In Another Life is a suspenseful and captivating book, written by Laura Jarratt.
American sisters Hannah and Jenny Tooley have spent their lives dreaming of flying to Great Britain and visiting all the places their English mother has told them about. But Jenny’s dream quickly turns into a nightmare when she vanishes without a trace.
Hannah and her father arrive in England to a huge police investigation. As Hannah gets to know some of Jenny’s friends and acquaintances, she realises that her sister is up to her neck in something – if those mysterious text messages are anything to go by. Could Hannah’s life be in danger too? And what about her new blossoming romance? Is this handsome, mysterious boy hiding something? Or could he be luring her into a trap?
When I heard that Laura Jarratt was releasing another book, I was beyond excited. I absolutely loved her other books, those of which include Louder Than Words, By Any Other Name, and Skin Deep. The thing I love most about these books is that they all deal with topics and themes that we need more of in YA literature. Maybe In Another Life has been the most ‘mainstream’ book that Laura has written, being mostly a mystery/romance, but it does also include some aspects that aren’t widely written about in YA fiction. In Another Life is a book that also revolves the ideas of familial mistrust and mystery – and how harbouring secrets can create more repercussions that could ever have been imagined. While this novel doesn’t deal with issues such as selective mutism (Louder Than Words), witness protection schemes (By Any Other Name) or the struggle to be accepted when you no longer fit inside society’s narrow definition of beauty (Skin Deep), it is still a fantastic read – and not one that should be overlooked or forgotten.
My favourite thing about this book, as with Laura’s other books, is that it is set mainly in England. England is my absolute favourite place in the world, and it’s lovely to be able to read a novel that isn’t either set in America or in a futuristic dystopian society. Like always, the building of this small English town was beyond exceptional. I’m not sure whether it was actually a real place or not, but it definitely felt real to me. I could feel the small-town vibes, how everyone knew (or at least, knew of) everyone, and I could practically hear their gorgeous accents. I really did get lost in this novel.
Another one of the best aspects of this book was the suspense. I was always on edge, wondering what had happened to Jenny and hoping Hannah wasn’t in danger. If it weren’t for life’s annoying demands, like going to work and buying food and stuff, I could have easily devoured In Another Life in one sitting. Perhaps that’s also because this book felt a little shorter than Laura’s other ones. Maybe I’m being greedy and wanting too much, but I would have loved this book to be just a bit longer. I don’t want to have to wait for Laura to release another book. I want one now! *stamps foot* Brattish child-act aside (who am I kidding? That’s no act. I’m a brattish child inside when it comes to books), I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I feel like I’ve read quite a few crime/mystery novels recently, but in no way did this feel repetitive. Laura’s voice is always fresh and original, therefore it goes without saying that her books are undoubtedly unlike anything you’ve read before.
If you’re the type of person who normally picks out the twist early on and guesses the ending of the book, I think you should be in the clear with this one. In saying that, I am pretty oblivious, but I’ve heard other readers talking about how they didn’t pick up on it either. Nevertheless, the ending was very surprising and something that I never saw coming. I suspected that the culprit might have been someone we knew already, but that was all I had. In the end, what happened was much more complex and well-thought out that I could have ever imagined. It was exciting to see that little details that were dropped throughout the book came back into play towards the end and all the characters’ secrets came back to haunt them.
Even though we never actually met Jenny, the connection between her and Hannah was evident. The bond they had as sisters was beautifully formed and while I don’t have a sister, I could feel everything that Hannah was feeling as though it were happening to myself. Her undying love and hope for Jenny was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Something that really helped that show was how Hannah would often address the reader as though she were Jenny. She’d start off every chapter directly addressing Jenny, which was something I’d never encountered before. I think that’s just another way Laura manages to create such unique and realistic stories.
While all of the characters were interesting to get to know, I felt like I couldn’t trust any of them. It always ends up that way in a mystery novel, doesn’t it? There was always that lingering feeling of mistrust and the nagging thoughts that told me someone I thought I could trust was behind what had happened. However, I didn’t feel as though any one character stood out to me and I don’t think their names will be etched onto my soul. Nothing like my love for Jace or Adrian. But they were pleasant enough.
Besides the relationship between Hannah and her sister, the relationship that I liked seeing the most was the one between Hannah and her dad. In the beginning it was like they were almost strangers, but as the novel progressed we got to see their relationship strengthening, particularly in the last few chapters. I’ve never experienced anything like what Hannah and her dad was going through, but I can imagine it could either put a strain on a relationship or bring the people closer together. We saw a bit of both in this novel, but a lot of the latter towards the end. That was especially sweet to see. Often parents are omitted from YA fiction, but it was good to see them (hopefully) making a comeback in these sorts of books. That’s definitely something I’d like to see a bit more of.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading In Another Life and I can’t wait to see what Laura Jarratt comes up with next! If you’re considering picking up this book, I highly recommend it. A suspenseful plot, mysterious characters and heartwarming relationships are three things that make this book completely unmissable. I’d give In Another Life by Laura Jarratt a score of 9.5 out of 10. If you haven’t yet read any books by this phenomenal author, I think this is a good one to start with! I’d love to hear your thoughts too! Have you read this one yet? Is it on your list? What are your thoughts on mysteries? Do you often guess the ending of these types of books? Let me know! 🙂
A huge thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!