When I Was Me is a thrilling and addictive novel, written by Hilary Freeman.
When Ella wakes up one Monday morning, she discovers that she has fallen into a life that is not her own. She looks different, her friends are no longer her friends, and her existence has erased from the internet. Even worse, her own history seems to have been rewritten overnight. And yet, nobody else thinks that anything weird has happened. Are her memories tainted from her supposed amnesia? Or is she really a different person? Who is the real Ella?
This book was everything I had hoped for… and then some more! You know when a book has a really good synopsis and you’re like Ooh that sounds amazing! I really hope the book is as good as it sounds! Buuuut… it’s probably not that good because the blurb sounds phenomenal. Well, I’m pleased to say that this book was definitely as good as its synopsis. I always feel like there’s a bit of a risk reading a book that you haven’t heard of before and one that only has seven ratings on Goodreads, but this is a risk I definitely urge you to take.
The thing I loved most about this book was definitely the mystery aspect. It always had me asking questions and had me begging for more information. There were so many twists in this novel, so I had no choice but to read it as quickly as possible. This book was unputdownable and utterly addictive.
Another particularly interesting aspect of this book was the questions it made me ask myself. For example, would we be completely different people if we changed just one aspect of our lives? Is it really that simple that one decision can shape our future? Are there really other universes? Does the multiverse exist? How could we ever know? This book was close to giving me an existential crisis, I can tell you that. Just how are we supposed to keep on living knowing that there are infinite versions of ourselves out there? Let’s not go there. But possibly the greatest thing about this book was that it made you go there, and it made you ask questions you never could have dreamed of asking. It was mind-blowing.
This book also allowed me to set free my inner geek. I’ve always been fascinated by the universe and space and all that science-y stuff. I love thinking abut the possibility of parallel universes and the time vortex and the void… You can tell I’m a Doctor Who fan. At times, I felt like the author, Hilary Freeman, would have to be a Doctor Who fan too. Because to a lot of people, reading about the things that this book talks about would be complete gibberish. These theories are explained in quite simple terms in this novel, however I believe that you have to be willing to understand. So many people never question the universe, and to do so would probably trigger some sort of nervous breakdown in them. Although we may never know whether the multiverse exists, asking the question is the perfect place to begin.
To me, the characters kind of felt like background noise in this novel. You know, the annoying people that keep calling you on the phone while you’re trying to watch a good movie? That was them. I knew they were there, but I was much more focussed on the mystery and finding out more about these parallel universes than them. To be honest, Ella wasn’t much of a unique character. Only her situation made her unique. I understand that a situation like that would naturally overshadow anyone’s personality, but that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t have something different about her. For half of the novel all she talked about was Louise Brooks, and for the other half she just wanted to ‘hook up’ with someone to make herself feel ‘real’. Despite her lack of distinguishable character, nonetheless, I wanted to follow her to find out where exactly her journey would end.
One thing that I particularly disliked about this book was the inclusion of romance. With just over 250 pages, it felt very rushed and forced. I hated the speed to which these romances progressed and found them unrealistic. The fact that Ella was more concerned with finding someone to hold her, rather than try to get on with her life reflected her fragility and weak-mindedness. I love strong female characters, and I felt that Ella wasn’t one of them. I would have liked to have seen a lot more character development so that she would become a character I would actually like to know.
I did have a favourite character in this book. Daniel. He was kind of like a lab-technician at Ella’s university and he began tutoring her in her subjects when she first ‘woke up’ in this new universe. He suspected that something was different about her, that perhaps she could be proof of the multiverse theory, and so they ended up spending quite a bit of time together, discussing the possibility. He was slightly creepy at first and I never really knew his motives, but he was such an intriguing character. I loved his role in the novel as Ella’s ‘mentor’ and he acted as the ‘explainer’ to all these theories. He made this book accessible to everyone, even if they had no prior knowledge of these theories. This book was explained in such a way that everyone reading it could grasp the concept and become enthralled in this thrilling journey.
Overall, this was an addictive psychological thriller that kept me guessing right until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes a book with mystery and suspense. Although the romance wasn’t completely convincing and Ella wasn’t the best protagonist I’ve ever read about, I felt that the intrigue of the plot made these points less important. I’d give When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman a score of 8 out of 10. Now it’s time for you opinion! Have you heard of this book? Are you a fan of Doctor Who? Are you familiar with the multiverse theory? Have you read any other books that have similar themes? Leave a comment down below!
Thank you to Hot Key Books Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!