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I'm Not Her

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It was a Tuesday like any other. And then it wasn't. A simple encounter at a supermarket changed Carin Fletcher's and Leann Cane's lives – literally. Suddenly Carin, a pretty, self-absorbed, underemployed college graduate, finds herself living as Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese checkout clerk, and vice versa.

Carin is at first horrified: she’s enormous, she can barely make ends meet, her husband is an abusive loser, and she's saddled with the kid Leann had when she was a teenager. Meanwhile, Leann is initially thrilled: she's escaped destitution, she looks like a model, and people treat her completely differently.

But as the days pass, it becomes clear that life isn't clear-cut for either woman. Carin finds herself attaching to Trevor, Leann's precocious son, and developing feelings for Jimmy, a fellow employee who treats her with the respect few others bother to give her because of her appearance. At the same time, Leann is living a life she's always wanted in a body she's always dreamed about, but that doesn't mean that all of her problems have gone away...and a new one is emerging with Carin's sometimes-boyfriend.

Both women are facing unknowable futures that neither could have imagined. Are they destined to live this way forever? And if so, where will it all lead?

A brilliant, nuanced, and surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the courses we are on, I'M NOT HER is a remarkably assured first novel that introduces a profound new storyteller.

302 pages, Paperback

First published August 4, 2015

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About the author

Cara Sue Achterberg

9 books159 followers
Cara Achterberg writes smart women's fiction that book clubs love. She also writes memoirs about her adventures in dog rescue.

Cara is the co-founder of Who Will Let the Dogs Out, a non-profit that raises awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them. Learn more at WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org.

Information on all her books, blogs, and upcoming appearances can be found at CaraWrites.com.

When not writing or weeding (which can sometimes be one and the same), Cara enjoys hiking, reading, visiting Virginia wineries, and growing pretty much anything, including her circle of friends.

You can keep up with Cara on Facebook (Cara Sue Achterberg, writer), twitter (@CaraAchterberg), or Instagram (@carasueachterberg), and of course, at CaraWrites.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 68 reviews
Profile Image for Elaine.
604 reviews230 followers
August 10, 2015
This is a body swap story but one that is totally unlike any of the light frothy Hollywood movie stories that immediately spring to mind when you hear those words, being just that little bit darker. We have two women whose identities “switch” following an accident in a supermarket.

Carin is young, pretty, slim, rich and pampered and rather shallow, it has to be said.

Leann is also young, weighs 350 lbs and is a supermarket checkout girl. She has a six year old son and a husband she only sees at weekends (and believe me when I say that you wouldn’t want him around any more than that). Life is a constant struggle to put food on the table, not made easier by her husband holding the purse strings. To top it all off, she has “attitude”. You couldn’t really find two people more opposite to switch bodies if you tried.

I really liked the flowing style of the writing and I loved the way we watched Carin come to terms with her situation.. I enjoyed the way the author showed how Carin, who was used to being universally admired, suddenly found herself “unclean”. Despite her size she is practically invisible to others at best, derided and treated with disdain and disgust at worst and this is really portrayed well.

How will these two women cope? Well, Leann doesn’t really do very much at all except lounge around in Carin’s apartment in the lap of luxury. For her part, Carin shows a surprising amount of strength of character as she attempts to make the best of a bad job and immerse herself in Leann’s world.

There were times when I thoroughly enjoyed this read but other times it did seem to drag a little. The shifts of a supermarket checkout girl are never really going to hold anyone’s attention for too long and I think less time at the checkout would have been better. It also takes some time for Carin to try and make contact with Leann, and I didn’t really understand why. If I had been in that situation I would have been hammering on my own apartment door screaming for my life to be returned to me.

We see far more of Carin than we do of Leann and I really got to know and admire her for her pluck. On the other hand, we never really get to know Leann in the same way. Her personality is so different to that of Carin, that when we did see Leann, her personality came as something of a shock, but I would have still liked to have seen more of her.

On the whole though, this debut novel is a very different, interesting read and well worth a look at. I would certainly read more by this author. Thanks to the publishers, via Netgalley for the review copy.
Profile Image for Cynthia (Bingeing On Books).
1,645 reviews119 followers
August 7, 2015
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I was not sure what to expect from this book. I wasn't really expecting the paranormal twist. When it started, there was absolutely no connection between Carin and Leann, other than the fact that Carin shopped at the grocery store where Leann worked. Then poof! Carin gets hit in the head and suddenly she has switched bodies with Leann. This all happened on the first page. So we have no idea why the switch happened and we don't know anything about the characters. Then we are supposed to care that they are in different bodies.

