I received a free digital copy of I’ll Be You from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
“You be me, and I’ll be you,” I whispered.
As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role.
But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years.
Sam hasn’t spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.
Janelle Brown is carving her own path in the thriller world, she writes novels that stand apart from other more gimmicky popcorn thrillers. I’ll Be You is another wonderful book under her belt. This one blends a story of twin sister, their lives both together and apart, both in the past and the present. The paths these two sisters have forged leads to some poor choices, life mishaps, and then: one gigantically horrible mistake. While each sister is guilty of her own misdeeds, they aren’t what you would expect.
I enjoyed getting to read about these sisters and see how they were there for each other, whether they were together or apart. I found their relationship to be very realistic; that is to say, it was far from idyllic or perfect. The first half of the book did start to lull just a bit for me, but the second half I couldn’t read fast enough. I appreciated the honestly, the rawness and the thrilling elements of this book. I want to call it a literary thriller, because it goes much deeper than you would expect for the genre. I highly recommend this book and others by Brown.