Book Review: Maybe in Another Life – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Title: Maybe in Another Life (2015)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary
Extent: 342 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

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?

Review

Taylor Jenkins Reid is far from being my favourite author, but I’ve always appreciated what her books speak to. Her stories are essentially, I think, coming-of-age stories: her protagonists always undergo some huge life change that forces them to grow and learn. In Maybe in Another Life, we see one protagonist do exactly that… but in separate timelines.

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Book Review: The First Third – Will Kostakis

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Title: The First Third (2013)
Author: Will Kostakis
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 248 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together. No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

Review

The First Third is my first novel from Will Kostakis, and boy, was it pretty damn good. This is the story of Billy Tsiolkas, the middle son in a Greek family, and his quest in completing the three items on his grandmother’s bucket list: find his single mother a husband, find his older brother a girlfriend, and ‘fix’ his sullen, uncommunicative younger brother. With the aid of his best friend and a girl he meets at the hospital, Billy seeks to accomplish what his grandmother can’t while he navigates through various life problems.

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ARC/Book Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life (2017)
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 464 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Review

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is my second book from Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the first being the very popular Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which, incidentally, I also wasn’t in love with but actually liked better. This book is the story of Salvador, a sweet, sensitive boy who lives with his gay father, as he goes through a lot of life-altering changes.

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Book Review: Cloudwish – Fionawood

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Title: Cloudwish (2015)
Author: Fiona Wood
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 228 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.

Wishes were not a thing. They were not.

Correction. Wishes were a thing. Wishes that came true were sometimes a thing.

Wishes that came true because of magic were not a thing! Were they?

Review

I’ve actually had Cloudwish on my TBR for about a year and forgot about it until I accidentally happened upon it on one of my weekend library runs. I took it home without much consideration, thinking that I’d just drop it if it didn’t jive with me… but then I started the book and fell into the story so hard, I just found myself loving it. The blurb and cover might package the book as a cute, sweet love story, but it is so, so much more (and better!) than that.

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Book Review: After I Do – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Title: After I Do (2014)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit
Extent: 353 pages
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage.

She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

Review

Taylor Jenkins Reid seems to have a penchant for taking my worst nightmares and turning them into brilliant, thought-provoking stories. While I didn’t love Forever, Interrupted or One True Loves for various reasons, After I Do finally hit (most of) the right notes with me, both in premise and execution. 🙆

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