The author does go back and forth between Carin and Leann to tell their POV. In Leann's body, Carin must become accustomed to the fact that she is overweight and has no money, whereas when she was in her own body, she was very thin and rich. She also must become a parental figure to Leann's son and must deal with Leann's abusive husband. It seemed like between the two, Carin learned the most from the switch. At some point, Leann admits that she wished she were someone else but there is no character development with her. I don't get that she learned to accept herself for who she was. She just spent all her time eating tons of junk food, drinking alcohol and she rarely left Carin's apartment. So what was the point of being someone else when she never tried to adapt to their life? So maybe that was the point with Leann . . . even though Carin changed, Leann realized that a different body didn't necessarily change who she was. I guess my problem with the book was that the author gave us plenty of time to get to know Carin and root for her, but not Leann. It didn't show Leann's POV all that much and when we did see her, there really wasn't a whole lot going on. And there is never, ever any kind of explanation for the switch. Yeah, I get that it's a paranormal thing and all but still . . . it happened and that was that. This book had its moments, but there was just too much confusion.
619 reviews9 followers
June 17, 2015
Publication Date: August 5, 2015

I was provided a digital ARC copy of this book from NetGallery.com in exchange for my honest review.

Holy Freak Friday – this was an excellent read! I’m a sucker for a good, original story and this is an interesting spin on people switching bodies. I can’t say much about the book without giving away the plot or any spoilers, but this book was a great read.

What I love: One character grew and changed so much as a person, it was hard not to love her.

What I didn’t love: There are some mean people out there who treat larger people as if they’re sub-human or don’t even exist.

