I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown

Published: April 26, 2022

Random House

Pages: 348

Genre: Psychological Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Janelle Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Things, Watch Me Disappear, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, and This Is Where We Live. An essayist and journalist, she has written for Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, Los Angeles Times, Salon, and more. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.

“You be me, and I’ll be you,” I whispered.

As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role.

But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years.

Sam hasn’t spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.

I’ll Be You shows Janelle Brown at the top of her game: a story packed with surprising revelations and sharp insights about the choices that define our families and our lives—and could just as easily destroy them.

“…it was already the beginning of the end.”

Sam and Ellie are identical twins who have lived quite a life. First, being discovered by an agent on the beach, two starring in television shows as young adults, to growing up and growing apart. Sam fell into addiction at a young age. The demands of being a young Hollywood actor took their toll. Ellie went the traditional path- college and falling in love, and getting married. When their paths cross again, it’s after a year passes, and the changes are immense. Now, the sisters realize how much they need each other to move on. To right the wrongs of their lives and finally find forgiveness and accept redemption.

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This was an intense ride from page one. I loved everything about this novel.

The characters were so beautifully written. I loved how clear it was that while Sam and Ellie were mirror images of each other, they were very different people. I found the balance between being a single unit and two separate individuals well represented.

I loved the twists in this book. They come up so smoothly and slap you in the face. The premise of terrifying because this happens.

The aspects of this book are fiction, but their type of behavior happens and sucks people in. The charisma, charm, and desire to be accepted. Wanting to find our tribe and yet are preyed upon when we are at our most vulnerable. Powerful stuff.

I loved the concept of being an identical twin and how easy it is to trade places. Yet the complexity that comes with being able to ultimately assume another humans persona-the weight of being someone else even for a brief time. How consuming yet addicting that can be.

What starts are harmless fun quickly leads to disaster. This was impossible to put down and brilliantly delivered. I could not devour this novel fast enough. I found the twist at the end of part one so well placed- I did not see it coming.

I loved the alternating narrators between the parts, and I enjoyed how each of the characters was given a voice to be their own. This was a fantastic book, and I am excited to recommend it.

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