Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.
Jennifer Weiner introduced me to Sarah. I love that it sounds like I’m rubbing elbows with writing royalty, but it’s not quite that glamorous. Way back when (in 2010 to be specific), Ms. Weiner threw out a message: she had found an awesome new writer named Sarah Pekkanen, and anyone who purchased her debut novel, The Opposite of Me, and provided JW with proof of this purchase would receive a free autographed copy of any one of JW’s books. Now I’m not one to pass up an autographed copy of a book from one of my favorite authors, especially when it’s free, and I’m always up for discovering a new women’s lit author. Needless to say, I pounced on this like a cat on a fly. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? If it turned out to be a dud, I could always gift it to someone (insert evil laugh here). Needless to say, TOOM turned out to be awesome and I didn’t end up gifting my copy to anyone. But I did convince several friends to go pick up their own copy and it was the inaugural read for our book club. So really, there were a whole bunch of winners! (This is a perfect example of why I am always so keen to pick up novels recommended by my favorite authors. No, it’s not always a slam dunk, but more often than not, it is.)
So let’s talk about the book, shall we? I’m not going to rehash the plot because that’s what the blurb on the back cover is for. Instead, I want to talk about the feels. I want to tell you that this book grabbed my heart and squeezed it, keeping it in the palm of its unpredictable hand until the last page. I think anyone with a sister (or a sibling, for that matter) can understand the sense of competition that comes with that relationship. I’m not saying that it’s the same for everyone; I’m simply saying: we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. And then that feeling you get when you and your sister (or sibling) are on the outs and your life just doesn’t feel right, like there’s a gaping hole that is normally filled by that person who just gets you all the time. You know what I’m talking about.
One of the things that Sarah does best, perhaps even better than most, is women’s relationships. She’s always able to showcase the deepest part of those relationships, as well as why they develop or happen the way they do, without making it feel clinical or false. I can always see myself in the relationships she portrays, because we’ve all been there at some point in time. And she’s so damn smart about it, too. It’s never frivolous, or written with a levity that makes it feel like it’s “less than”. Instead, these relationships always have the grit and raw emotion that we can truly relate to. And the smart, sassy wit that is laced throughout her books is another awesome plus. TOOM has plenty of Sarah’s signature wit including the laugh-out-loud funny moments, which act as a perfect counterbalance to the heart-squeezing. I love it! I truly, genuinely love and enjoy reading every single one of Sarah’s books, and I’m so glad that I have been able to follow her journey from the beginning. If you’re wondering which book to start with, or just haven’t read it, grab The Opposite of Me. You can thank me later.
(All this talk about TOOM is making me want to do a re-read. Looks like it’s going to be a long night!)