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The Opposite of Everyone

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  8,749 ratings  ·  1,279 reviews
A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else's Love Story and gods in Alabama - an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our l ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by William Morrow
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Courtney
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
sublimosa This is an exquisite and beautifully written story. I don't think it would be suited for most pre-teen boys. There is sexual content (although not…moreThis is an exquisite and beautifully written story. I don't think it would be suited for most pre-teen boys. There is sexual content (although not graphic) and adult language. It is an unapologetic look at life in the world of a child with a free spirited, short sighted and self centered mother. The main character grows up being carted around the south with her mother who flits from boyfriend to boyfriend. The child ends up in a group home for a year. The characters are fierce and flawed and complicated. The main character has a lot of ethnic diversity and experiences prejudice because of it as well as her peripatetic childhood. In the story, she learns that she short changes people from other backgrounds and experiences maybe as much as she has been short changed herself. I've read almost all of Joshilyn Jackson's books and this one, for me, is her masterpiece.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.91  · 
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 ·  8,749 ratings  ·  1,279 reviews


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Will Byrnes
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I was born blue.
If my mother hadn’t pushed me out quick as a cat, I would have been born dead and even bluer; her cord was wrapped tight around my neck. She looked at my little blue lips, my blue toes and baby fingers, and she named me after Kali, Kali Jai.
and so begins the story of Kali Jai, whose grandmother accidentally-on-purpose misheard the instructions KJ’s mother gave her before they locked her back up in juvie, and filled out a birth certificate with the name Paula Jane Vauss inste
...more
Angela M
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have read my share of books about dysfunctional families and this is right up there with the best (or worst) of them depending on the perspective you take. I've also felt that lump in my throat and knot in my gut when reading a particularly tough and gritty story involving children and this one of those stories too .

From the beginning I liked Paula Vauss , a smart , tough, divorce lawyer. Early on as is revealed by the experiences of her past , it was hard to imagine how she made it. She did
...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest, it took me a little to warm up to this book. Paula is a kick ass lawyer, she takes no prisoners and wins huge settlements for her clients. Yet, she was not always so successful. When she was younger, she and her hippie style mother traveled, usually from one man to the next. Her mother was a great storyteller, mixing tales filled with Southern folklore mixed with Hindu beliefs. She always believed in her Mother's love though until she makes a serious mistake and it costs them bot ...more
Joshilyn Jackson
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
COMING IN JANUARY 2016

The Opposite of Everyone

Paula Vauss grew up close to homeless, on the road with her free-wheeling, hippie mother. Kai was a roving storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history every year. When she was eleven, Paula told the wrong truth at the wrong time, sending her mother to prison and landing herself in foster care. Paula hasn’t seen her mother for fifteen years, but this is a Karmic debt; she’s still making all kinds of
...more
Candi
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This was my first Joshilyn Jackson novel and while I was fairly well entertained, I didn’t fall head over heels with this one. It’s a story about a dysfunctional family with a cast of interesting characters and a dash of Hindu mythology. Paula Vauss is a high-powered divorce attorney living in Atlanta. She has commitment issues and a heap of guilt about a many-years rift in her relationship with her mother. This split between mother and daughter wasn’t always there. Paula, named Kali Jai at birt ...more
Esil
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ew
I would happily plagiarize Diane S's review of The Opposite of Everyone. She pretty much summed up my reaction. When I first started reading The Opposite of Everyone, I had a wavering feeling -- I didn't quite feel engaged and I had a sense that I was embarking on something a bit formulaic. But somewhere in the middle, the characters and story really hooked me and my gut got engaged -- big time. And by the end, I had tears streaming down my cheeks, and I wasn't ready for the book to end. I don't ...more
Elyse Walters
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
UPDATE....
And FIRST REVIEW.... anything that was here before has been erased ....I had only mentioned the $1.99 special - which is over

The following members are part of the Monthly discussion group beginning Oct.1st:
Candi, Sara, Susan, Karen, Dorie, Cheri, Melissa, Tracy, Marie, SenoraG, Terry, and myself.
It's not too late to join. Love to have anyone else who wants to participate in this books discussion.

