I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.The Opposite of Everyone Published by HarperCollins
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2016
Setting: North America > USA > Georgia
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5* I loved it! – The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson is storytelling at it’s best and unlike anything I’ve ever read. A unique and unexpected mix of the mystical Hindu mythology and how family penetrates the toughest walls and deepest buried secrets.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birthname Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.
These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter. “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”
Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.
The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.”
If my youngest son hadn’t been sick and needed me the moment I finished this book, I’d have been a blubbery mess. I’m not even sure where to begin telling you what I thought.
Paula’s childhood is the OPPOSITE of traditional. Her young mother, Kai, is as mysterious and mythical as the stories she concocts. Every time Kai and Paula meet a hardship, they pack their bags and start over in a new city with a new identity. Paula struggles to understand her eccentric mother who speaks through rhyme and art. But when Kai ends up in prison, Paula is put into foster care and the only thing she wants is to return to Kai. Even the volatile, unpredictable childhood she had with Kai was better than the group home.
In the group home, Paula is much the OPPOSITE of the other girls there. She has a mom and she’s mutiracial, not fitting in initially with the white or black girls. We get an inside commentary on the foster care system and how the girls are affected throughout their lives.
The only thing that remains stable in Paula’s childhood is Kai’s beautiful, allegorical style of storytelling. Each story has it’s base in Hindu mythology and Kai uses the stories of gods and goddesses throughout her childhood to teach Paula lessons and ultimately leave her clues about the truth she must uncover as an adult. I loved how these stories were weaved throughout the book and Kai changed the stories just enough to help Paula figure out the truth. It spoke to the bond they had, no matter how their living situation strained their relationship.
This was the first book I read by Joshilyn Jackson and what I loved was how complex and conflicted these characters were. Paula used her past to build an impenetrable wall around herself that finally has to come crumbling down. It’s not pretty. She fights the change and has to do a lot of soul searching to figure out the truth of what Kai’s stories held. Will it be worth the struggle or will the truth break Paula?
Books Like This You Might Enjoy:
Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White : 4*, a bipolar mother must settle the demons in her past in order to have a future with her family, set partly in the South
The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle: 5*, Gina must uncover the truth about whether her father killed her stepmother before he takes his last breath.
The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar: 5*, 4 friends must resolve the issues they harbor from the past before they reunite to say goodbye to their estranged friend.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, October 11th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Wednesday, October 12th: G. Jacks Writes
Friday, October 14th: Art @ Home
Monday, October 17th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, October 18th: The Book Bag
Tuesday, October 18th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Thursday, October 20th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, October 25th: The Reading Date
Wednesday, October 26th: Luxury Reading
Monday, October 31st: Mom’s Small Victories
I loved this book so much I want you to win a copy! TLC Book Tours is letting me give away one copy of this book! Thank you TLC Book Tours!
Rules: Open to US/Canada residents only, giveaway ends 11/14/2016 at 12:00am. Mom’s Small Victories will notify the winner via email. The winner must respond with mailing address within 48 hours. If a response is not received within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. Mom’s Small Victories will send the winner’s address to TLC Book Tours who forwards it to the publisher. The publisher is responsible for mailing the book to the winner.
What books captivated you with their drama and eccentricity? What’s the last book that brought you to near or full blown tears?