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Why Can't I Be You, Allie LarkinReviewed by Melanie Kline

Jenny Shaw has never been on a business trip before. She has always pictured them as glamorous and exciting and since she and her boyfriend, Deagan (whom she just knows is going to propose or at the very least suggest that she move in with him) are leaving for a romantic week after the conference, Jenny is in extremely high spirits on the way to the airport. However, things just don’t turn out the way Jenny had hoped.

After leaving late, Deagan announces to Jenny that he needs to explore all the things he has in common with Faye, a woman he plays volleyball with. When Jenny gets out at the airport, Deagan promptly drives off, taking her suitcase with him in the trunk of the car. She cries her way through the flight and decides to treat herself to a nice lunch in the pub while on layover. Of course, they are out of the salmon once she has finally decided what to eat, she gets salad dressing all over her blouse, her flight is delayed and a bratty kid spits his gum in her hair.

Jenny is so frustrated, sad and lonely, that it makes perfect sense when a stranger yells “Jessie” across the hotel lobby and Jenny promptly returns the woman’s hug. Myra went to high school with a Jessie and mistakes Jenny for the best friend that up and disappeared after graduation.

Since Myra is running the high school reunion in the same hotel as Jenny’s conference, Jenny decides that it couldn’t hurt to play along just a little longer since she so desperately needs a friend. What Jenny doesn’t count on is that Jessie’s circle of friends is exactly what she has always dreamed of having and that it gets harder by the minute to extract herself from the lie and come clean. She just doesn’t want to hurt these people or give up the best friends she has ever known, even for such a short time.

Why Can’t I Be You is a heartwarming story. The chapters flew by and I truly felt Jenny’s pain when the truth finally came out and Jessie’s friends realized that she was a fake. I doubted the possibility of this story actually “pulling it off”, but it went far beyond that and I have to admit that had I been Jenny, I would probably have done exactly the same thing.

I completely recommend Why Can’t I Be You to anyone. It’s humorous, sad, uplifting; the range of emotions is endless and the prose is perfect.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.