What I learned: The old adage is so true – can’t judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Overall Grade: A
Profile Image for Laurie.
422 reviews59 followers
August 18, 2015
We have two main characters in this story. We have Leann and Carin, and the book is written back and forth between the two characters.
Meet Leann Cane: An employee/cashier at a grocery store called Shop N’ Save, who happens to be overweight and does not take care of herself at all . . . this is the problem our next character has with this woman even though she doesn’t even know her! She is very judgmental, and, this next character is . . .
Carin Fletcher . . . Carin is a customer who shops at this store, the Shop N’ Save, where Leann works all the time in the evenings, and Carin is EXTREMELY critical about Leann who is so overweight and doesn’t take care of herself at all. Carin always seems to get this cashier and doesn’t like her too much just because of how she looks - judging her by the way she looks. Carin believes in healthy eating and exercise of which apparently Leann does not. (If only Carin knew the real truth, which she soon will.) This is only Carin’s opinion because Carin knows nothing about Leann, but she is about to.
It’s great these two girls’ journey together who learn so much about each other and life, in general. They learn you can NEVER “assume” you know things about a person until you really get to know them.
I am sure you have heard the saying that goes something like this:
‘Before you say or judge anyone about anything, first walk a mile in their shoes', etc.’, well, this saying couldn't be any closer to the truth.
Each of these girls are about to learn just that. They are going to learn what it’s like to walk in the other’s shoes!
So what happens? This gets great! A BODY-SWITCH HAPPENS! Each girl ends up in the others’ body, and they learn some extremely important lessons from it!
The way this happens is not realistic at all, they bump into each other's heads, but try to accept this story just as it is written and don’t try to find yourself questioning it to find a way to make it realistic like I did. Try to just go along with the story so you can enjoy it! I resigned to keep an open mind and then I enjoyed the story even more. This was the only thing that kept me from rating this a 5-star book, the way it happened. I thought the author could have found a more creative way to have it happen than what she did.
The writing does flow very nice and smooth keeping you glued to the page, my kind of story!
This book does have a very important message to tell us, too, and it is the only way this author made it happen in this book to tell it. This is the only stretch of the imagination you’ll be asked to do through the rest of this book, and maybe one more time so the girls can go back to normal!
This book is really meant to be taken seriously, as this issue is very serious. The weight issues both girls have are the most important in this book and it is what this author is trying to portray. I believe all of us women have weight issues, just some of us are bothered by them much more than others.
What do the girls do about this? This is a great way for both girls to learn more about weight issues that plague ALL of us women so much today, especially when we see other women who are so overweight (and us, too, possibly, as this is a huge problem today, and there we are! Judging away!) showing each other the other person is still a human being with values, feelings, and a human being worthy of being treated that way, too, just because someone may be heavy and have 15, 30, or even 50 pounds or MORE to lose, please understand these ARE still women (and men), who are very real “people” worthy of being treated as such at ALL TIMES! They are NOT to be abused, hit, talked down to, or treated differently.
This ‘body-switch’ does a great job with each character learning about how they feel in the body they now have, either thin or overweight. The book touches on issues of being overweight such as excess sweating, rashes that occur from it, and other things we may or may not ever know about or even give thought to due to being larger and our skin or other areas being affected. I think this is a terrific book to bring this information forward to the public’s knowledge.
This really is what the NEW Carin needs to have happen to her because she has judged Leann SO harshly! What a shame, or, this could be a plus, even though she feels so disgustingly FAT! She feels sweaty, all of her clothes are too tight. She can’t allow this little boy to stay by himself, either. She realizes to herself, 'Hey! Leann has a son!' This little boy doesn’t have a father or any other adult around them to help out, it’s just the two of them, even if his dad does happen to comes around. She decides to stay to take care of this little boy after all. What she did not plan on was being married to such a huge and non-caring, louse/man/father, and when she finally does see him, she tries to avoid any contact at all! Leann's husband is NOT touching her!!
Slowly, and only one day at a time, depending on how much money they have for groceries that day due to the abusiveness of Leann’s husband who thinks she is made of money, Carin/Leann starts to change the way they eat, adds exercise into Leann and her son’s daily life, too. What Leann’s husband refuses to do is to realize the cost of ‘good for you’ food. How long must this go on for, though? This feels like it is an eternity already.
Carin/Leann, must protect Trevor from his father, too. She takes this little boy who isn’t hers under her shoulder and cares for him like he’s hers. That was the sweetest thing she could have done. No one asked her to do this, this is all out of the heart of the real Carin.
Carin learns why Leann is so overweight. It’s not just from being lazy, but from the choice and kind of foods they have every day. When you don't have much money, you find yourself eating dry Ramen noodles for dinner, dry and out of the box macaroni and cheese. When this is all the money you have, or I should say all you can afford to buy, it's not a healthy choice. Your money is not going to allow you to purchase foods from the Organic Food Aisle like Carin is used to doing. Also, when you have a husband who refuses to give you money for food . . . what do you do? What do you buy?
For the girls, their different body images don’t go over so well with the girls psychologically, either. They both have NEW BODIES they never asked for. Maybe it’s going well for the new Carin (Leann) but not for the real Carin.
Once they figure out what has happened, this does not go over so well and they want their old bodies back!
I highly recommend reading this book. We learn things from both sides of weight, and from the different lives of the girls, and about having and not having money which really controls what being heavy and skinny turns out to be. I liked this one quite a bit!
Thanks to The Story Plant and NetGalley for this opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review!
January 8, 2016
What a wonderful story! Such well developed characters! I love reading a book that has me looking forward to the next time I can pick it up and read. I actually paced myself on this one because I didn't want it to end...other than to find out how it all worked out. Loved it, Cara! I am recommending it to all my family and friends.
2 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2015
I'm Not Her is a marveling first novel by Cara Sue Achtenberg. The book is narrated by the two major characters Carin and Leann. The book has an overall theme concerning why one should not make conclusions about people based on the physical state of that person.
I'm Not Her is a work of fiction that is about how the lives of two women, Carin and Leann, drastically change after an encounter in a grocery store called Shop N' Save. Carin Fletcher, who happens to be a pretty, fit, self-absorbed and underemployed college graduate after being hit by a valentine imitation finds herself living as Leann who was the exact opposite of Carin. Leann was an uneducated, poor, and an obese checkout clerk at Shop N' Save. After an accident at the grocery store Carin finds herself in Leann's body, and Leann finds herself in Carin's body.
Carin has a hard time getting used to Leann's lifestyle which includes her obese body, her overly old husband Leroy and six year old son, Trevor. Carin makes effort to fix Leann's lifestyle by enrolling in a workout routine at the gym that she worked out when she was herself. She acquires two jobs and tries to fend for herself and most importantly, her new son and sometimes she stands up to her demanding husband, something she came to realize Leann never did. She also makes two dear new friends, Mr. Giovanni who allows her to use his washer, and Jimmy, her fellow employee whom she seems to be developing feelings for. She longs for her original life her family, Scott, and her lifestyle, but she gets attached to Leann's son, Trevor.

Leann on the other hand gets a different and better experience, a perfect body, a nice apartment, and money, but she doesn't make any efforts to accommodate Carin's original life her mother and Scott. She loves her new life, but she also longs for her son.
The idea of two entirely different people, both in personality and physicality, switching bodies and living the other's life enticed me to read this book. I found Carin more adaptive as she managed to not really mess up Leann's life. She did not talk back to Leroy who must have been greatly feared by Leann (at least not as much as she would have liked to). She grows attached to Trevor even though she has not really been the best person around kids.

Leann on the other hand is less adaptive and found it hard to deal with Carin's parents or to even pretend to be their child. She stayed inside a lot, which was her method to avoid slip ups of her true identity in public, but in a way this helped her to discover herself before she had met Leroy.

I liked the book, especially the switch of the standard of English language between Leann and Carin. The author did an extraordinarily amazing job with the accents. I felt like I could hear Leann and Carin speak while reading, and they sounded absolutely different. You could distinguish their level of education. What I disliked was the less representation of Leann over Carin, but I guess Carin did both of their story telling, and Leann secluded herself and did monotonous activities.

