I know the protocol for offering cover reveals is to make you read through a bunch of text in anticipation and finally reveal the cover at the end.
Well, I’m a graphic designer and reader, and my first encounter with a book is usually with its cover. So I’m starting there, with my first impressions, just like I did with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s After I Do. Then we’ll talk about the story.
“Maybe in Another Life” is another great title from Reid. Seriously, this woman should teach a class on evocative titles. To me, it sounds like something any woman might say while daydreaming. “I’m unsatisfied with my current life. Maybe in this other, hypothetical life, I’d be more satisfied.”
But then we see the cover…
So what does the cover tell us? It’s all in the subjects and the symmetry. This book is about a classy lady with a decision between two parallel choices, either one of which you, Reader, would probably love to escape to.
Take away the aqua and the modern font (which hearkens to style magazines), and this might be a memoir or a stuffy novel about a museum curator. With the typeface and color choice, we know it’s Women’s Fiction.
How efficient is that? I’d like to give the highest of fives to the designers that work on Reid’s novels. Every one of them seems to say “Women’s Fiction is legit Lit, y’all!” (and it’s true).
And just in case you didn’t get the gist of the contents from the image, there’s a tagline which, yet again, is evocative and ties everything together.
Are you excited for this book? Because I am. I’m ready to preorder right now …
But if you really want to read the blurb before ordering, then …
From the publisher:
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, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
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 surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: 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.
Let’s break this down.
“Hannah Martin” Anybody else think Hanna Marin from Pretty Little Liars? Just me? Okay.
“high school boyfriend … Hannah hesitates” The fact that she hesitates tell me there’s still something there between Hannah and Ethan. I’m not a fan of on-again, off-again relationships, so I’m hoping that the “something there” is mostly attraction with some underlying drama that will give off plenty of heat, but no HEA for those two.
You should all know by now that I’m not super into romance, and that my favorite movies have “happy for now” endings rather than “happily ever after” ones. But I do have a not-so-secret affinity for Hilary Duff movies. So if these two end up together, I want it to be Sweet Home Alabama style, with a clear, good reason they broke up and an ending that’s a no-brainer that they need to be together. None of that “we couldn’t handle being apart from each other for more than a month, so we broke up” nonsense.
“In concurrent storylines”. Aww yiss. I love me some nonlinear storytelling.
“with far-reaching consequences” Double yesss. Fiction without consequences is just irresponsible. Curious George is horrible. But seriously, I am a fan of chain-reaction plots. Just because I don’t believe in love at first sight—attraction, OF COURSE. Have you seen my husband?—that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy stories about fate. The fact that this is a cause-effect sort of plot lets me know there won’t be random coincidences.
“soul mate” I’ll buy it. “The One”? No. I’ve known too many widows. But I like to think that my husband and I are linked more than just mentally, socially, and physically.
You’ll have to wait until I read it for me to give a review! But now you know what kind of expectations I have going into it.
You can follow Taylor Jenkins Reid on Twitter @tjenkinsreid. I’m sure she’ll be interviewed about Maybe in Another Life soon.
I haven’t read it yet! But Reid herself recommended books by Emily Giffin or Amy Hatvany after I enjoyed After I Do.
Write about a decisive moment in your life, and what happened as a consequence. Turn it into a story, a short blurb of a memory, or a flow chart. Or ask a friend or relative about a seemingly insignificant choice they made that ended up changing their or someone else’s life.
An example: A man switched from a music major to a history major, which meant he spent five years in college instead of four. His fifth year was the first year a “colloquium” class was offered—an independent study tied to a spring break trip to Ireland and the UK. It was my freshman year, and I also signed up for the trip. We were low on numbers, and needed a couple more students to sign up before the trip could be booked. He invited his brother, a Junior history major, whose topic of choice was the historicity of King Arthur. My topic was Arthurian literature. We became study buddies, then friends, then more than friends, and now we’re married. I introduced my now-brother-in-law to one of my college roommates, and they were married last November.
So there you have it. A “major” change that didn’t actually affect his career at all, but certainly affected his family. Now he has a wife, a sister-in-law, and two nephews because of it.