Cue the ugly tears everyone because I read yet another one of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s heart wrenching novels.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Genre: contemporary romance
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.
I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.-Taylor Jenkins Reid, Maybe in Another Life
Read that quote, and then read it again and tell me it doesn’t tug on your heartstrings. Even though this isn’t my favorite TJR book, it is still worth reading! This is the story about what happens when you are feeling lost in your 30s and the decisions that you make that ultimately define the outcome of your narrative. In this book, we follow the outcomes of Hannah’s decision of whether to go home with Ethan or Gabby in two different timelines.
As always, TJR did such a great job of making the readers connect with the characters. I loved meeting and learning about Hannah, her aspirations, love for cinnamon buns, the honest pain of not knowing what to do with her life, and her strained relationship with her long-distant parents. TJR’s effortless prose made Hannah felt like a friend and someone you would complain to about life problems. As we learn more throughout the story, Hannah wants to turn a new leaf but is unsure how to do so.
The writing structure is very unique where the story follows two different timelines and both narratives are told simultaneously. Even though I was a little confused initially, I ended up really enjoying this structure and how it drove the plot. For example, in two different instances (that I won’t elaborate on because of spoilers), the readers were provided with extra insight into the situation because we knew about developments that the characters in one timeline might not have encountered yet.
My favorite part of this book is Hannah’s friendship with Gabby. These two grew up together and are always there for each other during times of trial. Even though Hannah has been away in recent years, they reconnected very easily when Hannah moved back to Los Angeles. And to some extent, *minor spoiler* I was almost more interested in Gabby’s love story than Hannah’s *end of minor spoiler*. I think the author does a really good job of playing around with the idea of destiny and whether or not we are destined to meet “the one” or whether we make our own choices that lead us to who we’re supposed to end up with. In Hannah’s story, it seems like TJR is implying that we make our own choices and decisions, but Gabby’s side story follows a predestined route.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I breezed through it. It’s definitely not my favorite by the author, but it follows a very interesting and original concept. And as always, TJR provides some exceptional writing and beautiful quotes along the way. I would definitely recommend this to romance readers, especially those that enjoy the drama and the angst.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!