I would read more by this author as I believe this novel to be an exciting read and also an attractive start for the author, and you should check it out when it comes out in August 2015. to find out what happens to Leann and Carin. Do their lives change for better or worse or remain the same for the better or worse?

Profile Image for Shannon L. Gonzalez.
198 reviews8 followers
August 8, 2015
Book Review: Never judge a man (er Woman) until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

I’m Not Her
By Cara Sue Achterberg

In her debut fiction novel, Cara Sue Achterberg weaves a wonderful themed tale. A new twist on the “Freaky Friday” storyline with so much emotion it gives an honorable nod to the famous Disney tale and Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper.

In this novel the story starts with college graduate, Carin Fletcher. She’s young, beautiful, svelte and privileged. She is shopping at a Shop and Save grocery market eyeing the cashier with disdain. The overweight, uneducated cashier, Leann Cane, hits the cash register with her wide rump and causes a large Valentine decoration to fall. As the accident progresses, Carin is in the direct line of the falling display and gets knocked on the head. As a result of a cosmic twist of destiny the souls of the bodies change with each other.

Carin learns to live the life of a severely overweight woman and how society ill-treats her. While Carin is in Leann’s body, she has to overcome sugar addiction, and junk food addiction not to mention a host of other physical issues. Carin truly learns how it feels to be Leann, although she is much stronger in how she relates to those around her. Leann, when Leann was in her own body, allowed her husband to abuse her, and she tolerated verbal and sexual abuse by a coworker. Leann looked for validation in the wrong places. While Carin is in Leann’s body, she changes these relationships and stands up for herself and Leann in the process. Carin being the princess had to live the life of a pauper as Leann was poor. Leann would steal food from the supermarket where she worked and would be the cheapest, least nutritional food just to have food. Her six-year old son, Trevor, is the angel of this story, as he knows something is not right with his mom. While he loves the attention he gets from the woman in his mother’s body, he still misses the real Leann.

Leann, trapped in Carin’s body, finds out the posh apartment and the fantasy she dreamed of from watching her favorite soap opera was not what it was really cracked up to be. She was afraid to leave the apartment and the only true change she made was that she figured out she was worth something to her son. She missed him and found a way to see him, but it was not enough. Her redeeming quality change is to find a way to fight for him, for herself and for Carin.

All in all, this story was an awesome read! The theme of living the life of another no matter the situation and not judging without truly knowing is a lesson we should all take to heart. It was fun and entertaining and as a reader you want to turn the page to see how or if they will swap back. I wanted there to be a longer denouement, to not have it wrapped up as quick as it was. That is a testament to how great the characters are that the reader wants to know more beyond the page that says The End. Perhaps a sequel will reunite the world with these characters?

Please visit Cara Sue at her website to see where you can find her books, articles and other writing at http://www.carawrites.com/

And see her publisher’s page at http://thestoryplant.com/our-authors/...

FTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title through The Story Plant publishing and Net Galley for review purposes only. No other compensation was awarded.

Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,569 reviews362 followers
August 27, 2015
A special thank you to The Story Plant and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Cara Sue Achterberg delivers her debut I’M NOT HER, a body swap in the theme of Freaky Friday and Vice Versa for an inside look at two different personalities, from different walks of life –filled with humor and insight.

We meet two women, Carin and Leann. When the two women meet at a Shop N’ Save, their lives begin to change.

Leann is poor, overweight, and uneducated working at a dead end job as a clear at the Shop n Save. Carin is beautiful, fit, trim, college graduate, and self-absorbed. She happens to be shopping in the store and gets knocked out. After the accident, they switch places.

Of course, it is very difficult for Carin, to be immersed in Leann’s lifestyle with her abusive husband and six year old son Trevor. She immediately starts trying to change things, since she is out spoken; things Leann never tried. Of course she misses her own life, while getting pulled into this is strange world.

Leann, you would think may be delighted to be rich, slim, smart, and pretty. However, she too realizes, the grass is not always greener. She misses her son.

Each see the pain and joy from different viewpoints as they walk in the other’s shoes. A look at life from both sides. The body swapping storytelling device has been seen in a variety of fiction, most often in television shows and movies, in which two people exchange minds and end up in each other's bodies.

I am not a big fan of switching places, reality TV, paranormal, or time travel—however, a certain audience may find it appealing.

