Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Posted June 29, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 3 Comments

Maybe in Another Life

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life

Expected Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press

Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
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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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I haven’t read any of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous books, but I’m always a sucker for a good parallel reality story. Maybe in Another Life is a pretty interesting take on the genre, and I liked it. I understand why I’ve heard good things about Reid’s writing before. It’s not the most flashy or beautiful, but there’s something almost comforting about it, like a good friend handed me a cup of coffee and we sat on her sofa and she told me this story. It’s “relatable”, even though I’m not a fan of that word, and engaging.

Main character Hannah is kinda a mess. . . but she’s trying. Trying to get her life together, trying to figure things out, trying, trying. Sometimes her actions made me wince, but I couldn’t help but to love her anyway. I think there’s just something universal in Hannah’s struggle about trying to figure it all out. And I loved seeing the similarities between Hannah’s “two lives”! It was like having a small puzzle going on in the back of my head the entire time while reading.

I also really liked what Maybe in Another Life has to say about lives, choices, and fate. Hannah may believe in fate, but that doesn’t mean her two separate lives played out perfectly. Sometimes there were similarities, while other times they were quite different. As far as Hannah’s romantic entanglements went, I definitely appreciated one of her “lives” over the other(Henry the nurse all the way), but I understood where Hannah was coming from in each scenario.

The best part about this book, though, was Hannah’s friendship with Gabby. I LOVED seeing such a strong friendship between two women on the cusp on their thirties! So often I feel whenever I read anything other than YA, the friendships become. . . muted, almost. I guess that makes sense sometimes, since relationships of all can seem more intense as a teenager, but WOW did I love this friendship. It was so spot-on. I loved that there were hard conversations included when Gabby called Hannah out on something she had done, and moments of laughter and everything in between.

The one thing I wish had been more of a focus is Hannah’s feelings towards her career or lack thereof. It does get sometime in the book, but it’s majorly pushed to the side in favor of the romance and friendship. I don’t think it needed to be a major component, but I would have appreciated a little more inclusion. I also felt a lack of personal connection at times. It was relatable, so to speak, but it wasn’t a story that really grabbed my heart. I liked it, and I would recommend it, but I’m not sure I would read it again.

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Maybe in Another Life is an interesting story about chances, fate, and creating your life. There’s a lot to like here, from the personal writing style to the friendship, but I didn’t fall head over heels. 3/5 cupcakes.

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3 Stars

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