Read Why Can't I Be You by Allie Larkin Online


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 heAt 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....

Title : Why Can't I Be You
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780452298378
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Why Can't I Be You Reviews

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
    2019-05-16 17:41

    Somehow, I feel that I’ve outgrown chick-lit ages ago (it’s funny how I’ll never really outgrow YA, though), but when an opportunity arose to review Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin, I felt an immediate connection and jumped at the chance to do so. There was something about the retro-looking cover that pulled me in right away, and the idea of stepping into someone else’s shoes so completely both thrilled and intrigued me. Who of us wouldn’t want to be someone else, at least for a day? There were days when I just wanted to leave everything behind and become someone new, someone daring and social, someone who took chances on every turn or at least someone who felt comfortable in their skin. Our own skin can get too tight, and wanting to escape it makes sense in some situations. That’s what Jenny did. When the opportunity presented itself, she jumped at it and never looked back. After all, her boyfriend-soon-to-be-fiancé just left her for a girl equally average and plain – not even an upgrade, which was more insulting than anything else. I’m not sure classifying Why Can’t I Be You as chick-lit is exactly fair. I’d sooner call it women’s fiction (there is a slight difference in quality between the two in my opinion). It’s certainly less formulaic and flaky than your average Sophie Kinsella novel, and there were some genuine emotions there felt heavier and more honest than I’d expected. Despite its pretty simplistic plot, Why Can’t I Be You surprised me with its emotional complexity. It was thought-provoking and entirely satisfying. I loved the very subtle romance between Jenny and Fish, but even more, I admired her friendship with Jessie’s former best friend. All things considered, Why Can’t I Be You is a good way for us YA and UF readers to step out of our comfort zone and stir things up a bit.

  • BookLover
    2019-05-16 19:32

    While reading this book, I felt like I had stepped back into the 90’s and a ROM COM movie. It was awesome! Jenny was a super likeable character. She is very down n her luck and down on herself. When she is mistaken for someone else, she inexplicably “goes with it” and attends her look-a-like’s high school reunion. I was constantly cringing, wondering when the truth would come out. As Jenny got more and more attached to her “high school friends”, I got more and more attached to Jenny and her completely unbelievable story.Did I mention that I thought the book was awesome? Particularly the last sentence! Made me smile.

  • Andi Winterfield
    2019-05-10 22:46

    I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin. I absolutely loved this book & it was impossible to put down! I felt a strong connection to the main character Jenny Shaw, because of things she deals with in this book. Some of it was so familiar & so heartbreaking that I found myself wishing I could give her a hug. Even though Jenny is pretending to be Jessie Morgan, she fits in seamlessly with all of her friends. Myra is so much fun & Robbie is beyond awesome. Fish makes for a great love interest & Heather has such a genuine sweetness that makes me wish everyone had someone like her in their life. I loved the closeness of the group & how happy Jenny was with all of them, like she was meant to be their friend all along. But it was also nerve wracking knowing that she would eventually have to tell them she was not Jessie. Allie Larkin is incredibly talented & her writing is smart, hilarious & heartfelt. This book made me laugh out loud, made my heart ache & made me appreciate even more the incredible friends that I have in my life. Why Can’t I Be You is perfect from the first page to the last & I think anyone would enjoy reading it. If you’re looking for more from Allie Larkin, I also highly recommend her debut novel, Stay.

