One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

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Emma Blair married her high school love Jesse Lerner. Together they built a life that revolved around their shared love for travel and adventure. They may be living in a crappy apartment, and broke most of the time. But they were together, and doing the things they have always planned on doing together. Ever since that drunken night in high school when he told her how much he hated swimming, and how much she hated working in her parents’ bookstore, Jesse and Emma always knew that they were meant to fall in love, stay together for a long time, and eventually get married. That’s exactly what they did, and life was perfect.

Until one day, it wasn’t. Just a day before their first wedding anniversary, Jesse flew to Alaska for a work assignment. The helicopter he was flying in crashed somewhere in the North Pacific, killing all four people on board. Jesse’s body was never found, and he was tragically presumed dead.

Losing the love of her life nearly drove Emma insane. The pain was nothing she’d ever known. Then she realized that if she let herself hurt every single day, she would waste away the best years of her life. She made the decision to leave California and move back to her hometown of Acton, Massachusetts, to start all over again.

And then just like that, she meets her old friend Sam Kemper. And then just like that, Emma finds herself feeling genuinely happy, alive, and in love again. So happy, alive, and in love that when Sam asked her to marry him, yes was the only possible answer. Sam was perfect, and life was perfect.

Until, again, it wasn’t. Three and half years since that fateful day, Jesse Lerner has been found and was finally on his way back home to her. Forced in an impossible situation, Emma finds herself with two wonderful men she both loves desperately, and who love her back just as much.

Can a person ever really have more than one true love? Should she be with the man that she has loved all her life, or should she be with the man who made her believe in love again? Does she want to be the Emma that Jesse has always known, or does she like this new version of herself that Sam helped her to become?

Like with any Taylor Jenkins Reid novel, this is an emotional tale from start to finish. I love that it’s a quiet and beautiful story, one that you don’t even realize how much it hurts to read and see the whole story unfold. It’s not your typical love triangle wherein you can easily hate one and then love the other. It feels so real, and it will make you wonder what you’ll even do if you were ever in the same situation. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy having two great loves in your life at the same time. But having to make a choice on who stays? How can you even?

There are so many takeaways in this book. I highlighted so many lines, because they are just so simple yet stunning words. Always so deep and emotional, raw and honest. It’s beautiful and sad and happy, with an ending that feels just right. I agree that true love doesn’t always last. Sometimes you only just have to experience it to know that it’s real. Consider yourself really lucky if you end up with your true love, but count yourself even luckier if you find it twice in one lifetime.

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Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Twenty-nine-year-old Hannah Martin has lived in more cities than a normal twenty-nine-year-old woman would in her lifetime. Too many cities to count, and with no solid roots formed or real memories to cherish. It had to take an affair with a married man and a lashing from his vicious wife to convince her to just move back home to Los Angeles. It would be wonderful to reconnect with everybody. Especially with best friend Gabby, and her parents who practically raised Hannah when she was in high school. The idea did not sound so bad at all. So move back to L.A. Hannah did.

One beautiful night in the town, out with old high school friends and one very special high school ex-boyfriend that she never really stopped loving, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads of sorts. She has no clue how this is about to change everything.

The repercussions of Hannah’s seemingly simple decision are laid out in alternating chapters. Two storylines occurring simultaneously: one, had Hannah chosen to leave the party early, and two, had Hannah decided to stay behind and spend the night with Ethan.

In both alternate realities, Hannah comes to terms with her decisions and deals with the consequences for her and the people in her life. She is forced to grow up, build a home, and make a life for herself, whether she likes to or not. And along the way, she finally finds the real meaning of what it’s like to really be home.

From the same author that gave us “Forever, Interrupted” and “After I Do” comes another delightfully different, soul-crushingly romantic, smart and intriguing love story. It’s about parallel universes in the most unscientific, most romantic, most feel-good way possible.

Like her two previous novels, “Maybe In Another Life” is brilliantly crafted, emotional, and thought provoking. It’s an honest portrayal of life and love, and all of their certainties and uncertainties. Reading it felt like there’s a life coach talking in there, hiding somewhere between the pages. You will love Hannah, as well as the people she loves, even possibly share her obsessive love for cinnamon rolls and messy hair buns. It’s a happy tale that tells you that no matter which road you take, what decision you make, or which guy you choose, love and happiness are possible. Everything is a possibility.

“Everything that is possible happens. That means that when you flip a quarter, it comes down heads and tails. Not heads or tails. Every time you flip a coin and it comes up heads, you are merely in the universe where the coin came up heads. There is another version of you out there, created the second the quarter flipped, who saw it come up tails. Every second of every day, the world is splitting further and further into an infinite number of parallel universes, where everything that could happen is happening. There are millions, trillions, or quadrillions, I guess, of different versions of ourselves living out the consequences of our choices. What I’m getting at is that I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me to somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.”