! I hope you get a chance to read this.

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  21. Glad you think so! I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  22. I'm glad to hear this! I loved her other books (After I Do is my favorite), and this one is another awesome title from her.

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  23. Thank you, Alena! I hope you get the chance to read it.

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  24. Her books are fabulous! I'd recommend starting with her debut and finishing with this - but they're all awesome.

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  25. You're welcome! I hope you read it, whether you won or not :)

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  26. I'm glad to hear it! I hope you've gotten the chance to read it, Amanda.

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  27. It's very interesting, particularly the way TJR writes it. I hope you get a chance to read this one!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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