  • Maggie
    2019-04-19 18:47

    I really, really, really loved this book. I used to read a lot of chick lit, which I feel this falls into, but I've mostly replaced that with YA lately and haven't missed it. That said, I am so happy I decided to read this one.At first I was kind of skeptical that a group of people could mistake a stranger for someone they have known since childhood. But as I read the story it made sense. They haven't seen Jessie for 13 years and they parted on bad terms, but still tried to track her down. I guess sometimes when you really want something to be true you just see it that way. I was also skeptical that someone would play along with the idea that they were someone else, but the more I read about Jenny's upbringing and the hardships she experienced the more it made sense.Unfortunately I think I have some of Jenny's crappy upbringing in me and I could definitely relate to how difficult it is to connect to people when you're keeping a big portion of your life a secret, that said, I know I couldn't pretend to be someone else like that. There were some amazing points in this book about identity and the choices we all make to become who we are.All of the characters in this book were great. Even though what Jenny did was crazy I still loved her and felt for her. Myra seems like she would be an amazing friend and the rest of the group of friends was great. I would definitely love to be friends with those guys. The entire time I was reading I was dreading the moment when Jenny would reveal who she really was. I think the way that Allie Larkin did it was perfect, it was uncomfortable and terrible, but still really heartfelt. And I thought the ending was spot on, it made me wish there was a sequel!

  • Delee
    2019-05-04 19:28

    After reading a few dark, depressing books in a row, I really needed to read something light and fun. WHY CAN'T I BE YOU hit the mark for me perfectly!Jenny Shaw has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She feels disconnected from her family, her job, her one friend...and her cat. While on a business trip Jenny is mistaken for someone named Jessie and jumps at the chance to become somebody else for awhile. Jenny/Jessie juggles both lives, attending the three day work conference as Jenny, and a 13 year high-school reunion as Jessie. Whew! Confused? No? Good.I loved this character, her new friends, and I loved being taken back to everything 90s![image error]

  • Catherine McKenzie
    2019-05-13 18:54

    Such a fun read! Read it in one sitting.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-11 18:46

    Why Can't I Be You is a standalone novel written by author Allie Larkin. In this book, the main character Jenny Shaw assumes someone else's life when she is mistaken for "Jessie". Jessie has been missing from her social circle for the past thirteen years and apparently Jenny and Jessie look so much alike that Jenny just picks up where Jessie left off. Although this book is intended to be entertaining, I just couldn't get past the very predictable consequences that were bound to happen at any moment. Jenny's impersonation of Jessie is bold and with each day that passed I just cringed. On the plus side, her character is written well and as a reader I could understand where her desperation to continue living Jessie's life came from. It just wasn't enough for me and I found myself to be more anxious than entertained. All I can say is it must have been a "glass half empty" kind of week for me!My favorite quote:“It's hard to look at it like that, isn't it? Because if you can be a better parent than the ones you had, you have to face the fact that your parents had that choice too. If you're not fated to be an awful parent, they weren't either. And," I said feeling my throat tighten, "it's easier to believe that we're all just f***'ed than it is to know there are choices." I rubbed my hands together to try to get my fingers to warm up. "It hurts less to think they couldn't have done any better than they did, doesn't it?”

  • Claire
    2019-05-18 20:55

    Put Allie Larkin's second novel on your to-read shelf! She's a fabulous author, and if you haven't yet discovered her first novel, STAY, you have time to read that one while you wait for WHY CAN'T I BE YOU. (Plume/Feb. 26, 2013.)Fun, smart, charming, and heartbreakingly honest, WHY CAN'T I BE YOU takes its title from a hit song from the English rock band The Cure. It's the story of Jenny Shaw, who has spent her life trying to be all things to all people. On the way to the airport for business trip, she's dumped by the guy she thought she'd marry. Once she arrives at the hotel, a moment of mistaken identity gives her the opportunity to become Jessie Morgan at a class reunion for a high school she'd never attended.It's a fun premise, filled with Hollywood potential, and Allie not only executes it fully, but transcends it until it becomes the story of a woman who loses herself long enough to find herself.

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-18 19:43

    What would you do if you could suddenly become someone else? When Jenny Shaw is mistaken for another women, Jessie Morgan, while on a business trip, she decides to go with it as a way to escape her life for a few days. What she doesn't realize starting out is how connected she will become to the people who think she is "Jessie Morgan," or what it will do in terms of helping her find focus and direction in her life. I loved this book, and it really gives you a lot to think about in terms of identity and the true meaning of friendship...

