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In Some Other Life

Review

In Some Other Life

Kennedy Rhodes made a crucial life decision three years ago, choosing her new boyfriend and mundane life over her acceptance at Windsor Academy, a highly prestigious prep school. She was pleased with her decision; she was still with the same guy, she became editor-in-chief of the public high school’s newspaper and she was top of her class.

Despite this, she always wondered if the grass was greener on the other side. Would her life have been any better if she had chosen a different path and attended Windsor Academy? Kennedy believed she was better off with the path she chose, until one night she found her loyal best friend and her boyfriend kissing and she wondered if maybe she made the wrong choice.

Less than 24 hours later, Kennedy hits her head and mysteriously awakens in a parallel universe, where she is a student at Windsor Academy. She is top of her class, popular and basically a shoo-in for Columbia University. Kennedy becomes convinced that this version of herself is the person she is meant to be, the best version of herself possible. Until she realizes that her new self is involved in a school scandal that could potentially lead to her expulsion, altering her hopeful, bright future ahead.

"As a teenager myself, I appreciated Jessica Brody’s novel....Although the plot was a bit predictable, I was pleased with Brody’s writing, it kept me engaged and I finished the novel in one sitting."

Kennedy begins to understand that there is no perfect universe; there is no world where every choice is perfect, where there are no mistakes or arduous choices with consequences. The novel reflects this, as it is structured in two parts, “if” scenarios and “then” outcomes.  Through this experience, Kennedy begins to realize that not only did her choice to attend Windsor Academy affect her tremendously, but took a toll on her family, as well. In order to pay the tuition, her father gave up his aspirations of becoming a successful freelance photographer, now working for a large company far from home. In addition, her mom is never around anymore, instead she is stressed, constantly at work trying to sustain the family income.

However, the one thing constant in both of her lives is her brother Frankie, who provides comic relief throughout the novel, and helps her try to figure out how to leave this parallel universe. To me, this novel parallels the “butterfly effect,” which is a phenomenon where a small change can have a large effect elsewhere. On the surface, her new life seemed infinitely better, but underneath she quickly realizes that she has misjudged everything.

As a teenager myself, I appreciated Jessica Brody’s novel. With the monumental choices every teenager coming of age is faced with, it is hard not to question the “what if” scenario and dwell on the choices that didn’t work out the way you anticipated. Kennedy matures immensely throughout the course of the novel, maturing from being regretful to grateful with the life she has shaped for herself. Although the plot was a bit predictable, I was pleased with Brody’s writing, it kept me engaged and I finished the novel in one sitting. This novel is a tremendous lesson for young adults to learn and experience “what ifs” and how to deal with the ramifications of one’s choices.

Reviewed by Ryan H., Teen Board Member on August 15, 2017

In Some Other Life
by Jessica Brody