Wednesday, August 10, 2016

review: why can't i be you by allie larkin

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Fresh off being dumped and in an unfamiliar city for a work conference, Jenny Shaw is reeling when she hears someone call her name. Only the woman wasn't calling "Jenny" but "Jessie." Jenny it turns out is almost a dead ringer for a woman named Jessie Morgan who has been out of touch with her high school classmates since taking off from graduation 13 years ago. Jessie's high school reunion (don't worry, the 13-year reunion gets explained) is being held at the same hotel as Jenny's conference. As Jenny wants nothing more than to escape her life for a few days, she falls easily into the role of wild child Jessie who had a very different high school experience than the reserved Jenny. But Jenny can't be Jessie forever, especially once one of the high school pals reveals the reason Jessie disappeared.

Allie Larkin's second novel is a touching, yet funny look at the relationships that shape a person. The characters are all engaging and (with the exception of Karen) the kind of people one wants to be friends with making it easy to see why Jenny would pose as Jessie. The plot may seem far-fetched, but Larkin makes it believable (it's completely understandable that people desperate to reconnect would overlook a few discrepancies).
Review copy provided by the publisher, Plume.

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