The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm Not Her By Cara Sue Achterberg

Publisher:  The Story Plant
Release Date:  August 4, 2015
Pages:  302
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Fantasy
Rating:  3.5 Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Description: 
It was a Tuesday like any other. And then it wasn't. A simple encounter at a supermarket changed Carin Fletcher's and Leann Cane's lives – literally. Suddenly Carin, a pretty, self-absorbed, underemployed college graduate, finds herself living as Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese checkout clerk, and vice versa.

Carin is at first horrified: she’s enormous, she can barely make ends meet, her husband is an abusive loser, and she's saddled with the kid Leann had when she was a teenager. Meanwhile, Leann is initially thrilled: she's escaped destitution, she looks like a model, and people treat her completely differently.

But as the days pass, it becomes clear that life isn't clear-cut for either woman. Carin finds herself attaching to Trevor, Leann's precocious son, and developing feelings for Jimmy, a fellow employee who treats her with the respect few others bother to give her because of her appearance. At the same time, Leann is living a life she's always wanted in a body she's always dreamed about, but that doesn't mean that all of her problems have gone away...and a new one is emerging with Carin's sometimes-boyfriend.

Both women are facing unknowable futures that neither could have imagined. Are they destined to live this way forever? And if so, where will it all lead?

A brilliant, nuanced, and surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the courses we are on, I'M NOT HER is a remarkably assured first novel that introduces a profound new storyteller.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
The premise of this book is certainly a strange one, definitely a fantasy, but I must say interesting. A freak accident occurs and changes the lives of two women, Carin and Leann. Somehow Leann ends up in Carin’s body and Carin ends up in Leann’s body. Leann and Carin have lived totally different lifestyles.

Carin was a shallow girl who only ever thought of herself. She had no financial problems and took many things for granted assuming everything in life would always be easy. She just wanted to live an exciting and glamorous life.

Leann was an extremely obese woman making a living as a cashier at a Shop N Save. She is married to an abusive man, who is a real loser. He smokes dope, gets drunk, and comes home only on weekends and demands all the money Leann has made. They have a six-year-old son, Trevor, who is sweet and innocent. He is also a smart and insightful child. Trevor certainly deserves a better life.

Leann, living in Carin’s body, assumes life will be perfect, but she soon becomes a rude, mean, and ugly person. She soon realizes she misses her son, Trevor. For Carin, it is pure hell living in Leann’s 350-pound body and living in poverty. But she soon finds herself caring deeply for Trevor, and her view on life soon changes. She realizes outward appearances are not so important as she faces difficult choices and challenges. And the story unfolds ---

This writer certainly has a vivid imagination, and I liked the humor and amusing incidents sprinkled throughout. This was a well-written book, however the tempo varied throughout, sometimes dragging along and then suddenly picking up. The characters stand out – perhaps because of their oddness. Each character had their own distinct voice and their own story to tell. There seemed to be more time invested in Carin’s story than in Leann’s. My rating is 3.5 stars. If you’re looking for a fantasy story, with nonsensical happenings, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Definitely an upcoming writer to keep an eye on.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Cara Sue Achterberg, and Publisher, The Story Plant, in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:  Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer and blogger who lives on a hillside in South Central, Pennsylvania with her three remarkable children, three horses, a dog with compromised impulse control (but a sunny outlook), a frequently changing number of chickens, three perfect kitties, and a husband who can build, fix, or tolerate just about anything.

Her novel, I'm Not Her, will be published in August 2015 by Story Plant. A momentary twitch in the fabric of reality leads Carin, a beautiful, self-absorbed, underemployed college graduate, to swap lives with Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese check-out clerk who is bagging her groceries when a Valentine’s display falls on Carin’s head.

Cara's essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, national magazines, websites, and blogs, in addition to local media. She enjoys teaching hands-on workshops on the Intentional Life and will happily address nearly any group on the subject. She has also led women’s retreats, facilitated book discussions, and taught classes on healthy cooking. 

You can keep up with Cara on facebook (Cara Sue Achterberg, writer) or twitter (@CaraAchterberg). You can find links to her blogs and inspiration for teen writers on her website