Monday Review: IN SOME OTHER LIFE by Jessica Brody


Synopsis: I’ve finally been able to get back to some pleasure reading after a long stint of Cybils reading (which has now slowed down), and I picked up Jessica Brody’s In Some Other Life for a bit of fun escapism—and I was not disappointed. As you might know, I enjoy fiction about parallel universes; this one follows high-achieving Kennedy Rhodes, superstar of the student newspaper at Southwest High. Her life seems great: cute longtime boyfriend, supportive family, ever-loyal best friend, and high hopes for getting into the Columbia journalism program. Her only secret regret is that she didn’t attend the prestigious Windsor Academy, which sends 89 percent of its graduates to Ivy League schools.

Then, the disasters start piling up, culminating in one fateful moment: Kennedy takes an accidental fall down the steps and wakes up….in the life of some alternate version of herself: an alternate version that DID end up at Windsor Academy. As you might guess, at first it seems amazing and incredible, but looks can be deceiving…

Observations: This book was, above all, tongue-in-cheek funny. In some ways it felt like something I’d pair with my book The Latte Rebellion in terms of tone and style, as well as underlying theme—a well-meaning, earnest, but flawed main character gets caught up in circumstances beyond her control, and has to own up to her decisions in order to truly make good. While Kennedy isn’t perfect, sometimes to the point of being annoying, her imperfections are completely relatable, and are in fact necessary for her overall growth.

I did end up guessing the big story twist relatively early on: the clues were clear and it seemed fairly obvious that alternate-Kennedy was up to something, and so I assume the reader is meant to realize what’s going on before the narrator does. That was my only quibble with the story, though. The way everything wraps up was very satisfying, and I enjoyed how the various loose ends are dealt with, leaving things just a bit open-ended. And, as a bonus, the chapter titles were really fun.

Conclusion: This was a highly enjoyable story, with good pacing that kept me wanting to read it even when I probably should have been reading more Cybils finalists. Recommended for fans of paranormal and/or spec fic with a humorous twist.


I received my copy of this book courtesy of my library’s ebook collection. You can find IN SOME OTHER LIFE by Jessica Brody at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

Source: Finding Wonderland

Happy New Year–and Happy Writing!

Words of wisdom from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s typewriter in the Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., augmented with a few extra for those of us who need them.

May your 2018 be the best writing year yet!

XO,
Sarah and Tanita

Source: Finding Wonderland

Flicktion Tuesday Challenge #1: My Mother the Gorgon

Over at the Wonderland blog we’re trying something out for the first half of the New Year: we’re going back to our Flickr-inspired fiction habit of the past, in which we write a story or poem or passage in response to an image provided from Flickr’s Creative Commons. (You can read some of my old ones here, though I make no guarantees about their quality.) We’ll be doing it on a monthly basis this time, and all are welcome to share their work via the linky below the image prompt sometime in the next two weeks.

Please enjoy, and please check out the work of the other participants. I found it sparked my creativity not just to do the exercise, but to see the vastly different responses others came up with. Without further ado, here is the photo prompt:

Harryhausen Skeletons

Harryhausen Skeletons, by Flickr user Jürgen Fauth of Berlin.

 

My Mother the Gorgon

A bloodcurdling scream echoed through the house, and I jumped, dropping the shampoo bottle.

MOMMM!  There’s a snakeskin in my underwear drawer!”

Safe behind a locked bathroom door, I snickered. I’d been hiding the dry old piece from one of mom’s molting snakes for an opportune time when I needed to take revenge on my sister, Nikki. That time was now.

Most people think twins are closer than close. That they’re inseparable, like two halves of one whole. That’s definitely not true for me and Nikki. If mom hadn’t actually been there at our birth—and if we hadn’t been identical—you couldn’t find two more different people.

I’m Star, short for Astarte. I’m the sane one. No, seriously. Need proof? Just wait for three…two…one…

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG

“YOU ARE SO DEAD!”

BANG BANG BANG

“DON’T THINK JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE NAKED I WON’T KILL YOU!”

“I can’t hear you,” I shouted merrily. “I’m in the shower!”

She banged on the door one more time for good measure, and then I heard her footsteps recede down the hall. I burst out laughing and turned off the water. Drying off, I considered that this was pretty mild revenge for telling Mom she walked in on me and Danny Meyers kissing in my room with the door closed. She was just jealous. Nikki, I mean. Mom was mad. Not too mad, but mad enough that her snakes let out a hiss or two.

The problem wasn’t that I was kissing Danny Meyers, or that the door was closed. The problem was that I had a boy over at all.

Not having boys over—or friends—or anyone—it’s one of the major downsides of having a gorgon for a mother. You have to keep a lot of secrets.

To answer your first question, no, Nikki and I don’t have snakes for hair. We’re only half gorgon. All we inherited from our mother was her tan Mediterranean complexion, an uncanny affinity for reptiles, and in Nikki’s case, her volatile temper.

New Paint Job

You might notice it’s spruced up around here. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while (and I’m appalled at how much needs updating–it’s a long-term project for the next few weeks) and finally 2018 was the time. I’m saying goodbye to my old Aquafortis blog and hello to centralizing all of my blog posts here, including posts on books and writing imported from Finding Wonderland. (But you should still visit Wonderland for the full experience of Tanita and me ranting about books and stuff.)

You can also still visit The Deckled Edge, which is not currently very active but still houses a lot of info. I’m probably going to cede the site to my husband for his own artwork, because he desperately needs a website. (Another project for another time.)

I hope to blog more regularly again in the new year, with some major time-sucking projects now off my plate, so please subscribe (I think you can do that over in the Meta section of the sidebar) or otherwise take note!