August 5, 2015
“I’m Not Her” was a book club pick so I gathered up my lawn chair and a pencil and headed out to the patio to read for half an hour or so. I brought the pencil because I intended on highlighting things to talk about at the book club meeting. Three hours later I realized that I needed to get up and make dinner. I was so lost in the characters and storyline that time just slipped away. I never made a single mark in the book because I couldn’t stop long enough to pick up my pencil – it was that addicting. There are other enjoyable reads out there, but what makes this one of my all-time favorites is that it puts you squarely in the shoes of someone less fortunate and really helps you appreciate that judging others is wrong. Our circumstances in life make us who we are. Who is to say what we would have become had we grown up without so many advantages? The genius of the book is that it makes this point through characters that you grow to love. I read “I’m Not Her” so fast that I need to read it again before book club so I can remember the details. I can’t ever remember reading a book twice, but I can hardly wait to read “I’m Not Her” again!
1,505 reviews6 followers
June 18, 2015
When Carin and Leann's lives are literally switched life will never be the same again. Carin who was a pretty college graduate becomes Leann an uneducated, very large checkout girl.

To start out with Carin definitely has the raw deal, she is extremely overweight, poor and married to an abusive man and to cap it all she has to look after Leann's son. Leann on the other hand is living the life of Riley this is the life she always wanted in a body that gets her noticed for the right reasons.

Things are not always as it seems though and Carin starts to care for Trevor, Liann's son, and also Jimmy a fellow employee whereas Liann has to deal with Carin's sometime boyfriend

A great original story dealing with sensitive issues but showing how these can be viewed from the other side of the coin, making them grow in character when literally they are putting themselves in someone else's shoes and seeing the different sides to life.

I will definitely be looking out for future books from this author
August 22, 2015
More than meets the eye.
Yes, it’s a ‘freaky Friday’ theme, one we’ve seen before. But it is way more than meets the eye. Cara Achterberg has intertwined the vastly different lives of two women, Carin and Leann. The story unfolds quickly with no real explanation of the paranormal event. But that is okay. Like so many things in real life ‘it is what it is’, just get on with dealing with it. And Ms. Achterberg does just that because she has so much more to share with us. Her characters and their lives feel real. You will worry for them; feel in awe of them; and at times, definitely feel indignant and stunned at what lies below the surface of these two women’s lives. “I’m Not Her” is a quick read, but I believe something about this story will stick with you. I highly recommend reading it because not only is it an interesting, well-written story, it is a reminder that we don’t always see another’s full life. There is almost always more to it than meets the eye.

Profile Image for Joseph Sadusky.
Author 2 books1 follower
May 16, 2021
When you think of a "body swap" story, you might expect a kooky comedy. But Cara Achterberg's "I'm Not Her" takes the concept in an unexpected, wonderful direction. Although there is humor, the story focuses much more on how walking in another person's shoes (literally) can teach one so much about prejudice and bias...and can also open unexpected paths to friendship and love. Cara's debut novel is touching, heartwarming, and engaging. A true five stars.
Profile Image for Fran.
123 reviews
July 18, 2021
This was a “freaky-Friday” style body swap story with two vastly different characters. Leeann,an obese cashier and Carin, a wealthy spoiled girl with a perfect body. Aside from some of the stereotyping of the Leeann character, it was a cute story overall. I wish the author gave more insight into Leeann’s story or at least some redeeming qualities before the ending. I liked the way Carin grows through the story.
62 reviews4 followers
April 14, 2016
'I'M NOT HER", a debut by author Cara Sue Achterberg, is a sensational surprise! It asks the question, what would you do if you were changed into another body and had to live their life?

Carin Fletcher is waiting in the usual check-out line she selects at Stop N Save. She is studying and judging Leann, the checker. as she always does. She thinks she is obese and ugly. Her stringy dirty hair that usually falls in her face is pulled to the side with a tiny, plastic barrette. Her teeth are yellow and she is wearing no makeup on her zits filled face, only ugly green eye liner. Carin on the other hand seems to have it all. She is pretty, model -like thin, in shape, a college graduate, works as an assistant claims adjuster Her parents give her anything she asks for and she even has a sometime-boyfriend, Scott. Leann is pounding her drawer in her cash register, when suddenly a large hanging valentine display falls hitting Leann and knocking Carin to the floor. Leann is taken to the hospital.

This freak accident changed the lives of Carin and Leann. It tells how they are
forced to live their lives in each others bodies. My heart went out to Leann who is poor, married to a slob who comes back to their shoddy apartment only on weekends to get drunk, do drugs, insult and ignore his wife and barely makes contact with Trevor their precocious 6 year old son. If ever there was someone who dreamed about changing her world it is Leann. Pregnant as a teen, forced to marry, she lived and dreamed via the stars on her Soap opera shows. Always tired, she lacked the energy and will to care for Trevor. When she became Carin she had everything she ever dreamed about, except her son. Soon, she becomes bored, drinks too much, and wants her son back.

