Why Can’t I Be You was perfect for anyone who wants to relive the positive relationships established in high school. Jenny was mistaken in a hotel lobby for Jessie, a girl whose friends were thrilled to see her after a 13 year absence. Recently dumped by her boyfriend and in need of a shoulder to cry on, Jenny played along and attended the high school reunion while attempting to move past her failed relationship. When she actually started to like Jessie’s friends she learned about herself and altered the course of her life.
Jenny felt bad impersonating Jessie, but got swept up in being included in a circle of close friends, something that her own life lacked. As the story progressed, the author focused on the loneliness Jessie felt and her desperation to fill that void. As Jessie’s past was slowly revealed, Jenny realized she had more in common with Jessie than she knew. I thought it was brilliant for the author to use Jessie’s life as a way for Jenny to describe her own struggle with a cheating father and alcoholic mother. Because Jenny’s life was far from perfect, I didn’t blame her for wanting to be one of Jessie’s friends. I loved that Jessie’s old high school crush fell instantly for Jenny, and then waited to see how their relationship would endure once the truth was revealed. The conversations between the friends were that light banter that exists with people who have known each other for a long time. The “remember this” and “remember that” stories were cute and showed how devoted the friends were to each other.
This was an adult coming of age book with a bunch of fun references to being a high school student. It was so satisfying watching Jenny grow personally and professionally through her adventure as Jessie. This was an all around feel good and an excellent read!