  • Maja
    2019-05-12 19:28

    3,5 starsI enjoyed this one. It was good and different. The end was sweet and the characters were likable.I found many beautiful things in this book: friendships, true love, second chance love, new beginning…

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2019-05-18 00:44

    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. And for the rest of the cast as well. Larkin has also created a great group of supporting players, just as likable as Jenny.(And one is named Luanne!) I found myself often stopping to think about my own friends from high school as I turned pages. Yes, Why Can't I Be You definitely has chic lit elements, but it's much more than that. Larkin explores relationships - family, friends, co-workers and romantic all with a keen eye."Nothing is as it seems, and then you get older and get to decide if you want to go back and see everything the way it really is or if you just want to move on."Does she get found out? You'll have to pick up the book to find out. I can totally see this book being made into a movie!

  • Jamie Cook
    2019-05-08 17:55

    In my opinion there are two kinds of chick lit, the majority being the kind with ridiculous plots, one dimensional characters and sometimes crude humor. The other, more hard to come by chick-lit, is a well written story with relatable characters and a lot of heart...Why Can't I Be You was that kind of book for me. You still have to use your imagination for the plot of this book and 'just go with it' but I enjoyed it from beginning to end :)

  • Pauline Tilbe
    2019-05-06 18:43

    I gave this book 5 stars because it's good. It's a great read, good chick-lit. But it has great characters, they evolve through the story. The best thing about this story is Allie Larkin says some pretty important things. This story is about having people in our lives-family and friends-and wanting them to be a certain way. Most times, people can't live up to our expectations but we want them in our life so much that we change ourselves to maintain the relationship. Jenny has this issue with several people in her life.She happens upon a group of friends that she enjoys so much that she lies about who she is, just to be with them. Not because she's mean or evil, but just because she's lived with the void of this kind of true friendship she sees. And she wants some of it for herself. First, she has to start living for herself.I read some other reviews about this being a light read, cute story. It is cute and light, if you just run through it. I really recommend that you take your time. There's a lot to be said in this book, take a close look at Jenny's relationship with her mother and see how it affected everything in her life.

  • Lynne
    2019-04-26 01:57

    Imagine that your life just kinda sucked at the moment and you were given the chance to take on another person's identity. That's exactly what happens in this book. Obviously we get to know Jenny and realize that she isn't doing this in a mean-spirited way. After all, she honestly thought someone had called out "Jenny" from across the hotel lobby ... when in fact they thought it was "Jessie" - a long-lost friend. So begins the adventures of Jenny aka Jessie. Jenny goes from being down and out to having a best friend who designs clothing in her memory, some friends who remember the good ol' days and a potential love interest. Not too bad ... except that she does feel a little tormented about deceiving her new friends. The story is pretty predictable (not in a bad way - but you just kind of know where things are headed) ... my one major complaint was that Jenny was a little bit of a "woe is me" character. I wanted to empathize with her more and found that I only did near the end of the novel. Otherwise, a recommended read.

  • Camie
    2019-05-09 23:49

    When Jenny Shaw is mistaken for a long lost highschool friend, she takes the opportunity to exchange lives with Jessie Morgan, with whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Since things have not been going that great in her life, she enjoys the opportunity and intrigue of being warmly embraced by Jessie's old friends who are attending a high school reunion and accept her unconditionally . A cute story about friendship and a glance at what it would be like to step into someone else's life. A perfect movie script. 4 stars

  • Lara
    2019-05-08 23:32

    This might be short bc I'm typing it on my phone while cuddling a toddler, but I just had to say I really enjoyed this book. I don't read a lot of "women's fiction" or "chick lit" anymore, and that's kind of a shame because I forget how enjoyable and un-crappy it can be. Sure, this book is light, and sure, it requires some suspension of disbelief, but it also involves well-developed characters, an interesting plot, and made wake up this morning missing everyone from the book. I definitely recommend it!

  • Myrna
    2019-05-18 01:41

    I like a little mystery in the books I read so when Jenny pretends to be someone else I had to find out how it was all going to unravel. Allie Larkin did a great job. I thought this book was going to be a typical predictable, funny book but it wasn't. It was more about friendships and finding oneself. I'm sad it's over.

