Opposite of Me

The Opposite of Me

by Sarah Pekkanen

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation, smart reviews for modern readers on Sirius XM Book Radio. The book is The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen.

I never had a sister, and I really never wanted one. What if she wasn’t someone you really liked? You’d be forced to hang around all the time with someone boring, or perky, or sporty, or god forbid smarter and cuter than you. It’s hard enough having gorgeous accomplished friends! Which makes me wonder, which would be more of a burden to drag through life, being the pretty one or the smart one? And why do we have to be one or the other?

Not that it’s easy to change roles when you finally get to grow up. The smart girl never really believes she’s pretty, not in her heart, not if she’s got the finer looking mirror of a sister at her side. And the pretty girls? Do they ever internalize the fact that someone appreciates them for something other than an accident of genetics?

The roles we play — or don’t — is what’s behind Sarah Pekkanen’s deceptively light novel, The Opposite of Me. We meet sister Lindsey — the fixer, the brain, the quiet one — in the process of having a meltdown in her personal and professional life that is operatic in scope. How lovely for her that her sister Alex is about to be married, because the engagement party — fit for the princess that Alex simply is — is exactly just the right place to compare lives. Poor Lindsey. Or is she? Pekkanan deftly plays with expectations and turns what we think we know on its end. It’s not that Alex has problems of her own, obviously she does, it’s how hard these characters fight to keep playing the roles they’ve outgrown. Just knowing you’re both pretty and smart really isn’t the end of the story.

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