Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Reading Level: YA
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
Book Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother with a small personality complex. Bronwen knows she must have been switched at birth, and she can't wait to get away from her "family" for good.
Then she meets Jared Sondervan. He's sweet, funny, everything she wants -- and he has the family Bronwen has always wanted too. She falls head over heels in love, and when he proposes marriage, she joyfully accepts. But is Jared truly what she needs? And if he's not, she has to ask: What would Phoebe Lilywhite do?
My Review: Bronwen Oliver is your average seventeen year old girl. She has a family, an older brother, and attends the local highschool. However, Bronwen has convinced herself that she was switched at birth and finds herself indulged in her self-created fantasy world. This world consists of her “real” parents, Percival and Kitty Lilywhite, and her “real” name, Phoebe Lilywhite. Bronwen uses this fantasy family as an excuse for her brown hair and smile, the opposite of her mother’s blond hair.
When Bronwen meets Jared Sondervan, her desire to be a part of a “normal” family is fulfilled. She soon finds herself indulged in the lives of Jared’s family and college friends, who accept her for who she is. While spending time with the Sondervans, Bronwen can’t get enough of their laughter filled, understanding conversations full of unconditional love. Before you know it, Bronwen and Jared find themselves engaged and begin thinking that things can’t possibly get any better.
Author Erin McCahan writes a clever and swift debut novel. Her relatively short length scenes provide for a smooth, pleasing read. Her sharp dialogue and clever bantering develops a pleasant pacing that kept me eager to find out the end result of the storyline.
The only concern I felt towards this book was that Bronwen and Jared’s relationship felt rushed and left me wondering the real reasons why and how the two fell in love. It was also hard to believe that a college senior ready for a permanent job would be so willing to commit to a high school senior who’s just starting her life away from home.
On the other hand, Bronwen did follow through as a true, reasonable character. Her decisions to her problems with her mother, step father, her father’s death, and her identity all rang true. It’s especially easy to relate to Bronwen’s search for identity due to the fact that most people believe that they have been switched at birth at one point or another throughout their early life.
The ending of this wonderfully executed novel leaves many possibilities for personal interpretation, which personally is always one of the best kinds of endings. However, I thought that the decision Bronwen makes in the end is the best one for both her and Jared. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else proved to be a lighthearted but thought inducing read. Well done Mrs. McCahan; I cannot wait to check out what she puts out in the future!
Favorite Excerpt: from pages 190-191, ARC edition.
“Day Nine: My Sweet Bronwen: Dear Bronwen, If I ate a gumdrop every time I thought of you during the week, my teeth would rot out of my head. I love you, JJS.
Very often, after opening the cards in the morning, I called him and just giggled my hello at him. And his mother was right. I was discovering a quirky side, and I loved it.”
Cover Comment: Excellent cover; gives the reader an idea of how Bronwem must balance the stresses of graduating high school and finding the right college to attend, while arranging her wedding.
Book Source: Author for review.