Maybe in Another Life
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
published onJuly 7th 2015 by Washington Square Press
adult | contemporary | romance
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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.
*gasp* Sara’s giving a
book that isn’t fantasy contemporary novel 5 stars? I don’t believe it! *gasp*
Well, I don’t either.
Somehow it happened and I’m glad it did because you, my friend, are looking at the newest addition to my “Absolute Favorites” shelf. Which is a really big deal, I’ll have you know.
This beauty here is my favorite read by far this year and being the
contemporary hater fantasy-guru that I am, I’m as shocked as you are. Let’s first talk about everything that went right:
- Hannah Martin is a relatable character. She may be a 29 year old adult who can’t seem to be able to settle down (compelling her to continuously move), keep a job (or a boyfriend), pick a truly genuine guy to date, and feel at home anywhere she goes, but her messed up life can relate to many. Who isn’t scared of life-changing decisions? Who doesn’t want to relive infantile moments in their past in order to ignore what is not so infantile anymore? Hannah Martin was stupid (like… really stupid… Exhibit A: she slept with a married man while knowing he was married), but was altogether refreshingly human. She made so many mistakes (Exhibit B: decided not to tell the man she loves some really vital information and instead ate dinner with him as if nothing is wrong and the world is all rainbows and butterflies) and Maybe in Another Life is her journey to realizing where home and love is.
- The friendships. Oh, gosh. Hannah’s best friend, Gabby, is a strong, orderly, and educated black woman who welcomes Hannah into her home until she figures things out. Gabby and Hannah were so vastly different but their friendship was admirable. They overpassed every situation and circumstance together and were more sisters than friends. Yes to indestructible friendship!
- The author’s purpose. Maybe in Another Life features two possible outcomes that stem from a seemingly insignificant decision. Hannah’s possible responses to such a small decision proved to have a tremendous impact on Hannah’s life as a whole. We readers get to see how her life turned out differently because of that one decision and I’m not going to lie, it’s a highly emotion-filled journey. My question while reading, however, was why the author used this strategy (aside from showing that one decision can affect the rest of your life)? How do these two different paths in her life tie in with the story?
- I finally got my answer near the end. I thought I knew what would happen, I thought I had it all figured out, until I read the ending and the author made me tear up. You read right; I actually teared up (and I’m a difficult person to emotionally move). The ending, although I understand why some would argue that it felt rushed, was, to me, perfect. It was so heartwarming to see Hannah grow into this strong-minded woman with goals and ambitions. I won’t spoil it for you, even though other people already have, but the ending was truly worth reading the book for. It is what officially gave this book VIP access into my Absolute Favorite‘s shelf.
Now, on to everything that went wrong:
Maybe it’s that my rating and review is subjective rather than objective, but this book was, to me, a worthwhile read. I genuinely hope you find it worthwhile as well.
I’m Sara, a Colombian teenager with a never-ending enjoyment for reading. I’m a Netflix and Disney enthusiast and my monumental obsession is coffee.