What: When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman
Who: Hot Key Books
When: September 3rd 2015
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Hot Key Books for review.
One girl, two lives. Which is real?
When Ella wakes up one Monday morning, she discovers that she is not herself and that her life is not her own. She looks different, her friends are no longer her friends and her existence has been erased from the internet. Even worse, years of her history appear to have been rewritten overnight. And yet, nobody else thinks that anything weird has happened.
A tense and dark psychological thriller full of unexpected twists and turns about the random events and decisions that make us who we are. If you can’t trust your own memories, then who can you trust?
When I Was Me was an interesting book. A girl has woken up as herself … but not in her life. Her mum’s different, her parents are still together, she doesn’t have the same friends, or the same interests. She’s her, but not her.
I’m not entirely sure whether or not I liked the main character, Ella. She’s a little bit self obsessed, but I suppose waking up in a life that isn’t yours might do that to you. But she was also quite judgemental – of the life this other her was leading. Ella didn’t like Other Ella’s clothes, or hairstyle, friends, or room – she didn’t like much about her at all, and promptly decided to change all she could. This was a little weird to me, because what if Other Ella came back and her hair had been cut, her grades had dropped, she was dating some random guy, and her friends weren’t fans of her anymore? I probably would have waited a while to start changing things in a life that wasn’t mine.
Ella took a while to realise that this life wasn’t hers, and I think she probably should have been a bit more careful with the things she was saying. I mean, she suddenly asked her hairdresser (from her other life, who did not know Other Ella at all) about her boyfriend’s motorbike, and said that her best friend (who was not friends with Other Ella at all) had been tight with her for years. I just wanted to tell Ella to watch what she said because she was letting so many things slip.
I really questioned the immediate trust that Ella put in Daniel. He was spinning such tall tales about what Ella was experiencing, and pushing her towards some pretty hefty decisions … and I would have run screaming in the other direction. Daniel just screamed creepy, and I wasn’t even entirely sure that what he was telling Ella was the truth, so I was pretty suspicious that she just took his word as the be all and end all of what was happening to her.
The ending was probably the best part of this novel, even though it infuriated me. It was one of those “this is the end, but is it really the end?”” kind of endings, and I was just kind of left sitting there going: whaaaat? I mean, I am all for mind boggling endings, but as you all probably know, I am also all for closure, and there wasn’t a whole heap of that in the end of When I Was Me.
When I Was Me was a really entertaining novel with a fresh story that I haven’t come across. I would suggest this if you’re in need of a quick read that bends reality.
© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning: suicide and manslaughter in this novel