Thursday, July 2, 2015

Which Fork in the Road Do You Take

"I believe I'm destine for something.
We are all destined for something.
And I believe that the universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it,
I believe it keeps us on the right path."
--Taylor Jenkins Reid, Maybe in Another Life


Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Previous Books By This Author: Forever, Interrupted & After I Do 
Goodreads Description

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.
The Theme
I won't lie to you, I auto-requested this book because, duh, Taylor Jenkins Reid but I was kinda scared to read it. I am a huge believer in fate, destiny, and a higher power working us all towards where we are meant to be. I believe everything happens for a reason and because of that, if this book ended in two different stratospheres of happiness for the main character it would have broken my heart. While I'm not going to spoil anything, I will tell you that trust in the TJR. She does not disappoint. And what is great is that the characters have similar beliefs to what I do--of course, they don't know there are alternate versions of themselves running around not farther than a few pages away. I loved what Reid does with this idea and plot and I was fully invested in knowing how each decision and story arc was going to turn out. What started off as nervous energy for me upon beginning, turned into full-fledged, heart-felt love for Hannah and Gabby and their lives. The idea that Reid explores intertwines free will, fate, destiny, and the reason for everything happening all together. I really loved this. It is hard to do without spoilers but I loved the quiet moments of contemplation of her characters when they discuss their belief that they're all led to where they are supposed to go. It was just brilliant.

Hannah
We meet Hannah as she is flying from NYC back to LA to live. She's originally from LA and after college has moved around trying to find 'home.' Needless to say, I connected with her struggle right off the bat. I loved her nomad ways and her desire to figure out where she belonged and where she was most happy. In LA, we meet her best friend Gabby who she will live with for the time being along with Gabby's husband. I. Loved. Gabby. She is a fantastic friend as is Hannah to Gabby. Their dynamic and friendship is beautiful and was a highlight of the book for me. Positive female friendships is a win every time. I love them both so hard and how they are there for one another.

Anyways, back to Hannah. She is trying to get her life together and depending on which life we are reading, she is doing the best she can. Both lives highlight her strength, her emotional journey in a very real and organic way, and her heart. Her heart is a big component in both lives and how she deals with each situation is just fantastic. Hannah is amazing, I was rooting for her regardless of which life she was living.

The Writing
As I've said in previous reviews, Reid has this quality to her writing that mixes intricacies and simplicity in the most eloquent way. Her writing reads so easily and you can just breeze through it but there is not a lack of depth. As I said above, there are complex themes, deeply complex characters, and thoughtful reflections about life and it's every-infinite choices. It's like having coffee with a friend, effortless but never lacking in emotion.
Backstage Pass
If you love great writing, phenomenal friendships, and thought-provoking themes...this book's for you.

3 comments:

  1. I HATE THE COMMENT GODS. Long story short, I want to read this. And it sounds like the broadway show If/Then which I loved! (And you should try to see if you ever get a chance to!)

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  2. I really liked Maybe in Another Life! I'm fascinated by the way she wrote about fate and free will (and I have a post coming up with my own thoughts on this); I think she executed Hannah's alternate storylines really well. So glad you loved this one, and it was great discussing it with you!

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  3. Hannah loves Taylor Jenkins Reid and now that you're in love with her work too, I feel as though I need to read it ASAP. This one sounds fantastic and I love romances that center around people who knew each other when they were younger. This is a wonderful review!

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