Monday, March 18, 2013


Stops here 3/19

Welcome to my stop on the Why Can't I Be You? Blog Tour! The tour is being hosted by AToMR Tours; you can find the complete tour schedule here. My stop includes a review and a tour giveaway.

Why Can't I Be YouGenre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Plume (Penguin)
Publication Date: 2/26/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
Source: Received from publisher for review

At one time or another, everyone has wished she could be someone else. Exploring this universal longing, Allie Larkin follows up the success of her debut novel, Stay, with a moving portrait of friendship and identity.

When Jenny Shaw hears someone shout “Jessie!” across a hotel lobby, she impulsively answers. All her life, Jenny has toed the line, but something propels her to seize the opportunity to become Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Lonely in her own life, Jenny is embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends—and finds unexpected romance. But when she delves into Jessie’s past, Jenny discovers a secret that spurs her to take another leap into the unknown.

In a statement that will surprise no one, Why Can't I Be You? is a story of identity. I'm not talking about mistaken identity, though that scenario is what sets the whole story rolling.  At the heart of the book is a young woman been alone almost her entire life, desperate to belong: to someone, to something, anywhere. An impulsive decision leads Jenny down a path self-discovery, and leads her to where she belonged all along.

I know what you must be thinking. How in the world could old friends mistake a complete stranger for their former best friend? That is exactly what I thought as I began reading, but the scenario made sense. Jenny/Jessie's friends had not seen her since graduation day, thirteen years before. Jessie left her friends confused and hurt by her hasty departure. I'm pretty sure my former best friend's would recognize me, and that realize some random chick with similar features was not me. People change a lot, but that is a bit of a stretch. However, Jenny looks a lot like Jessie, or at least how her friends think she may have matured, so it works. But, I believe the most important detail is that Myra, Heather, Robbie and Fish all saw who they wanted to see. They wanted Jessie to be there, they needed some sort of resolution.

Though Jenny inadvertently gets involved with Jessie's friends, she can't help but bond with them instantly. At first it seems as if Jessie was the glue, the center of the group, and the leader. Well, she was the center, and the leader, but Jenny slowly discovers that Jessie was not always a good friend. Jessie left a pile of destruction when she left, but Jenny can fix that. She thinks. She also begins to fall for Fish, and you know that can't end well. But Jenny also comes to terms with some sad truths of her own life. And realizes that it's not to late to change her path.

I know from the outside, Jenny must seem completely bananas for assuming another person's identity. She's not. Jenny's story broke my heart. She had horrible parents, no friends, an apathetic boyfriend. She's lonely, confused, and honestly just can't bear to disappoint Myra and the rest of the gang. And that is Jenny's biggest issue, the need to be whomever the person she's with needs her to be. Her mom, her boyfriend, her best friend...she molds herself to fit whatever form she feels will make that person happy. This crazy week in someone else's shoes is the catalyst for change. As for Myra, Heather, Robbie, and Fish, they were all great characters, people I would want in my life. Myra and Heather were so full of life and compassion. Robbie was the perfect brotherly type. And Fish is the guy we all deserve.

No good story comes without it's pivotal scene, the moment of truth. That moment in Why Can't I Be You? was brilliantly written, and spurs some big changes of course. I think the author handled this perfectly. If dealt with lightly, it might make the story feel too trivial. If it's brutal and without a promise of a great future, then it's unsatisfying. Allie Larkin walked that line to perfection.

Why Can't I Be You? is a story that I'm grateful to have read. It served some happy and light-hearted moments, some painful moments, made me think, and was an all-together beautiful book.

Favorite Quote:

  But what I never had is what was most beautiful about Fish and Heather and Myra and Robbie--they were people who were cared about. You could see it in their faces. You could still see it. They were secure in knowing they had friends. They were loved, and they always would be. I choked back tears.
  I looked at Jessie Morgan's picture again and wondered what kind of person would ever leave friends like these.  ~pg. 108

  "You guys don't know how lucky you are. You don't know how important you are. You're superheroes. You saved each other. I wanted you to save me too. I wanted to belong to you. To know what it felt like to have friends like you."  ~pg. 254

Purchase Why Can't I Be You? at:

Indie Bound


About the author:

Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Stay, and the upcoming novel Why Can’t I Be You (2013).  She lives with her husband, Jeremy, their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella, and a three-legged cat.
Connect with Allie at:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter



  1. I like the issues that Why Can't I Be With You deals with, I immediately thought too, that how can a group of friends mistake someone to be their friend. But I get that when you want it to be someone so much you can overlook so many factors. I think I may have to give this book a try, as it sounds like something that I would enjoy! Another great review Andrea! :)

  2. Oh this sounds really different and heartbreaking. Great review... as always!

  3. Wow, this sounds like a really interesting book. It's obvious that Jenny has some major issues of her own if she is so willing to jump in and pretend to be this girl she isn't. It sounds like a very different, but good book. Awesome review babe!

  4. This sounds like a great read! Interesting premise for a novel.

  5. Awesome review. New author for me. It's not usually a subject I'd read about but will try it out :)

  6. Sounds like a potentially wacky premise but it also looks like the author handled it well and made an emotional impact. Love when hat happens!

  7. This sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Allie on her new release :)

  8. I have an interview from this author on my blog, today! I'm not sure if I would ever read this, but it does sound interesting!

  9. This one sounds really interesting. I saw another review yesterday and I think I might like it. I'm curious to see how it plays out. And that couch, I'm pretty sure it's my old one. ;)

    (Back when I lived in a house with 3 guys and we had a bunch of random furniture people gave to us for free.)

  10. I can't believe this is the first time I am hearing of this one. Heartbreaking, awesome and different, exactly what I need! I am very curious too see how this one turns out! Glad you liked this one, Andrea! Great review and thanks for the giveaway! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  11. I started this yesterday and really like it. Glad you enjoyed it babe.

  12. Great review! This sounds really good.

  13. Very interesting. You're right that the premise does sound a bit far fetched. Hmmm...I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Wow, Andrea! Great review! I do agree that Jessie's friends not knowing Jenny isn't Jessie is a stretch but I love how you say this book is about "identity". I think all of us, at one time or another, have molded ourselves into being who others want us to be rather than being ourselves. I'm going to add this to my TBR. :)

  15. I got way more into this that I thought I would and was surprised that the premise felt believable when I read it too. I did have some issues with the pacing and found myself getting bored in some spots but overall it was a really good read. Fabulous review!

  16. Sounds like a great read. I think it would be weird to pretend to be someone else, but it makes a good story. Thanks for this chance.


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