  • Queen Meega
    2019-05-10 17:41

    Wishful thinkingWhy Can't I Be you by Allie Larkin has such a great premise. Opting in to someone else's life when you're crashes and burns around you. Jenny goes to a conference and is mistaken for a woman named Jessie by a loving, fun group of misfits at their high school reunion. Jennie is so down about her own life and had trouble making and keeping friends, so this ready made family is something she desperately craves. While I liked many of the things the author did, there were too many coincidences used to move the plot along. But all in all this is a great book to download when you have a day of travel and need an escape.

  • Anne
    2019-05-15 21:31

    A book so good I finished it in one day! Perfect book to read the pool/beach. Interesting story line with great character development. The characters are immediately relatable and the writing has you hooked from the beginning.

  • Yi-Hsuan
    2019-05-11 21:44

    I was expecting dogs to have a larger presence in this book.

  • Debbie
    2019-04-20 18:33

    Review originally posted on TALK SUPEAlthough I have been reading a lot of contemporary novels over the last year, I have yet to read any chick lit. Allie Larkin's WHY CAN'T I BE YOU is my first venture into this genre in years and I have to say that I enjoyed reading this book so much.I'm sure this thought has come through all of our minds at point or another but have you ever wished you could have a different life or start over? That is exactly what happens to Jenny Shaw when goes off to her very first business trip. But before I get to that point let me rewind a little to tell you about Jenny's life before she heads off to her conference. Jenny has a pretty good life although she's not exactly happy. She's has a job that she's really great at and has been getting a lot of recogniton for. It's just that she doesn't actually love her job. She doesn't have the greatest relationship with her family but she does have a boyfriend. She's in a relationship with a man she thinks she'll end up marrying, except the said boyfriend breaks up with her when he drops her off at the airport."It was easier than it should have been to be Jessie Morgan, because I wasn't ever really Jenny Shaw either. I never had the luxury of just being me."This brings up back to the point when Jenny arrives at her conference in Seattle. After arriving she thinks she hears someone calling her name. She answers to them thinking they called Jenny when in reality they were saying Jessie. The woman calling out to her and was so excited to see Jessie that Jenny at that point decideds the hell with it and pretends to be this Jessie Morgan woman. Jenny steps into Jessie's shoes and decides to live this womans life, at least for a while. The group of friends that she meets is a really wonderful crowd and exactly the type of people that Jenny had always dreamed of having around in her life. They are all so warm, funny and friendly - basically just the "perfect" group of friends you wanted to have while growing up. But the charade can only last so long before everyone finds out who she really is.As Jenny plays Jessie, she finally starts to realize everything that is wrong with her life. For a majority of her life, she's been too shy, lonely, and has always tried to appease others. She really hasn't been living for herself and realizes just how unhappy she really is. She doesn't give herself too much credit when in fact she's a pretty awesome person. I loved her humor, snarky attitude and overall personality. She was a character that I found to be very realistic (everyting from her flaws to her strained family relationships and lacking love life) and extremely likeable. It was easy to find myself in her own shoes which made reading WHY CAN'T I BE YOU to be an even better reading experience.The thing I love about chick lit novels is that not only do you havea great time reading but you always walk away with a new sense of empowerment and self-worth. As you follow Jenny along on her road to self-discovery and happiness, Larkin always made me sit back and think about my ownlife. Somestimes we all get so caught up in life that we sometimes will forget who we are and what it is that makes us happy. WHY CAN'T I BE YOU is an expertly written and refreshing novel that centers around family, friendship, love and finding out who we really are. Jenny is a character that you will adhere too from the very beginning and you'll just love listening to her innner monologue. Larkin creates of cast of characters that will charm the pants out of you and keep you amused. I hightly recommend this if you are a fan of chick lit and need something light and funny with a good dash of life lessons. Definitely impressed with Allie Larkin and I've already got her debut novel, Stay, on my TBR.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-05-14 19:35

