Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review - SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else's Love Story
By:  Joshilyn Jackson


At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.

Slow start…a VERY slow start, but stay with it, you won’t be disappointed.

I almost gave up on this novel several times. It was very slow and dragged on and on, not to mention the main female character was a total twit in the beginning. But somewhere about half-way in, it gained momentum and I hung on for a thrilling, satisfying ending.

We’re introduced to Shandi Pierce, a single mother to Natty, a three-year-old genius. She’s also a full-time student and as the story begins, she and her best friend, Walcott (a man) are making the two-hour trek to move closer to her college. Stopping for gas and snacks along the way turns out to be the worst (and best) decision of her life. She and her son Natty are caught in the cross fire of a robbery gone bad.

Enter William Ashe, Shandi’s “protector” who she affectionately names “Thor.” Will is also caught in the midst of the botched robbery at the Circle K. He is quiet and aloof and you just don’t know what shelf to put him on in the beginning…great romantic hero or oblivious geek. But their meeting and subsequent relationship is where my biggest problem with the beginning of this book lies.

I ask you this…if you are staring down the barrel of a gun with a crazy, cracked-out robber at the trigger and your scared three-year-old boy by your side, are you fantasizing about a man held captive next to you, about how bad you want to have hot sex with him, about how, without one spoken word between you two, you believe he is your soulmate? Yeah, me neither, but that’s exactly what Shandi does. And her inner dialogue goes on forrrr-eeee-vvvver. I can’t tell you how many times I almost gave up on this book all because Shandi was obsessed with a man she didn’t even know, oh yeah, and a robbery is going on in the middle of her delusions. Yes, Will was protecting her child, but come on…shouldn’t she be obsessing about saving her own son and herself, about how to escape. Instead she’s dreaming about having hot sex with him, about having a happily-ever-after with a man she doesn’t even know. Really? But I digress…let’s get on to what I did like.


While the plot was slow to develop, thank God it finally did. And when it did it blossomed into something amazing. The characters were much deeper than Joshilyn Jackson alluded to in the beginning. Their back stories were heart-breaking and undeniably real. On the outside Will may seem like an anti-social Brainiac, but underneath you learn the back story of his life that may break your heart (it did mine).

Joshilyn was able to weave together Shandi and Will’s characters and their stories in a way that had you both loving and hating them, not knowing from page to page how you wanted their love story to turn out. And here is where the title takes shape, Someone Else’s Love Story.

Joshilyn expertly worked in the supporting characters to the plot of the novel, Walcott and Paula (Shandi and Will’s best friends respectively). Both have protected their friends for years, and all though at times you want to slap them both, Walcott and Paula are integral to the story and before the end, you’re championing for all four of them, for an ending you don’t see coming.


The beginning for sure. Shandi is an immature girl stuck on having a fairy tale ending to her life, complete with a Thor-like prince, all while staring at a gun held by a crackhead in the middle of a robbery gone bad. Her unrealistic dreams of being with Will border on obsessive and several times during the book I questioned her moral and ethical behavior. But alas, all good book heroines have a back story that helps you understand their self-obsessed ways, and Shandi is no exception. I’m so glad I stayed with Shandi until the end because her story was monumental and more than redeeming. Within the covers of this novel, Shandi grew up.

If you like slow beginnings, if you’re a patient reader (which I’m not) then you’ll love this. But if you’re like me, a cut-to-the-chase kind of gal who hates flighty female characters, I encourage you to stick with this novel. You won’t be disappointed.

I really wanted to give this novel a 5 star review, but because of the slow start and Shandi’s immature, twitty behavior in the beginning, I just couldn’t.

PLOT: 4.5


About the Author:

New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is the author of gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and most recently, SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, twice been a #1 Book Sense Pick, and three times been shortlisted for the Townsend prize. A former actor, Jackson reads the audio versions of her novels; her work in this field has been nominated for the Audie Award, was selected by AudioFile Magazine for their best of the year list, and garnered two Listen Up Awards from Publisher’s Weekly.

She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband, their two children, and way too many feckless animals. 

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