I have made no secret that I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, and I think because I love them so much, I’ve taken them slow. I haven’t devoured her backlist because I don’t want it to run out too quickly. So I’ve had Maybe In Another Life on my shelf for probably about a year. But I finally hit a moment where it felt like the right time to read it. I’m so glad I did!
I love that Reid tends to make her books about a particular question. The question explored in Maybe In Another Life: Can we change our fate by making the smallest decision? Like if we turn left on the street instead of right, does our entire life change? Or are we destined to end up how we end up? This also plays with the concept of soulmates, which she’s explored in other books as well. Do we only have one?
So the premise of this story is that the main character, Hannah, goes to her a bar with her friend. In one scenario, she says yes to going home with her ex-boyfriend from high school. In the other scenario, she turns him down. What follows is a story told in two separate timelines. One follows the first version of Hannah and what happens if she says yes. The other story is if Hannah says no.
This story is heartbreaking at times, but I promise, y’all, this isn’t a sad book. That’s what I love about Reid’s books. She makes you worry about how things might turn out, but then she always gives a satisfying ending (even if it’s not the ending you guessed.) I found the book very life-affirming. It had great characters, romance, and made me think. I am very stingy with rating things 5 stars in my reading journal. This is only the 4th novel I’ve read this year out of almost 60 that got that rating from me. Highly recommended!
About the book:
From the acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 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.