    This review was originally published at StoryCircleBookReviews: A solid, expressive book, a blend of literary and chic lit. On one hand, the novel is easy to read; the narrative flows gently, without the false pretense of being only for the cultured elite. On the other hand, the story examines the bottomless question of identity, which has puzzled philosophers and writers from the beginning of the written word. The protagonist Jenny is searching for herself. Unhappy in her career and her personal life, she has always tried to be what other people wanted her to be. To appease her drunkard of a mother, she concealed her true self and gave up friendships. An artist at heart, she gave up painting to please her boyfriend. But when that same boyfriend dumps her on the way to a professional conference, Jenny snaps and does something entirely out of character. In the elevator of the conference hotel, an unknown woman bumps into her, calling her Jessie and beaming with joy. Obviously, the woman mistakes her for an old school friend, and suddenly Jenny wants to be Jessie. Whoever Jessie is, she has friends, she is loved; something Jenny has never had. Just for a few days of the conference, Jenny decides to play the role of her look-alike Jessie and experience friendships and loves she has never known. What could be the harm? Just for a few days, she wants to be someone else: someone carefree and daring, someone comfortable in her own skin, unlike the mousy, self-doubting Jenny.That one desperate step starts her on a road of self-exploration, the road dotted with pain and revelations, love and deceit. The false name doesn’t change Jenny. Instead, it helps her to excavate her hidden depth, bring forth her artistic soul. Symbolically, the Jenny-impersonating-Jessie is garbed in a provocative red dress, which feels organic and true, as opposed to the fake, dull veneer of the Jenny-executive, wearing drab business colors. Of course, as we all know, shedding old skin is a painful process, and the new skin is sensitive and raw, throbbing with emotional overload. Several secondary characters, Jessie’s friends, stand alive from the pages. Each one has his or her own quirks, his or her own intimate history with Jessie. As Jenny navigates the murky waters of Jessie’s relationships, an abiding affection for the woman’s friends grows inside Jenny. She yearns for them to be her friends too but she knows it is all a sham. She lied to them all. Sad and lonely once more, Jenny wonders: how could Jessie abandon such beautiful, warm-hearted friends? Who is the mysterious Jessie? As Jenny digs, layer after layer of assumptions and evasions fall away. Not everything is bliss in Jessie’s world, as Jenny first assumed, but Jenny herself is finally free of all masks, ready to start anew under her own name. The story develops slowly, perhaps too slowly, although the tension building is masterful. Every moment of her masquerade, Jenny expects to be defrauded, repudiated, but it never happens, until she herself regretfully ends the game. Some scenes seem more important than others, and a couple of episodes feel entirely unnecessary for the story, but all of them allow the reader to peek inside Jenny’s mind, to share her emotional turmoil and her thrill of self-discovery.The ending was the only part of the novel that vexed me. It was too easy, too pat. Suddenly, everything fell into place in Jenny’s life, and I didn’t believe it. Paradoxically, while the unbelievable, fantastic premise felt totally realistic, the mundane conclusion felt false. Otherwise, a delightful novel.

