In Some Other World, Maybe by S. Goldhagen | E Reviews

In Some Other World Maybe by Shari GoldhaganIn Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 288
Target Audience: Adult
Keywords: Pop culture, missed connections, growing up, 90s
Format read: Copy from Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: It all starts with a movie based on a popular comic. That’s the only thing tying these characters from different places together in December 1992 but as these individuals go off to college and to pursue their “dreams” their lives connect and reconnect in unexpected, heartbreaking, and happy ways.

What if? What IF? I’ve been muttering these two words to myself like a semi-crazy person since I finished In Some Other World, Maybe last night. How many times do we say this phrase during our lives? Wish we said or did something we didn’t, knowing it could have made the difference or maybe not knowing and noticing years later that it could have. It’s frustrating and it hurts but if we didn’t make choices (whether it means letting it all out or keeping something to ourselves), we’d never move anywhere. We’d always be bolted in place.

There are a lot of characters in ISOWM. They all share a common thread: they have an affection for a sci-fi comic turned movie and throughout their lives, it still seems to pop up. (It’s kind of amazing but in this world of recycling material for nostalgia sake — so familiar.) Eons & Empires is that one thing that takes these characters back to a time when their life was on the brink, everything was just beginning. Adam leaving his single mother in Florida to go to NYU; Phoebe leaving her lovable boyfriend to try her luck in Hollywood; Sharon living in New York and still  haunted by her own “what if” when she skipped high school to see E&E.

In a world similar to Love Actually, the lives of these characters begin to intertwine — in Los Angeles, in New York, on a plane ride to Chicago — in really surprising ways. All I could think was: this was hard work on the author’s part. How did she make this work, and so believably? But she did. We see these people affecting each other momentously — relationships, sex, friendships — and then in smaller ones too. Bringing to life the bigger picture: we have no idea what small tiny thing is going to motivate and affect us.

It’s both amazing and scary to think about, isn’t it?

Truthfully, I haven’t felt this engrossed in a novel’s world in a long time. If I could have put my entire world on pause to read it, I would have. (Nonetheless, I finished in a little over a day.) It’s both lovely and heartbreaking how the lives of these characters click together and crack; the missed connections weighed on me so much. As an overthinker, I can’t help but retrace conversations and moments in an effort to find the sense in them, find out where the situation may have gone south. The intensity of that emotional rollercoaster was utterly palpable here; you would have thought I was living it myself.

This is one of those rare books I want to dive right back into, and stock up on copies to hand out to friends and family as gifts. The concept of connection and disconnect is so relatable — from the barista you see everyday to the person you’ve known your whole life and not to mention bonds constantly formed and fractured through social media platforms. We’re always one step, one decision away from our choose-your-own-adventure life. Do you go left or do you go right? In Some Other World, Maybe explores these complexities in the best, most thoughtful way.

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Why in 5: How to Tell Toledo… by Lydia Netzer

How to See Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia NetzerHow To Tell Toledo By the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer ( web | twitter )
Publication Date: 7/1/2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 339
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: fate, family, mothers/children, LGBT, science
Format read: Borrowed from the library. (Yay!)

Summary: Two mothers plan the births of their children, in hopes they grow up to be incredibly in love.

Let me jump right into this and say: beautiful cover and two very strong recommendations from Jess at Gone with the Words and Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader. I’m so glad I decided to take this book out of the library; it is by far one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long, long time.

Now on to the 5 reasons:

1. Do not be scared of the science. I was scared of the science. Both George and Irene use words that made my head want to explode, and I was scared it would have so much to do with the story that I would never get into it. Not the case at all. As you dig into the story, the science falls away and the humanity of the story takes centerstage. Made everything really click for me.

2. Love is complicated. George has been searching for his soulmate for a long, long time. He has no idea this person is Irene until Irene is suddenly stealing his lab at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy. You would think that her having a boyfriend would be the biggest complication for these two, but nope. As Netzer begins to weave in the story of George and Irene’s mothers, wow. It’s like a brand new dimension to the story appears and creates even more tension and complication.

3. This was surprisingly sexy. I’m sorry to scientists everywhere but I was just not expecting this book to be so sensual. Like very ohh-hot. Let me put it this way… chemistry is not only happening in the lab. Even though I didn’t predict it, Netzer beautifully folded all of these moments in and granted readers to the darkest desires of her characters. I appreciated that a lot.

4. Do you believe in fate? This would be a great candidate for a book club because wow — it’s kind of crazy what these two moms do to ensure their kids meet and fall and love. I loved this mystical element of the book; it made me wonder if it could work. (Don’t worry; I’m not going to try this out. haha) But how far can you push two humans who grow up so differently to get together? In what part of the equation do you let go of the reigns and see what happens? (It’s also a major shock to know someone had such control over your life. Just think about it.)

5. The writing is beautiful. In a book where you are balancing so much science, backstory, current story, the prose does not suffer at all. I can’t even tell you how much I loved George’s voice. He sounded so different than other male characters I’ve read. Sort of childlike but also very grownup at the same time, if that makes sense. I really enjoyed that combination.

A tip: How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky starts off slow, but once you get into the swing (took me to almost page 60) you won’t be able to think of anything else.

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