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Why Can't I Be You

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,677 ratings  ·  316 reviews
At one time or another, everyone has wished she could be someone else. Exploring this universal longing, Allie Larkin follows up the success of her debut novel, Stay, with a moving portrait of friendship and identity.

When Jenny Shaw hears someone shout “Jessie!” across a hotel lobby, she impulsively answers. All her life, Jenny has toed the line, but something propels he
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Plume
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Somehow, I feel that I’ve outgrown chick-lit ages ago (it’s funny how I’ll never really outgrow YA, though), but when an opportunity arose to review Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin, I felt an immediate connection and jumped at the chance to do so. There was something about the retro-looking cover that pulled me in right away, and the idea of stepping into someone else’s shoes so completely both thrilled and intrigued me.

Who of us wouldn’t want to be someone else, at least for a day? There we
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Rainbow
Allie Larkin writes romantic comedies that read like great Sanda Bullock movies. I liked this one even better than Stay. And I liked Stay A LOT.
Andi Winterfield
Mar 03, 2013 Andi Winterfield rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: bestof2013
I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin. I absolutely loved this book & it was impossible to put down! I felt a strong connection to the main character Jenny Shaw, because of things she deals with in this book. Some of it was so familiar & so heartbreaking that I found myself wishing I could give her a hug.

Even though Jenny is pretending to be Jessie Morgan, she fits in seamlessly with all of her friends. Myra is so much fun & Robbie is beyon
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Maggie
I really, really, really loved this book. I used to read a lot of chick lit, which I feel this falls into, but I've mostly replaced that with YA lately and haven't missed it. That said, I am so happy I decided to read this one.

At first I was kind of skeptical that a group of people could mistake a stranger for someone they have known since childhood. But as I read the story it made sense. They haven't seen Jessie for 13 years and they parted on bad terms, but still tried to track her down. I gue
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Catherine McKenzie
Such a fun read! Read it in one sitting.
Jennifer
Why Can't I Be You is a standalone novel written by author Allie Larkin. In this book, the main character Jenny Shaw assumes someone else's life when she is mistaken for "Jessie". Jessie has been missing from her social circle for the past thirteen years and apparently Jenny and Jessie look so much alike that Jenny just picks up where Jessie left off. Although this book is intended to be entertaining, I just couldn't get past the very predictable consequences that were bound to happen at any mom ...more
Claire
Put Allie Larkin's second novel on your to-read shelf! She's a fabulous author, and if you haven't yet discovered her first novel, STAY, you have time to read that one while you wait for WHY CAN'T I BE YOU. (Plume/Feb. 26, 2013.)

Fun, smart, charming, and heartbreakingly honest, WHY CAN'T I BE YOU takes its title from a hit song from the English rock band The Cure. It's the story of Jenny Shaw, who has spent her life trying to be all things to all people. On the way to the airport for business tr
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Suzanne
What would you do if you could suddenly become someone else? When Jenny Shaw is mistaken for another women, Jessie Morgan, while on a business trip, she decides to go with it as a way to escape her life for a few days. What she doesn't realize starting out is how connected she will become to the people who think she is "Jessie Morgan," or what it will do in terms of helping her find focus and direction in her life. I loved this book, and it really gives you a lot to think about in terms of ident ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Allie Larkin's latest book Why Can't I Be You? has just released and I have to tell you - I absolutely adored it!

Jenny Shaw thinks she has a pretty good life. She doesn't love her job, but she thinks she's pretty good at it. And it looks like she's finally getting some recognition - she's being sent to a conference by her boss. Well, okay it's because her boss can't attend. And she's pretty sure her relationship with her boyfriend Deagan is about to go to that next level.....

And it does, only i
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Pauline Tilbe
I gave this book 5 stars because it's good. It's a great read, good chick-lit. But it has great characters, they evolve through the story. The best thing about this story is Allie Larkin says some pretty important things. This story is about having people in our lives-family and friends-and wanting them to be a certain way. Most times, people can't live up to our expectations but we want them in our life so much that we change ourselves to maintain the relationship. Jenny has this issue with sev ...more
Lynne
Imagine that your life just kinda sucked at the moment and you were given the chance to take on another person's identity. That's exactly what happens in this book. Obviously we get to know Jenny and realize that she isn't doing this in a mean-spirited way. After all, she honestly thought someone had called out "Jenny" from across the hotel lobby ... when in fact they thought it was "Jessie" - a long-lost friend. So begins the adventures of Jenny aka Jessie. Jenny goes from being down and out to ...more
Delee
After reading a few dark, depressing books in a row, I really needed to read something light and fun. WHY CAN'T I BE YOU hit the mark for me perfectly!

