Thursday, January 14, 2016

Twinning (and Giveaway)! Beside Myself by Ann Morgan


Title: Beside Myself
Author: Ann Morgan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people's expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.


My Review:

If you like thrillers, family dramas, and complex psychological mysteries...I have a book for you to read, my friends!

I asked to review Beside Myself because the description intrigued me--haven't we all heard stories about identical twins who try to pull one over on their parents/teachers/friends by swapping identities for a day or two?  I was interested in how Morgan would be able to pull off such a swap for an entire lifetime.  How could you convince the twins' entire family (and me, the reader) that they are able to swap places for that long without anyone knowing?

Not only did Morgan make this entirely believable, but she did so to the point where it was disturbing.  I was devastated and angry for Helen as her sister Ellie slowly usurped every bit of her life: friends, social standing, intelligence, and bright future included.  However, the novel slowly opens up into a much more complicated story that goes beyond Helen's loss of self.  I was worried that this book would eventually become too narrowly focused, but Morgan introduces a whole host of mysterious elements that kept me engaged to the very end.

This book becomes much more than a tale of two estranged sisters.  In the end, you're left grappling with questions about mental illness, identity (how much is genetics, or personality, or environment-based?), and loyalty.

Great twists, beautiful writing, unexpected questions to ponder...this one is a good bet, reader friends!

As always, much thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
Want to find out more?  Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE.  You can also connect with Ann Morgan via Twitter or her website.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!  TLC Book Tours is giving away one copy of Beside Myself to one of my lucky readers.  US/Canada entrants only.  Giveaway ends 1/21/16.  Enter with the Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 comments:

  1. Hmm, I don't think I've read a book recently with an emotional surprise ending... maybe We Were Liars comes the closest.

    I hadn't heard of Beside Myself before, though, so thanks for bringing it to my attention! I'm always on the lookout for stories with psychological elements, and this one sounds creepy and gripping. I've added it to my Goodreads list!

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    1. If you like psychological elements, this is a GREAT choice. I hope you get to read it!

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  2. The plot sounds unique enough, which is pretty awesome. I am wondering how they keep it up as people close to them would surely be able to tell, at least for a few years (and then remember).

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    1. That was certainly my concern as well. The author handles it beautifully.

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  3. Wow, so much creepiness in this book! I am really looking forward to reading it. I hope I can keep the two sisters straight in my head.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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    1. Thanks for having me! The sisters are certainly different enough to tell apart, and one of them doesn't narrate at all, which helps a lot.

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  5. This sounds so good! I also sent it to Rebecca (who ran Love At First Book) because she has twins and I love sending her twins things, ESPECIALLY when they are creepy because I'm a good friend like that. (Side note: Her twins are not creepy).

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    1. Hahaha. Sounds like something I would do to my BFF who has (non creepy, fraternal) twins! :)

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  6. My twins are fraternal and only the identical twins can be creepy. ;) Anyway, last book with an emotional surprise ending???? Hmmmm... I have no idea! I've just gotten back into reading after a long hiatus (having my twins and trying to survive the first year while also taking showers a few times a week) so I have been reading more lighthearted books recently. But I'm a sucker for twists and turns and grit!
    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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    1. So glad your twins are not creepy ;) Welcome back to the reading world! I remember the fog of post-baby land with only one at a time, I can't imagine with two. You go, mama!

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  7. Does anyone remember The Parent Trap? Although that was really funny and not creepy at all. I may need to add this one to my to-read list.

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    1. Never saw it!! But know enough about it to get the reference. :)

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    2. This blog post also reminded me of The Parent Trap.

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  8. Wow, this sounds like such a creepy idea! I am interested in why the twin who wanted to switch back wouldn't just be able to insist that she was herself.

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    1. Trust me when I say that that aspect of the novel is SO SO FRUSTRATING! For me as a reader, not because the author doesn't write it well...she writes it very, very well.

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  9. I can't think of any book right now with emotional surprise ending. I have read a lot of Jodi Picoult books and most of hers do.

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    1. Agree! She is one of my favorite authors for that reason.

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  10. The last book I read was Gone with the Wind.

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    1. A wonderful classic! I finally made time for it last year and was so glad that I did.

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  11. The last book with an emotional surprise ending, that I've read, is "The Afterlife of Billy Fingers."

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  12. I haven't really read anything lately with an emotional twist at the end.

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    1. I hope you find a good one soon...twists at the finale are the best. ;)

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  13. Wow that sounds like a really good book. I love those really interesting psychological mysteries. I'm going to add it to my TBR list on Goodreads! Thanks for the review!

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