As for my review... 3 stars
I never felt a strong connection to the story. I read it clos
...more
Cheri
Before reading this, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the twist in Joshilyn Jackson’s “change” from her usual fare to this seemingly different story. I put off reading it for most of this year. I’ve been trying to find time to catch up and finally read some of these actual books lying around, and I’m so glad I did in this case.

The story alternates timeframes, from Kali Jai’s days of childhood, to her years as a Divorce Attorney who goes by Paula Vauss. Her grandmother claimed she misheard t
...more
♡ Kim ♡
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, giveaway-wins, i-own
I absolutely, positively, without a doubt, loved this book!
Karen
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this story of Paula (Kali). She is a tough lawyer who started off with a hard life born to a woman who was quite eccentric.
Many happenings in this book of a dysfunctional family..
My favorite character was Zach Birdwine!!!
BookLover
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story, full of imperfect and damaged characters. The story was beautiful and heartbreaking and underneath the surface, full of hope. Such a great read!
Bianca
4.5 stars

The Opposite of Everyone engrossed me more and more as I got deeper into the story. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I didn't bother to read the blurb before I got stuck into it.

Our narrator is Paula Vauss, a mid-thirties, successful, divorce lawyer. She is the stereotypical successful lawyer: cut-throat, manipulative, determined. She's got a softer side to her, but she's good at hiding it, even from herself. Also, Paula has a big aversion to commitment, not hard to grasp why, as Paula
...more
Britany
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, bookriot
Paula Vauss is an ass kicking attorney. She takes no prisoners and has a Southern accent to boot. She was raised with a crazy mother, one filled with stories of Hindu Mythology and a laundry list of boyfriends. Paula aka Kali Jai ended up in foster care, learning how to take care of herself. Suddenly, a surprise sibling shows up on her doorstep and her monthly check to her mother gets returned-- this starts out the personal investigation that will change Paula's life as she "thought" she knew it ...more
Jen
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel took me by surprise. I was looking for a lighter read, as I've been reading some heavier ones, and this delivered. However, I wouldn't consider this 'light' by any means - serious themes of abandonment, dysfunctional families, dishonesty. Jackson lured me in with her Hindu stories within the story - how the protagonist got her name, Kai, for the blue skinned goddess of destruction and also because the umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck at birth. We learn of her upbringing ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-have
This novel grabbed me in the first few pages and I had trouble putting it down. Not only is Joshilyn Jackson an accomplished writer, she is entertaining and imaginative.
Written in first person, Attorney Paula Vauss, aka Kali Jai, leads us down a winding lane of chaos, intermingling sadness, happiness, loss, redemption, love and family transformation along the way. From the days of traveling with her wild eccentric Mother to the lonely days of state placement to the "love 'um and leave 'um" life
...more
☮Karen
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Britany
Life is full of surprises, some good some bad. Paula Vauss has had her share of both, now working as a very successful Atlanta attorney. More surprises, two in particular, are brought to fore and Paula has some life choices to make.

The characters are vibrant and the dialogue funny, honest, and three-dimensional. Paula, like most of this author's female protagonists, is determined and strong -- "kick-ass" describes her perfectly. The flashbacks to her very unconventional, free-spirited mother wer
...more
Dana
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
The Opposite of Everyone is a Southern-based story with a mix of Hindu mythology brilliantly written and read by author Joshilyn Jackson (audio version). It’s a story of love, loyalty, forgiveness and hope.
I loved these broken, dysfunctional characters. I laughed and cried and didn’t want the book to end. It is my first Joshilyn Jackson book, but won’t be my last! She is a wonderful storyteller and narrator.
4.5 ★
Judy Collins
4.5 Stars ----Whether you are a first timer or an avid fan of sassy, Joshilyn Jackson (I happen to be the latter, having read all her books), you can expect several things:

Southern, witty, dysfunctional, emotional, out-of-the box, strong characterization and an unstoppable female main character. Jackson never fails to tackle and deliver highly-charged topics, infused with enough wit, sarcasm, and humor, to balance the dark heavy themes.

"No one does Southern better."

THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
...more
DeB MaRtEnS
3.5 stars. I have pretty much absolutely loved everything written by Joshilyn Jackson. She has created some strong, difficult and, for me, deeply relatable characters in her novels about the complicated, yet familiar lives of Southern women.