Jenny Shaw has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She feels disconnected from her family, her job, her one friend...and her cat. While on a business trip Jenny is mistaken for someone named Jessie and jumps at the chance to become somebody else for awhile. Jenny/Jessie juggles both lives, attending the three day work conference as Jenny, and a 13
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Camie
When Jenny Shaw is mistaken for a long lost highschool friend, she takes the opportunity to exchange lives with Jessie Morgan, with whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Since things have not been going that great in her life, she enjoys the opportunity and intrigue of being warmly embraced by Jessie's old friends who are attending a high school reunion and accept her unconditionally . A cute story about friendship and a glance at what it would be like to step into someone else's life. A perfec ...more
Lara
Mar 02, 2013 Lara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
This might be short bc I'm typing it on my phone while cuddling a toddler, but I just had to say I really enjoyed this book. I don't read a lot of "women's fiction" or "chick lit" anymore, and that's kind of a shame because I forget how enjoyable and un-crappy it can be. Sure, this book is light, and sure, it requires some suspension of disbelief, but it also involves well-developed characters, an interesting plot, and made wake up this morning missing everyone from the book. I definitely recomm ...more
Leggere A Colori
L’idea di cambiare vita prima o poi è venuta in mente a tutti, per noi donne si dice che inizi tutto dal taglio di capelli e spesso è davvero così, ma al massimo abbiamo cambiato lavoro, casa, amici, fidanzato. Per fingersi qualcun altro bisogna davvero essere o degli psicopatici o dei disperati! Jenny, forse, è tutti e due… Si porta dietro l’isolamento che si è creata da bambina: per non confessare alle compagne di scuola che non può invitarle a casa perché sua madre è un’alcolista si auto conf ...more
Elizabeth
4.5 stars. THIS is how you do a girl with parents who don't love her goes on a business trip and finds herself and falls in love story (*looks very pointedly at Girl Before a Mirror*). I cringed at the lie Jenny gets herself entangled in pretending to be Jessie, but gosh, I don't really blame her for wanting to be Jessie. Myra, Robbie, Heather, and Fish were wonderful friends, the kind of friends I wish I had. The love interest works with dogs and is genuinely a nice, decent guy. I always say Ra ...more
Myrna
I like a little mystery in the books I read so when Jenny pretends to be someone else I had to find out how it was all going to unravel. Allie Larkin did a great job. I thought this book was going to be a typical predictable, funny book but it wasn't. It was more about friendships and finding oneself. I'm sad it's over.
Leah
Allie Larkin’s debut novel, Stay, was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Although, if any author writes a novel with a dog I am generally guaranteed to love it because I love dogs. Show me a book I’ve hated with a dog, if you can! So I was quite hoping that Larkin’s second novel Why Can’t I Be You would be just as good as Stay, and would, perhaps, feature a dog. Because dogs just make books a better place. Heck, they make ANYTHING a better place just by being there. Sadly, dogs are at a minimum in Why ...more
Jenni Arndt
Let’s be honest here, the cover isn’t what sold me on reading Why Can’t I Be You. No folks, this is an elusive, practically unheard of case of me reading a blurb for a book and wanting to read it based on that. I can hear your collective gasp at the fact that I read the blurb for this book, I is growing up! I’m happy that I read the blurb and didn’t just write the book off for the cover because I did end up enjoying the novel quite a bit. Now, I can’t say that I loved it but the story was really ...more
Debbie
Review originally posted on TALK SUPE


Although I have been reading a lot of contemporary novels over the last year, I have yet to read any chick lit. Allie Larkin's WHY CAN'T I BE YOU is my first venture into this genre in years and I have to say that I enjoyed reading this book so much.

I'm sure this thought has come through all of our minds at point or another but have you ever wished you could have a different life or start over? That is exactly what happens to Jenny Shaw when goes off to her v
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Hannah Fielding
I was delighted to receive an advance copy of this contemporary women’s novel for review (if you prefer the word ‘chicklit’, it fits into this genre).

What a warm, poignant, funny, engaging novel. I found it a refreshing change from the ‘fluffy’ women’s novels that abound; this one fits all the norms of the genre yet is much deeper and moving. I wondered whether I would find the plot – that a Jenny stumbles into pretending to be someone else – believable, and was pleased to find that I did. Poor
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Sarah
I have a million galleys to catch up on, and I randomly selected this one the other day. I'm glad I did!

Why Can't I Be You is chick-lit, but it's not completely stereotypical, which is great. Right from beginning, Jenny is dumped. On her way to the airport. For a trip that's supposed to finish with a romantic getaway with her boyfriend. To add insult to injury, not only is she being dumped, but her now ex-boyfriend is driving off with her suitcase.