It is a whole new world for Carin living in Leanns' body. People are cruel to her and the only positive thing in her new life is Trevor. Her overstuffed body is hard to manipulate and disgusts her. She gets a part-time job in the Kiddy Korner at the gym and begins to use the exercise equipment with outstanding results. At work she has a sincere, sweet friend in Jimmy. He is a sometimes-hearse driver, fixer of jukeboxes and a hard working stock boy at the Stop N Save. They took their breaks together and later had their suppers together. They became friends and Carin found talking to him was a joy. When she asked him a question, he thought long and hard about his answer and then softly and honestly he would answer her, always telling Carin how he feels. It did not matter to Jimmy what she looks like outside, he knows she is someone he cares about. I really loved Jimmy.

Sue Achterberg tells a delightful tale that creeps into your heart slowly.
The characters are colorful and some you love to hate while others you love and are cheering for. Great read. Can't wait for your next! You have a new and loyal fan!

Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews588 followers
July 17, 2015
Have you heard the phrase, “Walk a mile in someone’s shoes?” How about, “Never judge a book by its cover?” What if some quirk of fate exchanges your essence, all that is you, with another?
Carin and Leann somehow exchange places after an accident. Carin, wealthy, beautiful and shallow becomes Leann, an obese, coarse young mother living a tragic life of poverty and abuse with her son’s father. Will people believe they are not who they appear to be? Will they both learn how shallow it is to judge others by their appearance or circumstance?

For Carin, this is a time of learning to give of herself, as opposed to always taking as young Trevor’s well-being becomes the focal point of her life. Always outspoken, she discovers that to survive, she must temper her comments, and accept the way others look at her unkempt and massive body.

For Leann, she discovers that the rich and beautiful do not have fairytale lives, but it is certainly better than what she was living, but she missed her son, discovered that maybe to give him up to the real care he is receiving from Carin may be the best thing. But is it for any of them?

I Am Not Her by Cara Sue Achterberg is a sometimes humorous, sometimes brutal look at lives that are different than our own. She focuses most of her tale on Carin in Leean’s body, the life Leean lives, the daily pain she endures, and lets Carin see just how low a human can be beaten down by their surroundings. Well written, sometimes light, sometimes frightening, but always intriguing, this bird’s eye view of two lives intertwined among millions is certainly food for thought, especially when one walks a mile in another’s shoes.

I received this copy of this book from Story Plant in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: The Story Plant
ISBN-13: 9781611882155
Genre: Women's fiction
Print Length: 302 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For More Reviews, Promotions and all things Books visit: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Karolyn Sherwood.
434 reviews33 followers
August 17, 2015
I'M NOT HER, by Cara Achterberg, is a captivating story about two 23-year-old women who "trade places," and are forced to live each other's life. The reader must suspend her disbelief, but that's easy because the premise is a familiar one: The movies TRADING PLACES and BIG used the same concept. But this novel cuts right to the core the themes of Who are we, really? and What makes us who we are? Achterberg strikes a nerve with these meaty questions, and she does it well.

The two women in the story are polar opposites: Carin, the pretty, blond, wealthy, high-achieving, yet somewhat-miserable single girl; and, Leann, the obese, poor, unhappy, unhealthy, unhappily-married mother of a six-year-old. One day, when Carin is in Leann's check-out lane at the Shop N Save grocery store, a sign falls and hits Carin on her head. At that moment, the women "trade places." Carin, who knows nothing about being a mom, has no place to go except Leann's filthy, low-rent apartment. By the end of the first page, I couldn't stop reading to find out how each woman would fare in the other's world. Like all good books, the characters' situations go from bad to worse to OMG! This book is definitely a page turner.

Achterberg is an excellent writer. The prose is clean and honest—deceptively simple, I like to say. I dog-eared and underlined numerous well-turned phrases. She truly gets inside the heads of both women, and writes the story with their alternating perspectives. She also nailed the voice of each woman (one educated, one who dropped out of high school).

It's rare that a novel makes me stop and think as much as this one did. Achterberg (through her characters) asks the questions: What makes us who we are? Our mind, our body, and/or our situation? How much of "us" is defined by things we didn't choose for ourselves? We don't pick our parents or our hometown or our social class, but those factors generally define a person. Yes, some people are able to rise above any hardship and succeed despite our shortcomings, but not most people.

I'm Not Her is a story I will recommend over and over. If every teenager in America read this book, I think our country would be a better place.