  • Jenni Arndt
    2019-05-14 23:56

    Let’s be honest here, the cover isn’t what sold me on reading Why Can’t I Be You. No folks, this is an elusive, practically unheard of case of me reading a blurb for a book and wanting to read it based on that. I can hear your collective gasp at the fact that I read the blurb for this book, I is growing up! I’m happy that I read the blurb and didn’t just write the book off for the cover because I did end up enjoying the novel quite a bit. Now, I can’t say that I loved it but the story was really good and had just enough to keep me reading so I could find out how it would all end.Jenny is having a rough go; she got dumped as her boyfriend dropped her off at the airport when she was leaving to go on a business trip. To make matters worse, in the midst of all the dumping and crying he drives off with her luggage! By the time she got to her destination I think we got know know a lot about Jenny, just enough that I could completely understand her longing to be someone else at the time. This isn’t the most realistic of stories, but there is enough there for the reader to grasp onto to let their inhibitions go and just go along for the ride. Jenny was a mess and her progressively finding out that she needed to start putting herself first in the novel was really great. She was constantly doing things to make other people happy and pushing things that were important to her to the back burner.The group of people that she finds herself in when one of them mistakes her for a long lost friend was also great. I did feel at times that the dialogue was a little over the top in their banter with one another, bordering on cheesy but I understood what was trying to be conveyed. Myra, Heather, Robbie, and Fish had themselves a little family and they served to show Jenny how people should be treating one another and that blood isn’t the only thing that means family. I loved Heather & Robbie’s relationship. They had been together so long and weren’t afraid to rib each other and be dorks in front of one another, you could really feel the love between these two. Myra was a bit too much for me, she seemed a bit too chipper and her personality always came across as over the top. She was definitely someone that I would want to punch the constant smile off of her face. No one can be that happy all the time!The romance was sweet and completely awkward. Sweet because Fish was such a great guy and awkward because Jenny was pretending to be Jessie the whole time. But I liked that Larkin had written the story so that Jenny had incorporated so much about her life into being Jessie. Sure she was using her name, but these people had completely lost touch with her for 13 years so Jenny was able to use details of her real life to explain what she had been up to all that time.If I had to complain about one major thing here it would be the pacing. A lot of the story felt like it was a bit dragged out and like the book could have used a bit of a page trim. I did enjoy reading the story, meeting the characters, and going on adventures with them but some of it began to feel tiring. I think all of it did serve its purpose though and had me come to really care about these people’s well beings, so at least there is a plus side. This reminded me of a plot you would see in a chick flick movie and is executed fairly well. If you are on the hunt for some good ol’ humerous and sweet chick lit, this could be the one for you!__You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.

  • Leah
    2019-04-20 18:36

    Allie Larkin’s debut novel, Stay, was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Although, if any author writes a novel with a dog I am generally guaranteed to love it because I love dogs. Show me a book I’ve hated with a dog, if you can! So I was quite hoping that Larkin’s second novel Why Can’t I Be You would be just as good as Stay, and would, perhaps, feature a dog. Because dogs just make books a better place. Heck, they make ANYTHING a better place just by being there. Sadly, dogs are at a minimum in Why Can’t I Be You, but it’s still an excellent novel (that would have been stratospheric if there were more dogs… I am joking, of course).I will admit, I spent quite a lot of Why Can’t I Be You wondering if Jenny was a secret nutter. What Jenny does is unequivocally wrong. It’s indefensible and it made me a bit confused as to how I felt about the book because of the questions it raised. Why would a person impersonate someone else? How would Jenny get herself out of the pickle she had found herself in? I think, however, that most of my unease is down to the unease that Jenny found herself feeling because, Jesus, you impersonate someone for so long and keep taking risks it’s going to be uneasy and stomach-churning and that’s how I felt for a lot of the novel. The relief I felt was immense when it all came out, it was like I could breath again and I was only reading about it!But, on thinking about it, I actually really enjoyed the novel. Larkin has given us such a wonderful group of people in Myra, Heather, Robbie and Fish, that you can absolutely, totally understand why Jenny gets caught up being Jessie. You just would, for the chance to have friends like those guys. And for a lonely kid like Jenny, who grew up like she did, feeling lost, abandoned, alone it’s surely like some sort of familial nirvana to have people care about you just for a little bit. So, in that respect, I totally got it. It’s the sort of book that you try really hard not to like the main character because what she’s doing is actually really wrong, but, actually you can’t because you just want to be her friend and show her love and give her a cuddle. I think it takes a really skilled writer to pull that off, and Larkin has. She has me questioning Jenny’s actions throughout, but never actually made me dislike Jenny which is a feat in itself.Why Can’t I Be You really did surprise me. I thought I wasn’t enjoying it, until I reached the end and the tension evaporated. So I didn’t dislike it, I was just really, really terrified for poor Jenny. Obviously, Jenny’s secret had to come out that she wasn’t really Jessie, but it was very well done. I thought the novel was just as satisfying as Stay, if not more so. Larkin’s writing has become better, I was hooked on the novel from page one, and just the atmosphere was what really made the book for me. Sometimes it can be a plot, sometimes characters, and in Why Can’t I Be You it was very much the characters. Jenny herself, but it’s those around her who make it worth the while who make you realise that in Jenny’s situation you would do the exact. same. thing. for friends like Myra, Heather, Robbie and Fish. I know I would. Easily. I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it, but be warned, it will mess with you, but in the end, trust me, it is soooooo worth it.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-07 23:39

    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.

