Title: The Other Me
Author: Sarah Zachrich Jeng
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
Page Count: 352
My rating: 5 stars
About the book:
Two lives. The one you wanted. The one that wanted you.
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…
The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng is a science fiction thriller. This one brings to mind things like Tom Hank’s in Big or Freaky Friday where characters wake up in a different bodies but this thriller is a woman finding herself in a completely different reality.
Kelly is celebrating her birthday at a friend’s art gallery opening when she begins to feel strange. Kelly heads to the ladies room at the gallery but as she passes through the doorway she finds she stepped into a restaurant in her hometown where her whole family is gathered to celebrate her birthday with her.
Some of the people around Kelly she hasn’t seen in years seeing that Kelly had left for art school right after she graduated. Then there is Eric who now seems to think he is Kelly’s husband. Eric had been in high school with Kelly but they hadn’t been more than friends. As Kelly takes in her new surroundings she finds she now has memories of two different lives and can’t figure out how she landed in this new reality.
So I admit I’m a sucker for this type of story where a protagonist finds their life completely turned upside down whether it’s a wish to be “big” or another occurrence like we find here. The fact that our protagonist here had no wish for her life to change kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to discover how and why it had happened and taking in all of the changes around her as she discovered them. The ending to this one was rather thought provoking too after spending time in Kelly’s shoes during the story. I was rather surprised to learn that this had been a debut novel for the author so I will definitely be on the look out for more from her in the future after completely enjoying this first.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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