Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: Although the pacing and emotional impact weren’t as perfect for me as in Someone Else’s Love Story, I was once again blown away by how believable the characters were.
To the outside world, Paula Voss seems like a vicious, unshakeable divorce attorney, but when her estranged mother writes her that she is dying, it turns her world upside down. Paula has never forgiven herself for a decision that landed her itinerant mother in prison when she was a child and even now, fears her mother hasn’t forgiven her either. When her mother’s note is followed by the revelation that Paula isn’t an only child, she becomes desperate to find her mother and repay her debt before it’s too late.
What I loved most about Joshilyn Jackson’s Someone Else’s Love Story was how real her characters felt. Their actions all seemed to flow naturally from who they were. I immediately was reminded of that fact when I started The Opposite of Everyone. The characters’ thoughts and emotions, the dialogue they had, and the leisure activities they engaged in had an authenticity that I’ve rarely found in fiction. I think part of the way Jackson accomplishes this is the depth she gives each character, making me understand their motivation, but part of it is one of those intangible things that I feel would make me an amazing author myself if I could only explain it.
As part of being on tour for this book, I had the extremely exciting opportunity to participate in an google hangouts interview with Joshilyn Jackson and something she said relates to the rest of my review. When asked which of her books she’d most recommend starting with, she said that she’s found that most people love the first of her books that they read the most, no matter which book that is. She suggested that this might partly be because her books deal with many of the same themes – redemption, grace, and non-traditional or broken parent-child relationships. I think this was true of my experience. The first of Joshilyn’s books that I read, Someone Else’s Love Story, blew me away. I was completely surprised by how amazing it was and by the emotions the author made me feel. This book was equally amazing, but it was also exactly what I expected and that took away some of the emotional impact for me.
I can only think of one specific complaint about The Opposite of Everyone – the pacing for me was not quite perfect. Much of the book is written in a dual narrative, with Paula’s past and her present being revealed in parallel, and sometimes I was enjoying one of those stories much more than the other. The ending also felt a bit abrupt to me, with all the pieces suddenly falling into place. This is being a bit nit-picky though. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I do think Joshilyn was right- my first experience with one of her books will probably always be my favorite. I will absolutely continue to read everything she writes though! Reading about her characters is like meeting a new group of people and I’m sure it’s an experience I’ll always enjoy.
For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.