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Why Can't I Be You: A Novel Paperback – February 26, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Allie Larkin provides an unexpected and completely fresh take on the familiar theme of mistaken identify in Why Can't I Be You. She's a master at creating complex characters who feel like old friends and crafting situations that you'd swear really happened. In other words? I adored this book! Put Allie Larkin on your Authors to Watch List because she's at the top her game."
- Jen Lancaster, bestselling author of Jeneration X

"Allie Larkin's latest explores an intriguing question: What if you could shed your own life, and step into someone else's? Why Can't I Be You is a thoughtful and compulsively readable examination of identity, friendship and trust - and what happens when all three spectacularly collide."
- Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of These Girls

"A charming, heart-felt story of love, laughter, and borrowed identity, Why Can't I Be You  explores the brilliant notion that it's not until we've let go of who we think we should be that we can discover who we actually are."
-Amy Hatvany, USA Today bestselling author of Outside the Lines

About the Author

 Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Stay, and Why Can’t I Be You.  She has never ordered a dog off the internet or assumed a new identity to attend a high school reunion. When Allie writes, she wears an oversized circa 1980s acrylic sweater that is a crime against fashion and good taste in general. Allie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Jeremy, their German Shepherd, Stella.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452298377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452298378
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luanne Ollivier on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Allie Larkin's latest book Why Can't I Be You? has just released and I have to tell you - I absolutely adored it!

Jenny Shaw thinks she has a pretty good life. She doesn't love her job, but she thinks she's pretty good at it. And it looks like she's finally getting some recognition - she's being sent to a conference by her boss. Well, okay it's because her boss can't attend. And she's pretty sure her relationship with her boyfriend Deagan is about to go to that next level.....

And it does, only it's not the level Jenny had envisioned. Deagan drops her off at the airport.....and drops her altogether, saying he needs to explore his feelings for another woman. Stunned, Jenny stumbles on the plane and heads to the conference. When she arrives at the conference centre, she thinks she hears someone calling her name....but they're saying Jessie. The woman is so glad to see 'Jessie' - she had no idea that she'd be attending the school reunion!

And with that hug, our Jenny steps into someone else's past. It's been a number of years and they really do resemble each other - enough so that the group of friends from Jessie's past welcome her back into their circle. And though she knows she should come clean...."For a little while, I wanted to forget me."

For this group of friends is warm and loving and fun - everything that Jessie realizes has been missing from her life. And with every day that goes by, it gets that much harder to admit the truth.

Jenny was such a great character - she was the kind of person you'd like to really have as a friend. Larkin does a great job taking us on Jenny's journey to discover what she really wants and needs from her life. I laughed out loud, I empathized and I crossed my fingers, hoping for the best for Jenny.
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Meh. This book was ok, but I certainly didn't love it. I spent the majority of it thinking how incredibly unbelievable it was. ALL these people (Myra, Heather, Fish, Robbie, Karen, etc.) didn't catch on to the fact that Jenny wasn't Jessie? The noticeably different shoe size, the completely different personality, the vague look that would cross her face whenever anyone mentioned anything about the past? Nope. Sorry...not buying it.

Don't get me wrong, this is a cute, well written book, and if you're able to suspend all belief and read it as something to take up a lazy Sunday, then you'll enjoy it. I just couldn't get over the unrealistic (and often times creepy) scenarios. Jenny may have convinced herself that she meant well, but she was still a stranger staying in Myra's house...sleeping with a man who thought she was another woman. Sorry...that's not funny or charming...its sad and creepy.
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Why Can't I Be You was perfect for anyone who wants to relive the positive relationships established in high school. Jenny was mistaken in a hotel lobby for Jessie, a girl whose friends were thrilled to see her after a 13 year absence. Recently dumped by her boyfriend and in need of a shoulder to cry on, Jenny played along and attended the high school reunion while attempting to move past her failed relationship. When she actually started to like Jessie's friends she learned about herself and altered the course of her life.

Jenny felt bad impersonating Jessie, but got swept up in being included in a circle of close friends, something that her own life lacked. As the story progressed, the author focused on the loneliness Jessie felt and her desperation to fill that void. As Jessie's past was slowly revealed, Jenny realized she had more in common with Jessie than she knew. I thought it was brilliant for the author to use Jessie's life as a way for Jenny to describe her own struggle with a cheating father and alcoholic mother. Because Jenny's life was far from perfect, I didn't blame her for wanting to be one of Jessie's friends. I loved that Jessie's old high school crush fell instantly for Jenny, and then waited to see how their relationship would endure once the truth was revealed. The conversations between the friends were that light banter that exists with people who have known each other for a long time. The "remember this" and "remember that" stories were cute and showed how devoted the friends were to each other.

This was an adult coming of age book with a bunch of fun references to being a high school student. It was so satisfying watching Jenny grow personally and professionally through her adventure as Jessie. This was an all around feel good and an excellent read!

Please read more of my reviews on my blog: http://fastpageturner.wordpress.com
or follow me on twitter at @dana_heyde (less)
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This is much more than fluffy "chick lit". It's about how one small lie can expand to such a degree that its a life changing experience.

Jenny Shaw's life has unexpectedly come crashing down on her at the most inopportune time. Her fiancée breaks up with her while dropping her off at the airport for a conference. Not only that but he drives off with her suitcase in the trunk.

At the Seattle airport she is mistaken for someone else. She tries to explain but finally gives up and becomes that someone else - Jessie. After all, the other girl is so happy to see this Jessie so what harm can it do. They are there for a class reunion and as things escalate beyond her control, she becomes part of another's life.

Bit by bit she learns more about Jessie and even more about herself.

What will happen when the people she's become so fond of find out the truth? And what about when she meets the real Jessie?

This is a quick read mainly because you are so anxious to find out what will happen next.
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