I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
Genres: Contemporary, Parallel Life, Young Adult
Published by Macmillan on August 8th 2017
Also by this author: The Chaos of Standing Still
Format: ARC (464 pages) • Source: Borrowed
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Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought.
I adore parallel life books. Anything involving that premise goes on my TBR immediately. The concepts of fate and destiny vs. free will have always been super interesting to me. I’ve enjoyed the synopses of Brody’s books but hadn’t managed to pick one up until this one. I think I’ll definitely try her other sometime soon!
Summary & Storytelling
The story starts with a fairly long glimpse into Kennedy’s real life where she chose the public high school. She’s the school newspaper editor and helped revive it from being shut down. Soonafter the story starts, she discovers her best friend and her boyfriend kissing at his house. She rushes to the Windsor Academy, where she’s been secretly pining over the fact that she got in and didn’t go, and promptly hits her head. She wakes up from this concussion and is in the parallel universe where she said yes to Windsor Academy and started there instead. There’s no newspaper, she’s in Robotics Club, and plans to major in Economics in college. Basically, her life is super different.
I loved that her younger brother, Frankie, is incredibly smart for his age and interested in physics. She was able to talk with him about what happens and he came up with theories about the parallel universes out there. Usually books like this involve the main character having no one to talk with about what’s going on with them. It was annoying because she knew what happened when she moved into the different life. Things weren’t going to be the same. More on that later…
There was a bit of romance in this one with one character that sort of popped up in both timelines. I don’t want to spoil things, but it was really well-done. I wasn’t a big fan of the romance overall though? I think the book needed one just because it would have otherwise not been as interesting, maybe, but I wasn’t a fan of the love interest. You learn later in the story why he’s an asshole to her (yep, it’s my usual hate-to-love favorite trope), but I just didn’t feel anything for him because of it.
For such a smart character, Kennedy didn’t have a lot of common sense. I seriously couldn’t stop picturing the scene in Friends where Chandler yells at Joey to “get there faster” because it’s taking him way too long to pick up on what’s happening. The same thing happens here. Kennedy is constantly running things through her head and taking five times longer to get to a reasonable conclusion about it.
For example, her dad had the ability to work as a photographer while caring for his kids; the mom worked full time at a law firm. He didn’t have to work because both of his kids went to public school. In the new life, her dad had to take this fancy advertising photography job. She didn’t understand why he didn’t take the position. Uh, maybe because you just said tuition to the fancy private school is $50,000? Why else would your dad have to work full time and travel? Another example: she highhandedly saved the school newspaper from going under. Of course, in this parallel universe where she never went to the high school, OBVIOUSLY the newspaper isn’t going to exist. I just wanted to shake her.
I went back and forth on how much I liked this book. I think the first half of it was really solid for me, with a few irritating moments. I was increasingly annoyed with Kennedy after that point, but some of the twists toward the end made things more interesting. As I mentioned in the Characters section, Kennedy seemed to majorly lack some common sense even though she was clearly book-smart. It took her way too long to understand that her making that different choice completely impacted everything else around her that I mentioned above. I try not to be too hard on teen characters because I know these books aren’t for ME, but I don’t think this had to do with her being young(er than me).
I enjoyed a lot of the twists toward the end. The story was really complex when you look at how her decision tricked down to everyone – not just her or people in her family. There were other students at both schools whose lives changed so much with or without her there. That’s what I love about these books. All decisions of all sizes can impact not just you, but everyone around you. I’m not sure how I feel about how things left off with some of the people in her life, but I guess it’s her choice to make.
I enjoyed the story overall for sure. Minus Kennedy’s annoying qualities, it was definitely a good book to add to the parallel life shelf! Surprises toward the end and the epilogue definitely made the story even better for me. I love thinking about fate vs. choice and this book spurred a lot of that in my head, as usual.
Thoughts in a Gif