FIVE shining STARS

Profile Image for Anne Martin.
707 reviews14 followers
June 23, 2015
After an incident at the supermarket where Leann is a cashier and Carin shops, the two young women just switch bodies. No one but the two of them notices and when Carin tries to tell her mother or boyfriend it is her in Leann's body, she is considered deranged and forgotten. This is the beginning of an hilarious novel.
The two girls could hardly be more apart. Carin (not Karen, as many people want to spell her name) comes from a (slightly)middle-(very)upper class family, with enough money to live a very comfortable life. Thin and trim, she goes regularly to the gym, eats healthily, and works in the insurance business. Leann weighs more than 300 pounds, love cupcakes and any sweets, works at Shop and Save as a cashier and had a baby boy at 16, who grows up with her and her no-good husband. What they have in common is their age, both younger than 25. But Leann feels her life is totally predictable and rotten, while Carin believes the best is yet to come.
You are going to explore with them what the body change brings, what they have to cope with, what they will discover, what they wish were different, etc.
For Leann, Carin's life seems paradise. For Carin, it is hell to be trapped in a 350 pounds body without any money, but she will do the best of what is possible with it.
They will find new strengths and it will turn into a discovery trip, mostly seen through Carin's eyes.
Don't take the book too seriously, because it's a comedy, and page after page, you will laugh and cheer with Carin. She avoids most of the traps on her path, loses weight (some of it anyway), make new friends and think about many things she always considered as normal. Now, hey are a challenge. Leann's husband is only around on weekends but she must avoid him too. And Carin falls in love with Leann's son, so easy to love.
Read this book and have fun. You will notice in the following days a few things will make you wonder. Yes, you are probably privileged and lucky to be it. Yes, we should think more of the people who have less, less intelligence, less brilliance, less attractive power.
53 reviews3 followers
June 25, 2015
I'm Not Her -- Cara Sue Achterberg
I think all of us have felt at one point or another we wish we could be someone else.
It always looks as if everyone else has life figured out. They have life hacked.
But how would you react if, by a horrible twist of delicious fate, it actually happens?
This is the fate of Carin Fletcher and Leann Cane.
They could not be any more different. Carin is pretty, but shallow.
Leann is overweight, underpaid.
One day they switch ... and what a switch it is.
Leann enjoys being beautiful and thin, but men aren't that much easier to deal with.
Carin, in her new body, finds companionship with a colleague that looks past the fat and sees a soul.
I will leave the description there -- don't want to spoil it for new readers.
What I will say to new readers is: Wow, what an experience!
It's been a while since I've enjoyed a fantasy story as much as this.
A story with so much magic could easily become hackneyed, but Cara Sue Achterberg avoids every plot pothole you can imagine.
And that is beauty: the imagination behind the story.
What a joy!
Profile Image for Sawyer Lovett.
Author 2 books45 followers
July 11, 2015
Carin and Leeann have vastly different lives. Carin is middle class and shallow. Leeann is poor and overweight. When a random accident leaves them trapped in one another's body, their perceptions of one another change drastically. Leeann is, at first, happy at what she sees as an upgrade in appearance and station. Carin is horrified to return to a run down home stocked with snack cakes and soda. Both women are confronted with the complicated family situations of the body they inhabit - Carin's adoring and persistent long term boyfriend and nagging mother won't leave Leeann alone. Carin, on the other hand, finds herself saddled with a precocious son and an abusive, often absent husband. Both characters are sympathetic, but I think we're meant to care a bit more about Carin. There's a fair amount of body shaming that happens in this book, but Achterberg does a great job with the specific economics of poverty. While I had my reservations, it's worth noting that I read this book cover-to-cover in less than a day on vacation.
Profile Image for Robin Spielberg.
Author 12 books10 followers
August 13, 2015
If I Were In Her Shoes....
ByRobin Spielberg "Spobs Music"on August 13, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
How often I think to myself, "If I were in her shoes, I would...."
In Cara Achterberg's novel, I'M NOT HER, readers get to live out this fantasy through the characters LeAnn and Carin, who do indeed switch places in a strange twist of fate. Although there are lots of campy movies and books out there about switching bodies, this is not one of them. Achterberg's characters are complicated and multi-dimensional and their journeys teach lessons we don't expect. A little boy and his neighbor Mr. G are some of my favorite characters in the book, as they reveal that deep understanding and compassion can come from unexpected places. The main characters, who had taken certain things for granted in life, discover new aspirations and a road to authenticity that made me applaud inside (yay for them!) I'M NOT HER is a great read and a fun story. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sheryl.
427 reviews103 followers
August 25, 2015
I recieved a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I loved this book it was just awesome, it's about two young women who are totally different in every way who after a freak accident they switched bodies. I know it sounds a bit strange but it was a fantastic read and it really goes to show you can't judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

It was a real eye opener for me and I'm sure it will be for others who read it. It's one of those books that if you you say too much you will be giving away the true meaning of the book. I really advise people to read this book and hopefully they too will walk away with a new attitude regarding people who are diffrent than the norm. A lot of people are not tolorant of others who are diffrent in some ways, be it weight or disfigurement. It's really not fair becasue these people didn't asked to be disfigured or overweight.
Profile Image for Kirstie.
264 reviews21 followers
October 23, 2015
Carin is a successful, slim, college educated woman not quite living the life she hopes for...but will one day! Leann is a young mum struggling with her weight, never finished high school and has an abusive older husband.

