Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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.

Ever find yourself faced with 2 choices and don't know which one to make? What if everything that's possible actually happens? What if you live the outcome of both choices?

This is what happened to Hannah. After graduating college Hannah left LA hoping to find the life that was meant for her, but after several years, multiple moves and different cities, Hannah now 29 isn't any closer to finding this life she was sure was out there. It is at that point that she decies it may be time to go home to LA. 

"It's very easy to rationalize what you're doing when you don't know the faces and the names of the people you might hurt. It's very easy to choose yourself over someone else when it's an abstract" 

Hannah made some poor decisions while she was in NYC, selfish choices that would have consequences later on. I feel for Hannah though because while sure she made some questionable choices they were also learning opportunities that helped her grow as a person. 
Once she is back in LA she moves in with her best friend while she tries to figure out what her next step will be. Life presents her with more than one choice though.
Her first night out she reconnected with Ethan, her ex-boyfriend, and she can either choose to go home with him or take it slow and go back home with Gaby.
It's here where Hannah will live both choices, and it's incredible to see how one small choice, as trivial as where would she sleep that night, turns out to yield such different outcomes. 

I love this story first because it's like nothing I've ever read before, it was unique and intriguing. I had no idea how things would turn out in the end, what decision would she end up going for.
The stories happen parallel, like two separate universes and at first I thought I would have problems keeping up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Taylor wrote in each chapter where you are seamlessly transported from one reality to the other without missing a beat.
I read one chapter and thought, this one! This is the life she should choose, and then I would read the next chapter and be life no, this one! Definitely the better choice. 
In the end, could she pick both? What if we had several universes happening all at once, where a different decision gets to unfold.
I think I'd probably want to be married to Harry Styles if there was an alternate universe out there for me! lol 

Not only was this book a fun concept, it also touched on the importance of family and friendship. Hannah missed her family and both her and her parents realized that sometimes people need to hear that they are loved, missed and needed. Gaby was Hannah's rock and vice versa, proof that life sometimes assigns you siblings and then there is other times where you chose them. Gaby is not only Hannah's best friend but her sister in all the ways that count, and if it wasn't for her strength and encouragement in both realities, Hannah would have been pretty lost. 

A romantic novel with a taste of impossible circumstances and characters you can easily relate to, kept me turning page after page eager to find out what life would end up looking for both Hannah and Gaby.



Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a "must read" by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, US Weekly, Cosmo, and more.

In addition to her novels, Taylor's essays have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesThe Huffington Post, xoJane, and a number of other blogs.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.



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