  • Lelia Taylor
    2019-05-16 21:37

    I don’t often read what is often called “women’s fiction”, mainly because I spend so much of my reading time on genre fiction and also because I tend to resist that term and the other one that I find almost deprecating, “chick lit”. Let me say I have similar feelings about terms such as “men’s fiction”, especially when it’s portrayed as being so much more worthwhile than fiction for women. To me, it’s terribly short-sighted and demeaning to imply that women don’t enjoy stories that include action and violence and that men can’t enjoy tales with feelings and romance and even a little fluff. Years ago, a male customer in my bookstore announced very loudly that he never read anything by or about women because such books were not worth his time. I was appalled; his wife was clearly ashamed to be seen with him. I also had women customers who wouldn’t even try mysteries any more edgy than cozies. My point here is that this great divide is not just media flapping its gums but some readers also fall into their expected patterns.So what made me want to read Why Can’t I Be You? The description got my attention, the bit about pretending to be someone else because, be honest, who among us has not at some point wished to be someone else? I also liked the cover and, yes, I DO sometimes judge a book by its cover.I’m happy to say taking a chance on this was a great success. I really enjoyed this book, both the storyline and all the characters, every one of them, even the lout who dumped Jenny at the airport. Well, actually, there is one character I could not love but I’ll leave it up to you to ferret out which one that might be and how you connect to all these characters. My heart bled for Jenny, not so much because of her boyfriend’s behavior but for the real long-term pain in her life. I also understood how she could respond the way she did to the mistake Myra made because sometimes it’s just so much easier not to correct people’s errors, especially when it initially seems to be inconsequential.What really pulled me into this tale, though, was the relationship among these men and women who had not only maintained their friendship after high school but had nurtured it, allowing it to grow into real love from one to another. When Jenny becomes Jessie, that inconsequential response becomes very consequential indeed and the repercussions will have life-long effects.This is the first book by Allie Larkin I’ve read but it certainly won’t be the last. She is a writer who truly has a way with prose and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with her characters and their stories. Many men would also find this very appealing, especially the bonds between the men in the group and between Fish and his dad. When all is said and done, this is a story of taking a chance on possibilities and finding one’s self. I have to admit to rampant curiosity, though—why is there no question mark at the end of the title??Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2013.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-22 21:43

    I have a million galleys to catch up on, and I randomly selected this one the other day. I'm glad I did!Why Can't I Be You is chick-lit, but it's not completely stereotypical, which is great. Right from beginning, Jenny is dumped. On her way to the airport. For a trip that's supposed to finish with a romantic getaway with her boyfriend. To add insult to injury, not only is she being dumped, but her now ex-boyfriend is driving off with her suitcase. As all of the little unfortunate events pile up, Jenny is confused for Jessie at the beginning of a high school reunion, a woman who has been MIA for the past 13 years. Despite knowing she shouldn't, Jenny pretends to be Jessie and is introduced to her amazing group of high school friends. This goes on for about a week, until all hell breaks loose.Jessie's group of friends are incredible. I wish I had stayed as close with my high school friends, because this book made me miss them terribly. I was extremely jealous, but also just wanted more than anything to be apart of such a great group of people. I also really liked the fact that Jenny really questioned what she was doing, and really questioned who she was. She realized the past few years have made her into someone she's not, and by the end she was really searching for herself--which is ridiculously relevant at this point in life.I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining, funny, and kept me hooked. It's nothing earth-shattering and it won't lead to any sort of intellectual breakthrough, but it's well-written and a nice easy read. I was little disappointed with the fact that it was a cookie-cutter ending, but to be honest, I probably would've been more disappointed if it hadn't been. The only other complaint I have is that there were a couple of times where I was confused about whether she was acting as Jenny or Jessie. Also, the random flashbacks to growing up were a little overdone....but they also brought the two characters together so I can't hate it too much.Thanks, netgalley!