These women are complete polar opposites, their worlds would never collide...until that fateful day when the accident happened.

Carin learns the hard way that you cannot judge someone until you have walked in their shoes. Leann realises that no amount of money will ever fill the void in her heart the way her son does on a daily basis.

If you enjoy stories with a huge twist, then you will love I'm not her. I couldn't put the book down,just when I thought I knew what was going to happen Ms Achterberg totally went in a different direction, which only upped the curiosity level further for me!

"Freaky Friday meets Drop Dead Diva"
Profile Image for Patty O.
25 reviews
November 25, 2015
The story is quite simple, but the author's take on it drew me in. A story about how what we think we need to be happy isn't always what we really need, and that often the things we really need are already in our possession. A good, fun, light read.
Profile Image for Sue Wallace .
5,883 reviews61 followers
August 4, 2015
bit slow to start with so left it and came back to it.
This time i loved it.
Could not put it down.
Had to see how it ended.
Did not disapoint.
Highly recomend.
Profile Image for Tracey.
148 reviews
January 9, 2016
A body swap story that was quite well done - I have to admit I was expecting something a bit more "chick lit". Raises some interesting thoughts about how people treat / view overweight people.
1,173 reviews5 followers
December 22, 2017
The body swap. The lessons learned. And what is most important for me, the reader - a fresh, witty story with some nice portion of the food for thought.

Carin and Leann are the same age, but totally different in the eyes of the beholder, so to say - Carin is single, stunning, smart and with a good job, with a male best friend with benefits in her tow. Selfish and vain, too, sure, but not without a heart.
Leann is a checkout clerk in the supermarket, obese, not a sharpest pencil in the pack. Also she is married to a rude jerk with a son who is product of her teenage escapade with him.
Simple and without any self-esteem - but not without a heart.

And their hearts will be their saving graces when the unexpected body swap happens. And that heart has a physical demonstration in Trevor, Leanne's precious little son.

Now Carin (from the two heroines she is the "main" heroine, as the story is told mostly from her perspective), always the popular one, realizes how it is to be obese, how many prejudices she is facing in this body. And how hard is to be poor and broken in spirits, living in horrible environment and working in the dull job - but this are her means to survive!
Luckily, Carin is a fighter (and also with the years of much more healthy environment behind her, so she knows how to improve her life and she also knows about the better life from her firsthand experience). Carin is learning so much about her own thoughtless selfishness also, about taking so much things and people for granted - and also about her own insecurities (mainly about her value - before the swap she put so much pride into her physical beauty, while instinctively realizing that just the physical beauty will never be enough).
Leann is, on the other side, happy. Pretty body, enough money, nice apartment, no rude husband - pure heaven. But...but. Leann doesn't value herself, so any body/money/attention will not make her to stop to hide. All the wealth is empty without her son.

I was surprised so much by this book! I was expecting just funny chick-lit, but this is it and so much more. This is a smart story about the values we put on stuff and the real ones, told by a warm-hearted writer who is attentive to the little (but important) details.
This novel has it all - the real heroines (read: bith got on my nerves from time to time, but I was feeling them and rooting for them), real problem (if never explained why the swap happened, but this is not important in the big picture) and real lessons to learn. While being both serious and light, warm-hearted and addictive!

I was surprised to find the real literature under such a disguise. A hidden gem!
Profile Image for Julie Barrett.
8,174 reviews144 followers
March 9, 2022
I'm Not Her by Cara Sue Achterberg
Starts with dedication page to the author's mother and a quote from a Bob Dylan song, meaningful.
A clerk at the store and a customer at the low cost store collide when the sign crashes.
The women have now exchanged places with one another. Leann was the clerk at the store, with a son and a man that comes to visit for the weekends, obosely overweight..
Alternating chapters where each tells what's going on in their world with a different body and lifestyle.
Carin is an inusrance agent and goes to the gym and has a good outlook.
Carin has to take on the role of Leann and learns the real Leann had been stealing grocieies. She tries to get closer to the child and heads to the gym where she gets a job taking care of kids of parents that are exercising.
I do love that Carin tries to take care of the child and is getting her body in shape. Things that only she can control and it's not even her real life.
the fake Leann just stays at home, orders food in and watch soap operas all day. She also is getting money from the accidnet, enough to last her a lifetime.
Twists and turns as the days go by. Never expected what happens next but it's huge.
Love how each of the woemn just get onto life in their new bodies and it makes them both better people.
Story takes me places out of my comfort zone, great read!
Acknowledgements and about the author finish this book.
Received this review copy from the publisher The Story Plan and this is my honest opinion.

Profile Image for Annika.
91 reviews
June 24, 2017
three and a half stars. Boring writing style made this POTENTIALLY great story into something really flat. An easy read.
September 14, 2018
Another good book by Cara. She really knows how to get you hooked on the characters. Can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
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