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Review: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★1/2
Amazon - Barnes & Noble

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. 

Maybe In Another Life was only my second book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but I'm already a huge fan of hers. I knew the instant I opened this book that it would be a thought-provoking and powerful story, one that would leave me in an emotional mess, but also leave me lots of thoughts. I was right.

Meet Hannah. After an affair with a married man ends in a mess, she decides to move back to her hometown in LA from NYC to temporarily live with her best friend, Gabby. Stability has never been part of her life, but she's finally ready to anchor herself in LA, find an apartment, a job and a car. I really connected with Hannah's character from the start. It was so easy for me to step into her shoes and understand her mindset because Taylor Jenkins Reid sketches her characters in such ways that you become intimately acquainted with them. To me, what made Hannah special, was how realistic she came across, with her flaws. In both of the parallel universes, I kept rooting for Hannah, even though her choices may not always have aligned with my own. She falls down, but Hannah was also incredibly strong and was never afraid to get up over and over again. Both of her journeys were emotional and powerful and I loved how invested I was in the outcomes of both of her universes.

“Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.”

Hannah had a great support system in the form of her best friend, Gabby, Gabby's parents, who practically raised her and her own family in London, though they weren't a huge part of her childhood. The friendship between Hannah and Gabby was endearing. I loved that it remained so solid through everything that these ladies had to face. While reading Maybe In Another Life, I couldn't help but feel pangs of jealousy at not having that kind of relationship with another human being myself. I want an own Gabby in my life, someone who will support me, not judge me and just be there for me whatever choice I make. Romances also abound both of Hannah's universes, but it's honestly better to know absolutely nothing about them or their outcomes because it makes the experience a 1000 times sweeter. All I have to say is, I love who Hannah ended up with. :)

Maybe In Another Life explored the impact of the choices we make. I absolutely loved the message that this book delivered when it came to that. Your decisions may not always seem right, but there is a reason for them happening. This was something I NEEDED to hear. I'm at that point in life where I feel like I'm making all the wrong choices because nothing seems to be leading to happiness. It's tough to not feel like a failure when nothing happens the way you expect it to. Maybe In Another Life, through Hannah's journey, teaches readers that everything happens for a reason - it might seem like a cheesy message, but it's such an important one that I think everyone needs to hear from time to time.

“That's what you do when you want something. You don't look for reasons why it won't work. You look for reasons why it will.”

I can go on and on about how beautiful Maybe In Another Life was forever but it's a book you need to personally experience to understand the depth, emotions and beauty it possesses. Not many books have managed to imprint themselves so strongly on my heart, but this is without a doubt one of those books.

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