Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on August 8th 2017
Pages: 464
Format:ARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
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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.

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When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it. In fact, I had always wanted to write something similar, though I guess Jessica Brody beat me to it. I digress. The thing about the premise of this book is that really, I am sure we all can look back on a moment in our lives, on a decision that we’ve made, and wonder what if? I have, many times. But this book in particular really hits home, because in eighth grade, I had to make basically the same decision that Kennedy made- sans boyfriend. Kennedy and I, however, made opposite choices. I chose to go to the private high school, to pursue my goals and dreams. And I know, unequivocally, that it was the right decision. But I have always wondered: what would my life have looked like if I’d chosen differently? 

And that is what this book explores. Only, Kennedy wants to know if her life would have been everything she’d dreamed she’d missed out on by choosing to stay at her high school. I have some mixed feelings about the book, but I will start with the good. Because who doesn’t like the good?

The Good:

  • Family plays a huge part in the story. Kennedy’s family isn’t just present, they’re a focal point. Her relationships with her parents changes depending on which life she is in, and it’s incredibly fascinating to watch her explore them. Her brother is also hands down one of my favorite characters in the book, a really great addition to the story.
  • Kennedy having to try to navigate her alternate life was a trip. She handled it… well, realistically. There were ups and downs, as you’d expect, and she had to figure out who she herself even was in this new life. With different peers and interests, it wasn’t always easy for her, and I appreciated that struggle.
  • Character growth was a very good thing. Kennedy didn’t start out very likable to me- and when she landed in her alternate life, she was even less so. But she did grow as a character, which is all I’ll say about that, but it’s positive.

The Not As Good: 

  • This book is long. Longer than the usual contemporary, anyway. And I felt it. It wasn’t super draggy or anything, but felt longer than it needed to be.
  • It was rather predictable. I guessed a lot of the bigger plot points very early on in the book, which made the build up to reveals much less intense and exciting, and probably contributed to why the book felt a bit long.
  • As I said in the “good” section, I didn’t love Kennedy for a lot of the book. While I understood some of her actions, and could have even seen my high school self having some of the feelings she had, she wasn’t all that sympathetic in the beginning. Flaws are totally fine with me, important even, but I need to feel some sort of empathy for the character, and for a chunk of the book, I didn’t.

Bottom Line: I loved the premise of the story, and I enjoyed reading about Kennedy’s experience, but the execution fell slightly short for me.

If you could live through an alternate decision to see the outcome, would you? Can you think of a life event/decision you’d want to see the redo of?

(Mine, incidentally, would be my choice in college. It was a stupid choice, tbh, and I wish I could know “what if?”)

Posted August 4, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 18 Comments


18 responses to “Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

  1. Oh my, at my age there are TONS of decisions I would love to take back, but I try to think about it and just move forward. I actually enjoy these “alternate” type stories. There was a great program I watched, Being Erica, which let her have do-overs. When you said this was long, I checked the page count, and at 464 it is a little longer than the average contemporary, but the thing is that you noticed. Never a good sign. Great review!

  2. I love the premise, and I love the idea of how her relationship with her famiy is different depending on which life she’s in. And having to adjust to the new life would be a trip, wouldn’t it? Fascinating and scary at the same time! I like it when a book really hits home too, when it’s similar to a life choice we’ve made.

    I’m not sure I ever get tired of “what if” scenarios? I always seem to enjoy ’em! It’s a fascinating idea, getting a second chance. What if it’s worse lol?

  3. Lovely review! I really love the “what if” kind of stories, exploring different choices and how these choices affect you. This is something I would definitely love to know about my own life at times ahah. Too bad you had a bit of a hard time with the character here, but I get it – sometimes when I can’t empathize with the main character, the story kind of takes a hit :/ Thank you for the lovely review 🙂

  4. Ooh, this does sound interesting! I don’t usually go for alternate-reality books though because they mess with my head.😂 I have yet to read a Jessica Brody book too! One day I’ll…fix…that. *glares at TBR*

    I haven’t actually personally been in control of things to make a big decision. 😭 Which seems pretty pathetic tbh, but I’ve literally not had the opportunity to do/not do something that’d change my life HUGELY. Although I regret a ton of decisions made for me…. 😒😒(Particularly all the moving my parents do arughu ughguhg.) And MAYBE I wish I hadn’t held so many grudges when I was a smol bean (aka, like, 2 days ago…hahaha jUST KIDDING. LONGER THAN THAT) because heck, my sister and I spent a lot of our childhood with grudges. 😂 But then, that’s also probably just growing up. WHY AM I RAMBLING SO MUCH. IDK SHANNON. APPARENTLY I HAVEN’T READ YOUR BLOG FOR A WHILE AND MISSED YOU. *sends a cupcake crumb*

  5. I love these types of stories. I read one last year called Two Summers, and it had a similar feel, except it partly took place in Paris. It was really cute. I always think about the what ifs. Like, what if I didn’t waste my time in university studying something I didn’t enjoy. But then again, I probably wouldn’t have met my husband. It would be interesting to see what could have happened, just as long as I can just take a peak and not switch to that alternative. 😛 At the same time, maybe it’s better not to know. Everything happens for a reason, right?! 😀

  6. I love the premise of this book, and I really like the cover! It sucks that the execution didn’t quite live up to the concept for you, but I’m glad there was some things you liked.
    I’m now really curious to read this book myself! I’m definitely someone who obsesses a lot over ‘what would have happened if I’d done this instead’, so I always love reading stories that explore that 🙂

  7. Cool story! If I had the choice to come back to my normal life after, I definitely would love to see the “what if”. One thing I’ve wondered about — my husband and I had the chance to teach overseas, and I wonder if we would have enjoyed it!

  8. I felt very similarly about this one! I was kinda bummed because I loooove parallel life/universe books like this. Kennedy annoyed me a lot because I felt like she was a little slow sometimes. I know it’s a huge change to literally switch lives like that, but some of the ripple effects should have been a bit more obvious to her haha.

  9. I recently knocked this book off my TBR because I heard it wasn’t the…best, which bums me out because Jessica Brody is getting to be one of my fave authors. (I absolute loved The Week of Mondays!) I love how family is still such a present and an important aspect in this book, though. Maybe I’ll reconsider!

  10. Jessica Brody is like the queen of “What If” books. I like her books and writing, they’re lots of fun, and also questions what I would do in her characters’ situations. It seems like this one didn’t quite meet expectations, and wow, that IS a big book! I don’t think I’ve read a 400+ contemporary in a loooong time! Ah well. I’ll still try it one day – it’s Jessica Brody, and this seems like a fun concept. And I love when family is involved!

  11. I sometimes wonder what life would be like had we not moved to Australia. Or if I’d had a chance to stay in Amsterdam. But I hear you — pacing makes a big difference,

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