As all of the little unfortunate events pile up
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Olga Godim
This review was originally published at StoryCircleBookReviews:
http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org...


A solid, expressive book, a blend of literary and chic lit. On one hand, the novel is easy to read; the narrative flows gently, without the false pretense of being only for the cultured elite. On the other hand, the story examines the bottomless question of identity, which has puzzled philosophers and writers from the beginning of the written word.
The protagonist Jenny is searching for hersel
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Lelia Taylor
I don’t often read what is often called “women’s fiction”, mainly because I spend so much of my reading time on genre fiction and also because I tend to resist that term and the other one that I find almost deprecating, “chick lit”. Let me say I have similar feelings about terms such as “men’s fiction”, especially when it’s portrayed as being so much more worthwhile than fiction for women. To me, it’s terribly short-sighted and demeaning to imply that women don’t enjoy stories that include actio ...more
Andrea
In a statement that will surprise no one, Why Can't I Be You? is a story of identity. I'm not talking about mistaken identity, though that scenario is what sets the whole story rolling. At the heart of the book is a young woman been alone almost her entire life, desperate to belong: to someone, to something, anywhere. An impulsive decision leads Jenny down a path self-discovery, and leads her to where she belonged all along.

I know what you must be thinking. How in the world could old friends mi
...more
Charlotte
http://charlotteswebofbooks.blogspot....

Why Can't I Be You was a really fun novel to read. Even though she wasn't exactly truthful with Myra and the gang, Jenny is a really great character. I could relate to her with her jack-ass boyfriend dumping her. And I could also relate to her with the desire for that close knit group of friends - her desire to BELONG to something outweighed her common sense, but I could totally see why she did what she did. There was also a lot of MY memories stirred up w
...more
BookLover
While reading this book, I felt like I had stepped back into the 90’s and a ROM COM movie. It was awesome!

Jenny was a super likeable character. She is very down n her luck and down on herself. When she is mistaken for someone else, she inexplicably “goes with it” and attends her look-a-like’s high school reunion. I was constantly cringing, wondering when the truth would come out.



As Jenny got more and more attached to her “high school friends”, I got more and more attached to Jenny and her comp
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Lindsey
Sometimes it's really fun to read a book set in your hometown. But when major details are so dramatically wrong, it's kind of grating (I mean really - hanging out in "downtown Mt Si?" There isn't a town called Mt Si. It's a mountain in a town called North Bend. And going to the beach in Seattle to throw rocks into the ocean? The ocean is like 3 hours away!)

Other than that, though, it was a relatively enjoyable, albeit predictable, story.
Sheila
I'd read an article describing Twin Peaks as one of the best shows of the 90s and I'm thinking with competition like Cheers, Friends, & Seinfeld I better check it out. So 23 yrs after it airs I see the pilot... (it's a bit odd but intriguing, so I've decided to watch more). Then I pick up this book, which is great by the way, and early on the narrator mentions who killed Laura Palmer (forehead smack).
But to the book.... I wasn't sure how the author would pull off a plausible story of mistak
...more
Tonya
This was a very enjoyable read.

Jenny has just been dumped by her boyfriend, right at the moment she thought he was going to propose. Her best friend is upset since Jenny was picked for the work conference in Seattle over her, and her luggage didn't make the trip. When checking in at the hotel a woman screamed Jessie and grabbed her in a hug. It's a case of mistaken identity, but when was the last time someone was so happy to see Jenny?

We've all wanted to switch places with someone else at some
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Boston Bookworms: Discuss: Why Can't I be You 1 5 May 20, 2014 07:26AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.13: Why Can't I Be You 9 47 Apr 02, 2014 12:42AM  
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Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Stay, and Why Can’t I Be You (2013). She has never ordered a dog off the internet or assumed a new identity to attend a high school reunion. When Allie writes, she wears an oversized circa 1980’s acrylic sweater that is a crime against fashion and good taste in general. She loves Boston. The band, not the city. But the city is gre ...more
More about Allie Larkin...
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“We checked ourselves in the mirror before we left. We were flushed and a little rumpled, but in a good way. We looked vibrant, wild, happy. The hair and the clothes and the makeup made me feel like someone new, but the happy is what made me unrecognizable.” 4 likes
“It's hard to look at it like that, isn't it? Because if you can be a better parent than the ones you had, you have to face the fact that your parents had that choice too. If you're not fated to be an awful parent, they weren't either. And," I said feeling my throat tighten, "it's easier to believe that we're all just [f*'d] than it is to know there are choices." I rubbed my hands together to try to get my fingers to warm up. "It hurts less to think they couldn't have done any better than they did, doesn't it?” 2 likes
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