Book Review: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins ReidMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 7th 2015
Rating: five-stars
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 352
Find on Goodreads
Synopsis:

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.

You guys! Taylor Jenkins Reid has DONE IT AGAIN. I read After I Do a while ago and it was such a fascinating look at a marriage, so refreshing, so open and honest, so brilliant, and I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to read Maybe In Another Life because it’s SO GOOD. I will say this right now: Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the absolute finest women’s fiction writer out there. She’s insanely good at writing books you just click with immediately and devour as quick as you can. Long may she continue writing her books because I will buy them forever.

Maybe In Another Life does something no other book I’ve ever read has done: it has two concurrent storylines. What happens to Hannah if a) she heads home with her best friend Gabby, or b) she stays out for the night with her childhood sweetheart Ethan, after returning to L.A. But they play out FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK. Yes, the book does not converge into one. The storylines play out, in absolute full, be that the right decision or not, it really depends whether you’re #TeamHenry or #TeamEthan I was #TeamEthan until #TeamHenry came along, opened my eyes and I fell in love. What can I say, the heart wants what the heart wants, and while Ethan was sweet enough, Henry just lit up the whole book, in this organic way, like where had he been all my life? That’s how I saw it anyway.

The way the two storylines play out is fantastic, because you get to see how Hannah’s life would have gone either way, and they both had their good points and bad points. For example, the Ethan storyline has Charlamagne. And when a storyline adds a dog, I’m a goner. But the Gabby storyline resonated much more, I thought. Both had their merits though and I am absolutely intrigued as to how Taylor put this together – did she write both storylines concurrently? Did she write them separately and weave them together? WHY DOES SHE HAVE SO MUCH WRITING GENIUS?!??!?! It takes a lot of skill to pull off writing this kind of book and Taylor does it so effortlessly it’s like the words just magically appeared. (I’m sure that’s not true AT ALL, but the words just flow so easily.)

Maybe In Another Life was such an amazing book. The characters were absolutely exceptional. I loved Hannah and her friendship with Gabby was second-to-none and one of my absolute favourite parts of the book, in both storylines. And Henry! Ah, Henry. This was such an emotional, thought-provoking read, with such magical storytelling that I am absolutely envious of Taylor Jenkins Reid. She is a story-spinning wizard. I MUST read Forever, Interrupted soon. Go read this, women’s fiction fans. This is superior women’s fiction. You do not want to miss this, and you’ll thank me when you do read it.

five-stars
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