  • Hannah Fielding
    2019-05-09 20:38

    I was delighted to receive an advance copy of this contemporary women’s novel for review (if you prefer the word ‘chicklit’, it fits into this genre). What a warm, poignant, funny, engaging novel. I found it a refreshing change from the ‘fluffy’ women’s novels that abound; this one fits all the norms of the genre yet is much deeper and moving. I wondered whether I would find the plot – that a Jenny stumbles into pretending to be someone else – believable, and was pleased to find that I did. Poor Jenny; she is a character who invites empathy, lost as she is in her own identity and in a loneliness that she has always known.The characters in the book are well developed and likeable; I especially liked Jessie’s friends Myra and Robbie, who leap off the page they are so vivid. The love interest, Gilbert, is just what you want for Jenny, the true Jenny – a man who trains guide dogs for a living, hikes in the great outdoors and is unafraid to stand up for his beliefs. The plot kept me turning the pages, and without wanting to give much away, there are some moments when Jenny is really courageous that I was most affected by: as the plot unfolded I found myself rooting for Jenny more and more. This is a romance, but what I love about the book is that the core is Jenny’s development, rather than the development of the relationship, and the notion that you can only achieve that happy-ever-after once you’re being true to yourself. Overall, a hearty recommendation for this book. If you feel like a little ‘me time’ or need a book to lift your mood, this is one to read.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-16 18:44

    4.5 stars. THIS is how you do a girl with parents who don't love her goes on a business trip and finds herself and falls in love story (*looks very pointedly at Girl Before a Mirror*). I cringed at the lie Jenny gets herself entangled in pretending to be Jessie, but gosh, I don't really blame her for wanting to be Jessie. Myra, Robbie, Heather, and Fish were wonderful friends, the kind of friends I wish I had. The love interest works with dogs and is genuinely a nice, decent guy. I always say Rainbow Rowell writes marriage material men, and I'd have to say the same thing about Allie Larkin. I'd marry Fish in a heartbeat (HE TRAINS GUIDE DOGS FOR A LIVING). I really appreciated that the main plot of Jenny pretending to be Jessie, which just screams Hollywood crazy, ended up being believable and didn't have some outrageous happily ever after sort of ending. My complaints were kind of nit picky- some of the cultural references felt a bit old for a bunch of class of 1999 graduates and a lie blown out of proportion is not my favorite trope- it just gets frustrating to watch, I guess. But all in all, I would recommend this book and am really sad I've read all the Allie Larkin books now because I need more chick lit with depth and dogs and boys who like dogs.

  • Leggere A Colori
    2019-05-12 01:33

    L’idea di cambiare vita prima o poi è venuta in mente a tutti, per noi donne si dice che inizi tutto dal taglio di capelli e spesso è davvero così, ma al massimo abbiamo cambiato lavoro, casa, amici, fidanzato. Per fingersi qualcun altro bisogna davvero essere o degli psicopatici o dei disperati! Jenny, forse, è tutti e due… Si porta dietro l’isolamento che si è creata da bambina: per non confessare alle compagne di scuola che non può invitarle a casa perché sua madre è un’alcolista si auto confina in un’estrema solitudine fatta di libri e arte. Sulle pareti della sua camera non ci sono poster dei cantanti famosi o i collage fatti con le foto delle amiche, ma gli acquarelli di Antonia, Emma, Anne con la E, Jo March, Jane Eyre, Scout e Pip.(E se non sapete chi siano i suddetti personaggi correte a leggere nell’ordine Willa Cather, Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery, la Brontë, la Alcott, la Lee e il mitico Dickens. Un punto in più a tutti i libri che ci portano ad altri libri!)Continua a leggere su