The Other Me
By Sarah Zachrich Jeng
Author Website: sarahzj(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro
Her birthday should be like any other night.
One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She’s got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she’s married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.
Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly’s search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him—including a connection to a mysterious tech startup—tells her she shouldn’t. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.
But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can’t figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything. (Goodreads)
The Other Me is a thrilling mystery with a touch of sci-fi that had me putting the pieces to this puzzle along with Kelly. The book begins with Kelly celebrating her birthday and Linnea’s, her best friend, gallery opening. Both events have Kelly stressed out. It’s her thirtieth birthday and she feels as if she hasn’t achieved the level of success as Linnea’s. Not feeling well, Kelly runs to the restroom and opens the door into another life.
This is when as a reader, I am as confused as the main character, and don’t know what just happened. My initial theories were: 1) Kelly fainted and her other life is a dream, 2) Kelly being an artist and living in Chicago is a dream, 3) Kelly has always been married to Eric, but somehow she’s been brainwashed, she could have even been the AI.
As the story progresses, things start to make sense as Kelly tries to unravel the mystery of her alternate life. She becomes more suspicious of Eric as she learns to read his overprotective and anxious personality. After Kelly takes a trip to Chicago, in the hopes of finding more about what happened to her, Eric questions where she goes or what she does, and installs a tracker on her. Kelly also starts having more and more déjà vu symptoms. Memories of her Chicago persona and her Michigan house wife reality begin to shift as she has memories of past events difficult to pin down.
When Kelly finally realizes what happened and how, she has slight second thoughts of staying in her current life. She is told that if the App that caused everything gets fixed, she won’t remember her alternate life and go along with the new one. I was worried she was going to stay with Eric even if he had cheated his way into her life. He loved her a little too much, so it was interesting to see how Kelly forgave him at the end. Once the time lines were restored, it did give Kelly the opportunity to take her life in a slightly different direction. She kept her dream of being a painter and accomplishing a career out of it, so it was nice to see her push herself to be better than before and take risks.
The Other Me is a thrilling book about what your life could have been like if you had said yes to that one person that asked you out in high school, or if you had gone to a different college than what you had intended. The slightest decision made differently can change everything in your future. Kelly experienced it and learned from it. Definitely recommend this book.