The Opposite of Everyone has her characteristically well drawn plot, peopled with individuals whose lives have taken unexpected turns. It's a good story, neatly resolved and had me comparing her to Heather Gudenkauf whose newest books I've enjoyed with an in
...more
Kristie
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, for_review, fiction
What a great story. I was engaged the whole time and although some parts were predictable, there were also parts that were surprising. I absolutely loved the end, meaning how it ended, but also the way it was written. The last 2 pages or so tipped this book into 5 star territory for me.
Read In Colour
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rarely does Joshilyn Jackson do anything wrong. (I forgive her for her last book, which I really didn't care for.) Loved this story line, loved the characters, loved that the main character is of color & not in some pandering way. She knocks it out of the ballpark again.
Deanna
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It may be that my favorite Joshlyn Jackson novel is always the one I just finished. I hesitated to start this one for some reason. The description set me back a bit, but I found this one as satisfyingly and well executed as any of her novels and maybe a little more.
Lisa
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
[3+] I needed an involving novel with a happy ending and this novel delivered. I liked the gritty heroine and didn't mind that it was a bit formulaic.
Victoria
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read, I thought it was going to be a bit lighter fare and was surprised to find depth within its pages. The author has created vivid characters with damaged, yet lovable personalities. The main character, Paula, is my kind of gal, whip smart and sarcastic. And in the supporting cast, the grizzled, substantially flawed private investigator, Birdwine, proves a perfect counterpart to her polish, a standout in this cast of many. These characters and the story immediately pull ...more
Donna
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. This is the fifth one I've read by this author. I enjoy her writing. I think what I like most about her books is how she peels the layers off of her characters to reveal the underside and sometimes that isn't pretty, but it has impact. I didn't particularly like Paula, the MC in this book, but she eventually grew on me and I felt I understood her and where she came from.

I also liked the depth of this author's stories. Just when I think this is a nice story, she takes it one st
...more
Anna
Gosh, this was so good! And to think that in the beginning I even thought of giving up the book, because I didn't like Kali/Paula, the protagonist. She was such a sharp-edged bitch. But we get to know her better, see that there are layers to her character, and midway through the story we even start to care about her.
“I had spent my whole life hungry for forgiveness. It had not come, so I didn’t know firsthand what he was feeling. But I had imagined it, over and over. I’d wanted it so bad. I’d w
...more
Sara
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not great, but not bad. Quick and easy read.
Review to follow.

The longer I thought about this book, the less I liked it. It was a book that I wouldn't have given that second thought to, but I was discussing it in a buddy read...so, it got that extra reflection. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't bother.
Brenda - Traveling Sister
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Opposite of Everyone is an intriguing and gritty story with flawed characters each of them holding their own secrets. Paula Vauss is a strong and tough lawyer who is damaged and guarded with a sympathetic side to her. I like that the story is told alternating between past and present tense. From the backstory, we are able to understand why she is so tough and as the story is told we start to see her grow, and heal.

I love it when a story with some grit connects with me emotionally and leaves
...more
Alena
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
What started out as sort of a southern gumshoe detective story about a hard-as-nails female attorney, just kept getting better and better, deeper and more complex. To be honest I didn't have high expectations so I was very pleasantly surprised to be taken on such a good ride. The kind of novel that's easy to recommend to a wide variety of people. Easy to read, but definitely not dumb.
Jessica Woodbury
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fluff
I've been a regular Joshilyn Jackson reader for years and she remains one of the authors I recommend the most often. Her books are funny, wise, and poignant all at the same time. The Opposite of Everyone is not as sweet as its cover makes it look, and I'm actually rather miffed about the cover. Not only does it make the book like like a sugary confection, it also sure looks to me like the woman on it is white when Paula Vauss, the woman at the center of the book, is biracial and obviously so. (I ...more
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3,451 followers
Jackson's latest novel, NEVER HAVE I EVER pubs July 30, 2019

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, Someone Else's Love Story, The Opposite of Everyone, and The Almost Sisters. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year
...more
“I had spent my whole life hungry for forgiveness. It had not come, so I didn’t know firsthand what he was feeling. But I had imagined it, over and over. I’d wanted it so bad. I’d wanted Kai—or anyone, anyone who knew the worst in me—to say that I was still dear, and good, and worthy.” 6 likes
“The wold was full of us, the leftovers and the leavers, the bereaved and the broken.” 4 likes
More quotes…