July 8, 2015

Maybe in Another Life Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book with you!

Maybe in Another Life
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Women's Fiction/Chick Lit
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Washington Square Press


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, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly 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 surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: 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.

Maybe in Another Life is a thought-provoking novel that blends the concepts of parallel universes and soul mates with contemporary women's fiction and romance. The story follows our main character, Hannah, as her life takes an unexpected turn after a night out with her best friend Gabby. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she's ready to leave, while her high school boyfriend - Ethan - that they coincidentally ran into at the bar, quickly offers her a ride home later if she'd like to stay a bit longer. At that moment, Hannah must make the decision between leaving with her best friend or staying for a bit and then leaving with Ethan. She's doesn't know what will happen in either scenario - and this is where the book splits into two separate worlds. One in which Hannah left the bar with Gabby and the other where she stayed and later left with Ethan. In each of these lives, Hannah lives the the decision she made that night and all of the consequences that come along with it. Before long, these two seemingly parallel lives go in two very different directions - but which one would have been the right choice for her in the end?

Although this seems like a fun and easy book, which it certainly is, there are much deeper topics discussed throughout the story that will make the reader stop and think for awhile. Concepts such as fate, soul mates, pre-determination, and parallel universes are talked about continuously through the novel - even if it's underneath the surface of the main storyline. The author did a fantastic job of combining the two - the blend of women's fiction/chick lit and the serious subject matter of some very deep ideas - and she did it so seamlessly and gracefully that the reader doesn't really understand what they're reading. It's not until after finishing the story that the reader is able to step back and realize all the levels the book had to offer while under the guise of a contemporary women's fiction novel. 

Everything about this book was very well done. The characters were all well rounded and had distinct qualities and personalities. Of course, Hannah gets the most attention to detail since she's the main character, and by the end of the story I felt like I had been alongside Hannah during everything that happened (in both lives). The story is told in the first person point of view - that of Hannah's perspective. I'm a firm believer that point of view plays a large role in a book, and has the ability to make it a true experience for the reader if done in the right way. My favorite writing style is the first person POV, by far. I feel like a broken record when I say that this style allows the reader to truly know and understand the main character or narrator. We're privy to things that wouldn't be open to us as readers in any other POV. In this case, we get to see into Hannah's inner thoughts along with her emotions, fears, dreams, hopes, and so much more. The fact that the story splits into two alternative lives for Hannah makes this writing style all the more effective at pulling the reader into the story and empathizing with Hannah. I loved being able to see everything that happens in both parallel lives through Hannah's eyes along with how she reacts to it all. In my opinion, this choice of writing style made all the difference in this novel, and gave the story a depth that couldn't have happened any other way.

The plot was definitely interesting and had me stopping to think about certain ideas while I was reading. I didn't expect the book to have such deep undercurrents woven into the story line - but it was a very pleasant surprise for me as a reader and made me enjoy the novel even more. The way the story is written, along with the varying concepts and plot lines, makes it appeal to fans of several different genres. It's a perfect light summer read for those readers who enjoy chick lit and women's fiction. It's also great for fans of contemporary romance. The deeper aspects that speak of fate and parallel lives definitely caught my attention, and I think fans of both science fiction and fantasy will enjoy reading about them as well. I definitely recommend this book for those looking for an interesting and fun chick lit novel as well as readers who are looking for a bit more underneath the fluff to make them think for a bit.

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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