In the past, having a good, self-indulgent binge has always meant a weak moment with chocolate or pizza. But not in the month of March! This month I am bingeing on Sarah Pekkanen. I've decided she is (almost) better than fat-filled goodies. I kicked off the month with her short story "Love, Accidentally", last Thursday I reviewed "Skipping a Beat", and today I'll be talking about Pekkanen's first novel "The Opposite of Me".
Sarah was also kind enough to finish off my splurge by sending me her newest release "These Girls", which I will review next week.
Synopsis: Lindsay may only be 29 years old, but she has got the fire in her belly to be one of the biggest and brightest in the advertising world. She has forsaken her personal life, her health, even a good night's sleep, to rise quickly to the top of her firm's hierarchy. In fact, this next big deal will be the clincher to a much-sought-after promotion to VP, a corner office, and the final proof that SHE, not her beautiful twin sister, is the winner in some subliminal competition that has existed since her childhood. She may not have been the pretty twin, but she damn well sure is the smartest and the most successful.
Except something goes really wrong, Lindsay makes a series of bad choices, and not only does she blow the promotion, she is out of a job. She crawls back home to her parents' house to lick her wounds and regroup. She'll bounce back, find a new job. She even considers stoking the fires of an old childhood friendship into something more romantic. But her gorgeous twin Alex, who is engaged to be married to a mega-rich version of the Ken doll, is still stealing the spotlight, pushing Lindsay back in the shadows.
Lindsay soon is forced to reassess her life, her goals, and her relationship with her sister. Suddenly, nothing is what it seems...her sister's life, her romantic interest, her professional aspirations...everything is an illusion.
My thoughts: Despite the fact that this novel is Pekkanen's first, it still has a level of complexity that is a surprise and a delight. The story starts off like a typical, light, predictable piece of women's fiction. We've all read stories about successful women who blow it and return home to reinvent themselves.
But it is here that Pekkanen really sets herself apart from the norm, and resists the path most traveled. Things turn serious. The protagonist does not ride off into the sunset in a Disney-esque finale. There is character development and things ultimately turn out in a satisfying conclusion, but it isn't what you think it is going to be. I love that about her books.
I definitely think "Skipping a Beat" had more heft, more clever wit, and did more damage to my heart, but I loved this story from beginning to end. As I pretty much expected, Sarah Pekkanen has got herself another (in a long list) of fans for life.
4.5 out of 5 stars