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Why Can't I Be You
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Why Can't I Be You

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  2,119 Ratings  ·  362 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Plume
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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
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
Andi Winterfield
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Catherine McKenzie
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun read! Read it in one sitting.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
3,5 stars
I enjoyed this one. It was good and different. The end was sweet and the characters were likable.
I found many beautiful things in this book: friendships, true love, second chance love, new beginning…
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jamie Cook
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion there are two kinds of chick lit, the majority being the kind with ridiculous plots, one dimensional characters and sometimes crude humor. The other, more hard to come by chick-lit, is a well written story with relatable characters and a lot of heart...Why Can't I Be You was that kind of book for me. You still have to use your imagination for the plot of this book and 'just go with it' but I enjoyed it from beginning to end :)
Pauline Tilbe
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Queen Meega
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wishful thinking

Why Can't I Be you by Allie Larkin has such a great premise. Opting in to someone else's life when you're crashes and burns around you. Jenny goes to a conference and is mistaken for a woman named Jessie by a loving, fun group of misfits at their high school reunion. Jennie is so down about her own life and had trouble making and keeping friends, so this ready made family is something she desperately craves. While I liked many of the things the author did, there were too many coi
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book so good I finished it in one day! Perfect book to read the pool/beach. Interesting story line with great character development. The characters are immediately relatable and the writing has you hooked from the beginning.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Olga Godim
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mainstream
This review was originally published at StoryCircleBookReviews:

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
Jenni Arndt
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-ebook
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
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Lelia Taylor
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: full-reviews
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
Apr 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, adult-fiction
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
Hannah Fielding
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
Leggere A Colori
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gila Gila
Sep 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
You can't be me because then I'd have to kill myself and this week is already crazy busy.

I do not I will not I cannot believe,not for a half breath, that a tightly knit group of friends 'recognizes' one of their own from college days - that would be you, the imposter girl at the reunion - and continues to believe for about 250 pages that she most certainly is their old pal with whom they had bonded like family something like 6 years ago. Get out of here with that nonsense. Also, yet another book
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Boston Bookworms: Discuss: Why Can't I be You 1 6 May 20, 2014 07:26AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.13: Why Can't I Be You 9 48 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...
“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.” 6 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?” 3 likes
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