Why Can’t I Be You Review
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When it comes to chick lit, formulas and clichés are to be expected; it’s what an author does with those formulas and clichés that really matters. And in Why Can’t I Be You, author Allie Larkin takes the usual chick lit components and turns them into something fresh and fun.

Jenny Shaw is walking through the hotel where she’s about to attend her first big conference when she hears someone call her name—or at least she thinks someone’s calling her name—so she turns to find an unfamiliar woman hurrying in her direction. Jenny doesn’t recognize the woman, but it soon becomes clear that she’s under the impression that Jenny is her long-lost high school friend, Jessie Morgan. She’s so excited to see her old friend that Jenny just doesn’t have the heart to set her straight.

  
 
In typical chick lit fashion, Jenny ends up continuing the charade, attending Jessie’s high school reunion and catching up with Jessie’s old friends. Jessie seems to be everything that Jenny always wished she could be: strong, creative, outgoing, and loved by her friends. And as she gets more and more caught up in Jessie’s life, Jenny starts to realize that it’s time to make some changes in her own life.

The story told in Why Can’t I Be You is really nothing new or original. After all, things like mistaken identity, misunderstandings, and those little deceptions that go on much too long are chick lit staples. But don’t start rolling your eyes quite yet—because while the plot may be rather old and predictable, the novel itself feels new and creative.

The story may be frustrating at times—and you’ll know exactly where it’s heading—but the characters are guaranteed to keep you reading. They’re real—and human—with real problems and real insecurities. And the more you know about them, the more you’ll want to know. Fortunately, Larkin develops them remarkably well. You’ll get to know their dreams, their fears, their flaws, and their little quirks—and you’ll love them in spite of it all.

Jenny may be vulnerable and insecure, but she’s never so weak that she becomes irritating—and once you get to know her story, you’ll understand where she’s coming from. The other characters, meanwhile, are the kind of people that you’d want to have as friends: fun-loving, hard-working, and extremely loyal. So, no matter how frustrating Jenny’s ongoing deception may be, you won’t really blame her for wanting to cling to her new (old) friends.

One of the most fascinating characters in the book, however, is Jessie Morgan—the real one. She adds some intrigue to the story as Jenny tries to put the pieces together to figure out who she was, why she left such great friends behind, and where she ended up. And that mystery—along with a lovable cast of characters—makes for a laid-back read that will keep you eagerly coming back for more.

So although the plot may be predictable, Why Can’t I Be You isn’t the same old chick lit. It’s a light and enjoyable novel that’s surprisingly satisfying—so much so, in fact, that when you finish reading the last page, you might even feel sad that you’ll have to leave your new friends behind.


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